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Why You Should Absolutely Shop Sam’s and Costco for Healthy Eating on a Budget

For six ounces of raspberries, that usually mold in a day or two, I pay my grocer $4.00. This seems ludicrous, and so raspberries are a “treat” that we get on sale occasionally. My grocery budget is admittedly larger than a lot of families, but it still has a strict cap and has to go a long way.

About six months ago, I visited the Big Box Warehouse Store in my city to pick up something with a friend. I was shocked. Those same raspberries, in a package three times the size, were the same price. And the kicker? They were organic. And I found that to be the case over and over.

raspberries
I almost exclusively buy my fruits and vegetables at this warehouse store now, along with a number of other items that are always on our “healthy” grocery list. I get them at a fraction of the cost, and when anyone is trying to stretch their dollar further at the grocery store, less cost and more food is always a win.

Yes, the total at the end of your receipt might be higher than what you typically pay, but don’t let that initial sticker shock weigh you down. Remember, you’re getting at least two or three times the food for that price. Where you couldn’t buy raspberries every week before, now you can. And it doesn’t stop at the berries.

Last year, Lisa Johnson conducted an experiment to feed her family on a poverty level budget exclusively at Whole Foods for 30 days. She pulled it off, with wine and money to spare. Just imagine what you could accomplish with that budget at a place like Sam’s or Costco, both of which accept SNAP, or food stamps.

We’ll share with you our shopping tips for navigating the store and getting the most out of your time and money. As well, we’ll share with you the healthiest must-have food items there (at least at our location).
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What the Popes Eat: How Pope Francis Will Keep it Frugal and Healthy

The leader of the Catholic church changed hands yesterday. Amongst great fanfare, Jorge Mario Bergoglio exited the Vatican after a plume of white smoke rose from the chimney and was announced as Pope Francis I. He’s the first pope of modern times to come from Latin America; specifically he hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina.


He’s described as a humble man and a pope of the people, already declining to stand atop a podium when he first greeted his loyal Catholic followers. So then, can we assume the papal diet will also be a modest one? It appears so. According to Lanancion.com, Pope Francis enjoys a healthy diet, eating things like fresh fruit, skinless chicken, salads, and a glass of wine on occasion.

It may be a leaner and more frugal diet than many of his predecessors.
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Health Care Tax Deductions You Can’t Afford to Overlook

If you’re like many Americans, doing your taxes is a confusing chore. Deductions are crucial elements to filing taxes, especially if you’re expecting a return. However, few people know about all their options, especially their health deductions. And as we move into 2013, the new Affordable Care Act will cause even more changes to health deduction section of your tax forms, but not as much as you might think right away.

“Most major changes brought by the Affordable Care Act will come in 2014,” advised Jean Chatzky, finance expert and journalist whose Jean Chatzky’s Money School debuts this April. However, there are a few things that Chatzky advises taxpayers watch for this year:

  • The contribution limit for Flexible Spending Accounts has been revised downward, to $2,500 beginning in 2013. There was no limit before, though most employers capped it at $5,000.
  • Medicare payroll taxes may increase for some taxpayers. Those who earn over $200,000 as an individual or $250,000 as a couple will pay 2.35% to medicare. Those who earn less will continue paying the current rate of 1.45%.

Where taxpayers can see the biggest advantage will be in their medical-related deductions.

“Many taxpayers assume they can’t reach the 7.5% threshold to deduct medical expenses, but you might be surprised if you add it all up and include everything the IRS allows,” advised Chatzky. She provided a lot of insight on the common oversights we make that can and probably will push you to the 7.5%  threshold.
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3 Meals That are Cheap and Healthy

By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., TheBestLife.com lead nutritionist

Feeling like you’re about to go off your own fiscal cliff after all that holiday spending? No need to settle for cheap junk food to help pay down your credit card bills. The truth is, some of the least expensive foods are also the healthiest.

Here’s my core budget-but-healthy shopping list. (Check out my blog for more lower-cost items.)

Canned beans – dried are even less expensive, but require you to plan ahead
Canned tomatoes – no salt added (the store brand is cheapest)
Canned wild salmon and canned light “chunk” tuna
Dried herbs – whatever is on sale
Fresh fruit – whatever is on sale
Fresh vegetables – whatever is on sale
Oatmeal or steel-cut oats – large carton of plain oats (the store brand is usually cheapest)
Peanut butter
Tofu – for cooking pointers, click here.

The following meals use some of the items listed above. All three of these dollar-stretching dishes are also seriously nutritious.  I calculated the cost of each meal using prices at my local Giant supermarket in Washington D.C.; prices may vary in your area.
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Eating Healthy on $12 Per Day Food Stamp Budget is Impossible and How the Next President May Make it Worse

Next week presents so many possible changes for our nation as we mark our ballots. Election day could end with a new president lined up to lead the country. A new president impacts huge issues like the soldiers overseas, foreign affairs, and of course the budget. As you vote next week, you will also be determining smaller issues that affect all of us. Who we vote in as our Commander-in-Chief may change what’s served on a large percentage of Americans’ dinner tables.

Frequently called food stamps, our government has a food assistance program called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The program is income based and designed to help those who are financially struggling. According to Politofact.com, one in seven US families are using the SNAP program. Findings from the Food Research and Action Center state that many families struggle to purchase enough nutritious food before the month’s allotment runs out. Many users cannot afford proper foods for healthy meals and actually have to turn to food pantries to supplement their food needs.

If one out of seven families are currently needing the SNAP program and the current benefits are found to be too little to support a family, what can one expect from our primary candidates on this issue?

Valerie Jarrett is the Senior Advisor to the President Obama. She explained in The White House Blog where he stands on the issue of food assistance.

“…When President Obama took office, he enhanced and expanded the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The investments we made kept 3.9 million Americans, including 1.7 million children, above the poverty line in 2010. They prevented child hunger from rising, even as poverty and unemployment levels increased in the wake of the economic crisis.”

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported on what former Governor Romney may intend to do about the SNAP budget is he were elected. Richard Kogan and Paul N. Van de Water wrote that Romney would cut entitlement and discretionary program budgets. These cuts would mean a reduction in the funds allotted for SNAP.
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