Habit, convenience, and proximity are major factors in shaping where we purchase food and which foods we purchase. The decision to eat a healthier diet can be much easier than deciding which foods to purchase and from where to purchase them. While healthier options are becoming more widely available, where you live may determine what is or is not available. In Indianapolis, the 12th largest city in the United States, we have at least one farmers market year round, as well as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Fresh Market. Proximity plays a major role in where I shop most frequently, but perhaps that is not the most important factor.
Farmers markets may give you the best opportunity for the freshest produce and to speak with farmers about the conditions in which animals and produce are raised, but they are often not available throughout the week and selection of goods can vary. Whether we like it or not, we all visit a grocery at least occasionally, and the majority of Americans buy the majority of their food at a box store. Your farmers market may not offer fresh-made pasta or gluten-free baked goods like mine does, but your Whole Foods is probably a lot like my Whole Foods. (more…)
Have you ever pictured yourself doing a happy dance in the grocery store because you could afford oranges? No? Me neither, but that’s what happened during my 30-day challenge to feed my family of three at or near the poverty level. There were also moments of frustration and a few tears shed. Here’s how it all started …
I was roaming around a section of the USDA website where they keep track of over 8,000 families and what they spend every month for groceries. This helps them set four different budget levels: Thrifty (near the poverty level), Low, Medium, and Liberal. Amounts are broken down by gender and age; kids and the elderly account for less money than 20-something guys, for instance.
If you think this is a futile exercise and a waste of taxpayer money, you’d be wrong. If you’re going through a divorce, it’s likely that the courts will assess child support at the “Low” level, no matter your income. The food that our servicemen and women are served is budgeted at the Liberal level. So this monthly assessment by the government has a bigger effect than you might realize.
When I looked at the numbers, I realized my family was living at the “Low” level, but that wasn’t taking into account how often we eat out (two to three meals per week between lunches and dinner). The amount we spend does reflect us eating a lot of organic foods. Plus, we can sometimes be too wasteful; I cringe some weeks at what we throw away. It’s not just a waste of money, but a waste of resources for the planet.
Could our family live at the Thrifty level? What would it take? And what if I tried doing this while only shopping at Whole Foods, aka “Whole Paycheck”? And then what if I also threw a dinner party for eight as the very last meal?
I contacted Whole Foods and suggested a bet. If I could feed my family of three for 30 days exclusively from items purchased at Whole Foods for $491.10 they would reimburse me for my food. If I didn’t make it, they’d owe me nothing. The budget worked out to $16.31 cents per day total for all three of us. In case you’re wondering, here’s what we bought for the month.
Whole Foods said yes, my family was gung ho, and we were off on January 1st, shopping for over 90 minutes, trying to figure out what we could afford. (more…)
I love almond milk, and while I’ve been a devotee of Blue Diamond’s unsweetened vanilla almond milk, Whole Foods’ new refrigerated line of soy and almond milks are giving my usual stand-by some stealth competition.
Made from flavorful American-grown organic almonds, the new 365 Organic Everyday Value Almond milk is the first-ever private label organic refrigerated almond milk. (There is also a shelf-stable version, if you prefer.) Naturally free of saturated fat and cholesterol, Whole Foods Market’s Almond milk contains as much calcium and Vitamin D as dairy milk and is an excellent source of Vitamin E. The new line boasts a fresh, rich taste that comes in Original, Vanilla and Unsweetened flavors. (more…)
We’ve made no secret of the fact that the National School Lunch Program needs improvement. From processed chicken patties to tator tots served as a vegetable, many schools offer lunches that are well below the acceptable nutrition level. With more than 2/3 of all schools serving meals that exceed an entire days allowance of fat, greater numbers of children are afflicted with obesity and deteriorating health.
Whole Foods, the upscale grocery chain, has announced a partnership with Ann Cooper, “The Renegade Lunch Lady”, to help make a change across America. Chef Ann has already changed hundreds of lunch programs across America by helping schools switch from processed foods to fresh, natural ingredients, and this newest partnership promises a bigger payoff than ever. (more…)
Skinning and peeling fruits and veggies adds a lot of time to meal-prep. But did you know that it’s also stripping away a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber?
When people talk about the benefits of eating whole foods, part of that means keeping foods whole—like leaving the skin. If a fruit or vegetable has a skin so thin you can puncture it with your thumbnail, chances are, you don’t need to peel it. This includes apples, tomatoes, grapes, eggplant, carrots, pears and potatoes. Even if a recipe calls for peeled produce, try leaving the skin. We love mashed potatoes with pieces of peel, not only does it add flavor, it also has potassium, fiber, and vitamin B (just go easy on the butter).