Can a family eat thrifty AND healthy? Let’s find out

Admittedly, I’m obsessed.

It all started a few weeks ago when I was at Trader Joe’s. I was just there to pick up “a few things”. When I got to the register, the total came to $67!

As I was driving home I kept thinking about how lucky I was to be able to afford a spontaneous grocery store trip like that. I also started wondering what items I would have put back, if I had been on a tighter budget.

Just to be clear, it wasn’t like I was buying steak and champagne.

Milk, string cheese, coffee, eggs, a bag of apples, a few loaves of bread… It all starts to add up, especially if you buy organic.

That’s how my obsession started.

Food…money…privilege…deprivation…nutrition…weight…poverty… I can’t stop thinking about all of those big questions.

When I got home I started exploring the USDA website for Cost of Food at Home. Our family falls somewhere between the “Moderate and Liberal” end of the spectrum.

What shocked me?

The “Thrifty” budget would only allocate my family $144.80 cents a week!

Maybe you are a thrifty shopper already and are looking at that amount and thinking “Big deal, that’s easy.”

Here’s the catch.

The USDA has this other website called Choose They want people to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables, consume three servings of dairy a day, choose meat less often, and eat fish twice a week.

Is that even possible? Food costs money. Veggies are expensive. Fresh fish that hasn’t been shipped all the way to China and back, is pricey.

Could I follow the USDA thrifty food plan and meet the MyPlate requirements?

That’s the question I’m going to answer this March with “MyPlate on My Budget”.

Luckily, I’m not attempting this experiment without a lot of support. Rose McAvoy from Our Lady of Second Helpings is providing help, guidance, and yummy recipes.

March is going to be a major educational experience for my entire family.

We are going to learn about nutrition. We are going to find out where food comes from. We are going to experiment with new recipes.

There’s going to be math and science and art and all sorts of things tied into this.

So stay tuned! In the meantime, you might want to check out the MyPlate on My Budget board that Rose and I are creating together on Pinterest.

More in Life

Gardening tools: Experts help through hotline, drop-in clinics

The WSU Extention program is meant to help gardeners with their plant and pest problems.

Here’s how to add your plant sale to the Herald’s yearly guide

We’re taking listings now for our annual list of sales in April, May and June. Don’t forget yours.

Another sign of spring: Fun facts about the Pacific tree frog

This time of year, chorus frogs can be heard singing for a mate in evenings and mornings.

Great Plant Pick: Abies koreana, Korean fir

What: Aristocratic in appearance and slow growing, Abies koreana, commonly called Korean… Continue reading

Here are 7 locally made beers to try for this St. Patrick’s Day

Sound to Summit in Snohomish made one of the brews especially for Shawn O’Donnell’s restaurants.

Walla Walla nearly as famous for its grapes as for its wines

More than 130 wineries call the valley home, making it a destination for wine tourists.

The customer is king at Tabby’s Coffee in Everett library

Starbucks barista-turned-coffee shop owner Tabitha “Tabby” Tarter is big on customer service.

Here are 8 ways celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Snohomish County

Local events include Shamrock concerts, leprechaun sightings and Celtic dancing, bagpipers and more.

Schack’s juried art show features 121 Northwest artists

The show’s two judges awarded Rick Holst with the grand prize for his U.S. map, a work titled “Avoca.”

Most Read