What’s the Issue?
One of the most common conversations I have with patients is related to their diet. Most patients that see me have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease related to type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity. Our team councils patients on their diet, recommending diets that are rich in fruits and vegetables, fresh meat and or fish. We advise them to avoid processed foods, but patients will immediately respond by telling me that such a diet is out of their budget range. “Dr.Galati, don’t you realize that all of that fresh food is expensive?”
When I explain to them that with a plan on how they need to organize their meals, and that with a grocery store strategy, knowing where the bargains are, and buying certain foods in bulk, they can very efficiently prepare meals that are within their budget. What boggles my mind is that many would rather sacrifice their health and wellness rather than learn strategies to cook meals in a fiscally responsible way.
Nowadays, there is no doubt that food bargains can be found at large superstores like Sam’s Club or Costco. Both of these have a large selection of fresh and frozen foods that you can select from. It behooves the shopping consumer to look closely at the foods being sold, and focus not only on the price, but the cost per serving. I was recently at Costco, and they were selling cleaned ears of corn, 8 to a pack, which would cost you approximately $0.35 per ear of corn. I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty inexpensive. Bulk baked potatoes would cost roughly $0.30 per serving and a serving of a red bell pepper approximately $0.70 per serving. With regard to frozen vegetables, the price per serving would be approximately $0.31 per quarter pound serving. Bulk Chobani fruit flavored yogurt run about $0.50 per serving. Fresh chicken in bulk would cost $1.49 for a 4 oz serving. This is a far cry from food prepared at a restaurant or take out.
Know the Serving Size
When we talk about servings, this is what throws most people off. As stated above, 1/4 pound serving of chicken is about $1.50. If you want more than that, it obviously is going to cost more. Serving size perversion has slowly been taking place over the past 20 years. The average person is clueless with regard to what a serving sizes. Did you know that a standard can of Great Northern beans will give you 3 1/2 servings? At $0.79 a can, that is $0.22 per serving. I’m not trying to be cute here and trick you into thinking you can eat less expensive than you think. The truth is if you stay within the serving size guidelines, this all makes more sense. Having a mountain of food on your dinner plate is not only expensive, but it’s going to promote obesity and all of its downstream complications. Eating less will make you more healthy, and keep more money in your wallet.