Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Just a few short weeks ago, I made a series of social media comments in response to a common misconception that eating well is prohibitively expensive. Having spent a few years as a perpetually poor university student, I knew the cost of every grocery item at the store and yet, managed to eat 5-6 nutritious meals a day. 

Of course, my food budget did not allow for luxuries such as organic produce and premium cuts of meat, but it accommodated a large number of fruits, vegetables and grains. I rarely dined out or paid for my own drinks at the bar- and the saved capital continued to fund my health. I also did not waste any time in drive-thru's, spending an exorbitant amount of money on candied beverages and triple cheeseburgers. 

Over the years, the media continued to build on the frenzy about the rising cost of food and although not entirely baseless, the fear of inability to afford nutritious food is embedded deeply within our psyche. Instinctively, however, I knew that the cost of trashing one's diet with processed carbohydrates, trans-fats and artificial food additives cannot be any lower than eating healthfully (especially when failing health is taken into consideration). 

But even I was taken aback by just how low the cost of eating well can be, when I actually started breaking down the numbers. At first, I armed myself with a $19.99 food scale by Taylor- coincidentally, endorsed by the famous show The Biggest Loser- a calculator and got cooking. Nutritious enough, my meals seemed to satisfy my 220-pound husband's appetite- an indicator I used to ensure the adequacy of the meal size and its caloric density. 

On day three of this marathon, I felt inspired to take it to the next level and create several recipes according to the same criteria of affordability (the meal must cost $5.00 or less) and nutrient content. If only this experiment could transpire the way we think about healthful nutrition and mobilize our modest resources to improve health and fitness level, every one of us will be a winner and a great influence in the lives of our loved ones. 

And so it has been decided. The Introduction begins the process and over the next few months- between packing to move to another province, settling in a new house and watching my son attempt walking- I will be posting affordable meal recipes for anyone out in the cyber space to consider adding to their weekly diets. I would also love the opportunity to crunch the numbers on your favourite meal, as long as you allow the ingredient adjustments to be made in order to keep the price down, if at all necessary!

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