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The Dollar-a-Day Diet

I've heard of the Grapefriut Diet, Carb-Free Diet, and the Morning Banana Diet, but a Dollar-a-Day Diet? This eating plan has nothing to do with weight loss, and everything to do with income. Since the economy has taken a nose dive, many people are living on tight budgets, and opting for junk food since studies show it's cheaper than fruits, veggies, and other nutritious foods. So a young couple in California, Christopher Greenslate and Kerri Leonard, decided to conduct an experiment — to live one month on a diet that costs one dollar a day, and see if it was possible to eat healthy. For details on their One Dollar Diet Project, you can check out their blog. They lived mostly on dried beans, rice, cornmeal, and oatmeal they bought in bulk. They also baked their own bread and made their own tortillas. To find out what they ate


Breakfast: 1 cup cooked oatmeal ($.06)

Lunch: PB & J sandwiches ($.36) and two cups air-popped popcorn ($.07).

Dinner: 2 bean and rice burritos (beans - $0.07, rice -$0.11, tortillas - $.05 each, small strips of lettuce - $.07, 1 tablespoon taco sauce - $.12)

Dessert:1 tablespoon of peanut butter ($.05).

That's not too healthy, huh? The couple discovered that lack of money is a huge issue when it comes to a nutritious diet. They also realized this experiment was a luxury for them, considering they chose to eat for a dollar a day — most people don't have the choice. The economic downturn has obesity researchers worried that this will begin a trend of eating calorie-rich, nutrient-poor foods. It's unfortunate that eating fresh fruits, veggies, and whole grains costs so much. Affordable nutrition is definitely something that needs to be addressed.


Join The Conversation
ella1978 ella1978 8 years
So, apparently I'm the paranoid one on ALL posts of mine today. I say go with frozen veggies. They generally have coupons in the paper for frozen stuff, and they are riduculously expensive. It's been proven that a lot of canned veggies are actually lined with BPA, a known cancer causing agent. I try to stay away from #7 plastic, water coolers, and canned veggies/ soups. I'm super happy that some soup companies are going to boxes. Now I wish they'd take out 75% of the salt that they put in there :) It is more difficult and expensive to live healthy. I'm a vegitarian, but here's an example. When making a meal consider this. Two pork chops (6.00), 1lb fresh green beans (3.00), 2 baking potatoes (2.50). That's 11.50, but going to your freezer section and buying two frozen dinners: They are always on sale, tons of coupons for them, you can usually get two dinners for 5 or 6 dollars. That's half the price to eat quicker and unhealthy-ier. I've always wondered why candy bars are 50 cents, but a bag of mini carrots are 2.79. Seems backwards, doesn't it?
jelleebeen jelleebeen 8 years
Thanks for posting FitSugar -- I found the blog very thought-provoking.
356UIK 356UIK 8 years
Sounds awfully constipating.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
You can eat well inexpensively, but I'm not sure you can eat well for $1 per day. My new favorite cheap, healthy dinner is a recipe for veggie chili I got off the back of a spice packet thingie. Two regular cans of beans (I use black and kidney) and a 28 oz. jar of diced tomatoes mixed with the spice packet. (If I have time I'll chop up my own pepper and garlic instead, but I usually get the organic low sodium packets so I don't worry too much about the pre-made sauce mix stuff.) Black beans, 87 cents Kidney beans, 87 cents Diced tomatoes, $1.99 Spice packet 99 cents Dinner for two for about five bucks, including some shredded cheese that I always have in the fridge. But even that would take me far over $1 per day, even if I used dry beans instead of canned.
syako syako 8 years
I agree with Silly... bags of frozen veggies can cost $1 and last three to four meals. Cans of fruit and veggies are in the 50 cent range, and same thing, can last for a while. It can be done. It's just that people don't want to admit it because it sounds so much better to say "oh healthy food is so expensive, I just cannot afford it." And then go on eating their equally expensive bags of chips. :shrug: It's all about personal responsibility people. It takes will power (not just money) to eat healthy.
gemini7827 gemini7827 8 years
spending more on your budget for your food and hence your health (mentally as well)is a top priority. If I do not feel good, then forget it.
stumbler02 stumbler02 8 years
When money is a huge concern, and you could spend those extra $10 you could have spent on veggies to pay the power bill or buy a medication, then nutrition stops being important. Sure, if you really valued your fruits and veggies, you could manage it, but it's just a lower, less immediate priority when money is tight. This exercise is flawed because these people spent $1/day on food, but probably spent the same amount of $ they usually do on paying the bills, getting medical care, etc. It's out of context. In real life, people who can only afford $1/day on food are also scrimping everywhere else. It's 10 times harder.
Miggs0708 Miggs0708 8 years
Right now is not exactly the season, but we have a lot of local growers who have fresh fruit and veggie stands. Their prices are so much lower than the grocery stores.
baybelle baybelle 8 years
spend $1 a day on food and loads more on vitamins and laxatives to supplement or fix this terrible diet and still more on doctors later!! i agree with other posters - at least look to canned veggies, if not home grown to add to the diet!!
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
well i think that it's a good experiment, but like you've noticed, you don't necessarily get the chance to eat healthy - so that's kind of the bad thing. i think back to when i was in college and we were all on a budget, and i had friends that ate Ramen noodles all the time because they were cheap but they were SOOOOOOOO bad for you so it didn't really make it worthwhile.
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 8 years
It is true, its much cheaper to eat crap.
beram1220 beram1220 8 years
Dessert 1 tablespoon of peanut butter??? haha - that's a little ridiculous to me.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
Not all nutritious food is expensive. You can eat relatively healthy for a reasonable amount of money by making smart choices. Buy store brand food, buy canned/frozen veggies, eat eggs, beans, bananas, etc. You should also buy produce in season because it's cheaper that way. You don't have to eat everything organic, just focus on not eating crap. There are lots of junk foods that are "organic" and just make zero sense to me...why the hell would anyone pay $5 a box for "organic mac and cheese"? I do agree that some foods are really expensive, but I've noticed that most of the expensive foods are the ones that are highly processed. If you do a little homework, you can eat for fairly cheap but still eat nutritiously
superfoxml superfoxml 8 years
It is really unfortunate that it's so insanely costly to eat healthy foods. There's a website called Angel Food Ministries, and they offer boxes of food as well as fruit/veg boxes at a low cost- if you know of someone who really needs help affording food, please refer them to that site. It's about 30 dollars for a month's box of food with an option for around 20 extra dollars to get a fruit/veggie box. Aside from Angel Food Ministries and their low cost boxes I'd really suggest taking advantage of coupons. It's time consuming but effective, especially near those store doubling and tripling.
runningesq runningesq 8 years
This is exactly why foodie bloggers annoy the hell out of me --- with their "I shop at Whole Foods and just do not get why poor kids in the inner city are eating chips for dinner! I mean, can't their parents make them something delicious and organic after working 2 jobs just to make ends meet? Sheesh."
SillyGirl SillyGirl 8 years
There are no fruits and veggies in that diet. What about frozen spinach (cheap and like 20 servings of veggies per box)? Or tips such as growing your own produce garden? Jars of tomato sauce provide more veggies than what they are eating. The freezer section has tons of fruits/veggies you can fit in your healthy diet without breaking the bank: spinach, peas, broccoli. Make some pasta or rice, dump in a half a cup of frozen veggies and 1/4 cup of canned tomato sauce and you have a 50 cent meal.
Lavinie Lavinie 8 years
i agree - because the economy is in the hole - it's just been more of an incentive to cook more and in turn that just ends up meaning eating healthier..
Soniabonya Soniabonya 8 years
wow. that'd be tough. though that's kinda my day at times, lol. oatmeal, pbj, and burritos in the evening, think i did that last week. tho the economy is in the blender right now, i am not going to scrimp on my fruits and veggies. i'll just try to eat out less :)
greatscott200 greatscott200 8 years
I was just talking to my husband about how I though obesity was going to rise if the economy didn't get better because people are eating crap instead because they can't afford healthy food. Looks like someone we thinking the same thing.
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