Curious how we afford fruits and vegetables?
How We Afford Fruits and Vegetables
People keep telling me that fruits and vegetables are SO EXPENSIVE. That they can’t afford them. That I’m really splurging when I buy so much fresh fruit every month.
I couldn’t figure out if I was in denial about this or if maybe I’m so used to buying so much produce that I don’t “see the expense” anymore. Or, is it possible that fruits and vegetables really are affordable but the first look at their price scares some people? I really wasn’t sure.
So I did some fruit and veggie math.
We’re currently feeding ten people three meals each day. Our three littlest are ages 2, 1, and 1. Our four oldest household members are adults, so it balances out. :)
Our monthly grocery budget is $1,200. Of that amount, I calculated and was shocked to learn that only about $300 is spent on fruits and vegetables. (I looked online at all my Sam’s, Costco, and Walmart receipts, so handy!) I truly thought it would add up to more than that since my produce purchases are so frequent and big.
So I did the math again to double-check.
Sure enough, only about a fourth of our overall monthly grocery budget goes toward these, and I don’t hold back:
- Frozen green beans
- Frozen peas
- Frozen corn
- Frozen fruit for smoothies
- Frozen hashbrowns
- Fresh spinach (we go through at least one pound every week)
- Fresh spring mix (we go through two pounds every week)
- Fresh carrots
- Fresh broccoli
- Berries ( strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries depending on the season)
- Melons (cantaloupe, honey dew, and watermelon depending on the season)
- Canned pumpkin
- Canned peaches
- Canned pears
- Canned mandarins
- Applesauce (a ridiculous amount of applesauce)
Where I landed after doing the math:
Feeding my family a lot of fruits and veggies is not expensive.
I sort of apologize for my geekiness, but as it turns out, I’m pretty excited that I went back and added it all up! Now I feel like I have an actual answer to the “fruits and veggies so expensive” claim!
If I’m spending $300 of our monthly grocery budget on produce – for 10 people for 30 days? This breaks down to just:
Which is $0.33/meal.
This, to fill our bellies with lots of fresh, frozen, or canned fruits and vegetables in a big variety of forms. That’s actually incredible, I think! Especially when our plates look like this:
Steamed broccoli, corn, raspberries, and nectarine on spaghetti night;
and no, I don’t put sauce on our baby’s noodles because I don’t want the mess. :)
This was our 8-year-old’s first serving. He had seconds of all you see here:
Here’s Matt’s plate the evening we celebrated Asa’s birthday with
smoked chicken, alfredo, and steamed broccoli:
One Sunday lunch was spinach on tuna sandwiches, watermelon, and guacamole.
This was our 6-year-old’s plate. She’s a pretty small eater. Unless it’s cake. :)
(But now, of course, I’ve been putting spinach our the cake so…)
Our three year old asked for spinach on the side with ranch and watermelon with his tuna sandwich that day. Not pictures, his tuna sandwich as he gobbled it down already.
This is my plate filled with Overnight Beef Roast, pears, peas, and baked beans. (In case you need to know, I didn’t actually cook it overnight. I cooked it all day and it was perfect for dinnertime!)
Here’s my plate showing our salmon burger meal with steamed green beans, corn, sweet potato fries, and a tiny bit of asparagus from our garden! (We each only got a little bit of asparagus.) ;)
PSA: The Avocado Mash cups at Costco or Sam’s are worth their cost in that they stay fresh in the fridge for a long time and offer an awesome, easy snack or side dish for babies and adults alike. Our littlest girls LOVE these and will each eat an entire cup with their meal. We bigger people like to eat them with chips. So good!
In case you need to see a chubby baby hand a couple more times:
So, can I afford $10/day to feed 10 people fruits and vegetables?
Absolutely. I can spend a dollar a day on each family member to keep us all nourished. I am shocked that it costs so little to buy so many varieties of fruits and vegetables every month. Is it possible that this food category is what actually costs the least instead of the most as we are all led to believe??
One more veggie-kid photo as we wrap up; here’s Keith after finishing his smoothie (filled with frozen fruit, fresh spinach, yogurt, and milk):
You should try doing the math to see how much you spend on fruits and veggies! Challenge yourself to be sure you’re filling everyone up on all the good stuff – it’s much less expensive than we think!