It has been noted that many poor people are also obese. There are many reasons for this but the number 1 reason is that healthy food can be a lot more expensive than "regular food." Really this is a matter of perception because some of the healthiest foods are also quite cheap: rice, beans, pasta, root vegetables, corn meal. Frozen vegetables are always available and are very cheap when on sale. Once we leave the store our perceptions kick in and if we are well-to-do we serve up pilaf, steamed root vegetable medley or polenta. If we come from a background of poverty we will probably be serving up red beans and rice, mashed potatoes and gravy, and cornbread or hush puppies. Same ingredients, same cost, different perceptions.
Put your kitchen on a diet: Clean out 1 cupboard and 1 drawer in the fridge. Put the healthy foods in those and use the other less healthy foods sparingly or better yet clean all the junk out of your kitchen and start over. Junk includes liquid and solid fat(cooking spray is ok and extra virgin olive oil is ok if you use if for what it is meant for---not for deep frying!) Sugar is out. Baking Mix is out. Boxed Mac n' Cheese and Rice a Roni is out. Stuffing Mix is out. Baking supplies are out. American cheese, Velveeta, canned cheese are all out. Spam, canned corn beef and vienna sausages are out. Canned ham is out. The average food-stamp recipient has over $100 worth of junk food in their cupboard--use it up and stop buying it!
Learn to eat better: Stop buying greasy, salty, sugary foods and replace them with healthier alternatives. If you are worried about healthier foods costing more then eat less. Make portions smaller so the cost evens out per meal or make 1 meal a day super-super low cost.
5 Healthy Low Cost Meals:
(Remember-these are not meant to be your whole diet. These are ideas to help us eat healthier and still stay on budget.)
Brown Rice for breakfast. Eat all you want as long as it is brown rice with nothing but SweetNLow & a bit of milk. Buy brown rice in large bags to save even more money. 2 cups for breakfast is a huge meal for about 400 calories that costs around 30 cents.
Baked Potatoes: Bake a few potatoes and keep them in the fridge for cheap healthy food. Reheat and top with low fat salad dressing or butter salt(like the kind for popcorn) or slice into 1/8ths and re-bake for tasty Jo-Jos. 2 fist sized potatoes are about 400 calories for 20-30 cents.
Cabbage Soup: This is the mainstay of many fast weight loss diets and is very cheap too. Steam a couple of wedges(1/4 of a whole cabbage) in a broth of chicken bullion or veggie bullion. Tasty and cheap! Add other veggies that you have on hand to make this a more elaborate meal. 1/4 of a cabbage is about 40 cents and 50 calories.
Ramen Quiche: cook 1 package of ramen noodles WITHOUT the salt package. Drain the noodles and pack into a loaf pan (4 inches x 8 inches x 3 inches) Drain 1 can of spinach or other cooked greens-mix in 1 large egg, 1 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of pepper and 1/2 cup of cottage cheese or 1/4 cup of feta cheese or 1/4 cup of cream cheese or 1/2 cup of shredded hard cheese(2 ounces). Pour this mixture over the Ramen and bake at 350 for 30 minutes until browned on top. This feeds 2 people for $1.25 and 400 calories each.