Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Our $3.12 Dinner for Three and What the World Eats.

My friend Kalpana and I did the 5k literacy walk this past weekend and were talking about American diets. She is from India, and while not a vegetarian, grew up eating a mostly plant based diet. She said during her childhood, the street corners had fresh fruit and vegetable stands rather than what is now becoming popular, McDonalds and pizza places.

Today she sent me a link that was fascinating. It is from the book called Hungry Planet. In it, husband and wife, photographer Peter Menzel and writer Faith D'Aluisio set out to find how globalization, migration and rising affluence are affecting the diets of communities around the globe

The link below is to a Time Magazine article that excerpted pictures of various families from around the globe along with a typical week of groceries. The span in prices is nothing short of astounding, from Germany at $500 a week to a Breidjing camp at $1.23 a week.

The differences between the amounts of fresh produce and the amounts of packaged goods is also striking. Here is the link to the Time article.

Our dinner tonight was $3.12 for three (Greg had a work dinner). To put that in some context, a family in Bhutan will spend $5.03 a WEEK on groceries. Our dinner costs break down as follows.

Two veggie brats - kids split one and I ate one. $1.00
Frozen corn is 19 cents per cup and we ate 1 1/2 cups or about .29
1/2 a package of .37 Mac and cheese roughly .20 (though as I type I realize I didn't include the cost of the added milk - we don't add butter to it).
1/2 a large can of unsweetened peaches was .77
2 potatoes, split between us at .36
Two glasses of juice .50 (still guessing on this until the next grocery run).

Total dinner for three $3.12.

Hoping to start moving to the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.


  1. Eileen,
    Fruit and veggies are very expensive here. Apples are cheap right now at $2.82 a pound. I just paid more than eight dollars for five medium sized apples. Which was one for each of my Kindergartners lunch each day this week. So. It's more difficult to round out our diets here on a budget than, perhaps, many other places.
    More so, since food the kids won't eat would be a waste of money and foods they ask for (such as the apples) are crazy expensive. Frozen veggies and fruit are our best bet, as canned is also expensive. Even so...
    Our dinner: Our meat loaf last night (for me meat loaf is always an experiment, consisting of what is on hand) consisted of less than a pound of ground beef ($2), the chips left at the bottom of a bag, left over soup reheated with a bit of barley and then thrown into a blender, ketchup from packets [I don't know how or why we collect all these] salt, pepper, garlic, half an onion, and some worchestershire sauce. We also had about a third loaf of french bread with butter. Fed four- as my husband was not included.
    There are left overs which will make up my lunch, since the kids are at school.
    I am very impressed with how diligently you are following up on your goals! I hope to gain some momentum in the next few days,

  2. Antoinette, Thanks for your post. We'll all get there to our goals, just 363 more days to go;-)! And it was interesting to read about the costs of your food there in Japan. Eight dollars for five apples! YIKES! Is it sort of like Hawaii where a lot of stuff has to be imported? And kudos for using up those ketchup packets, that sounds uber frugal.

  3. Yes, everything has to be shipped, but even domestic things are more expensive because they are an island and farm land is scarce (this island has jungle, farms, beach and military installations)- I hear it's more expensive on mainland Japan.