I recently ran across this blog (forum?) called Chowhound, and this series of posts regarding eating well in San Francisco on $3 usd a day. From what I understand, some politicians tried to eat on $3 usd a day and concluded that it couldn't be done without resorting to junk food. The poster took up the challenge with some great results.
Then there was this article in the NY Times that stated that healthy food costs 10 times more than junk food. Wow! I have been pretty poor, and while I admit that my kids loved Ramen, when I finally read the label it stopped being a staple on our table, oh, it made it's appearance on occasion because it is an easy, tasty and fast lunch. Oops, I got off on a tangent, anyway, there was not a lot of junk food in my house. I find that premise disquieting at best, also I don't entirely agree. Junk food is expensive!
Reading the comments, there seemed to be a vocal group that said that while it was certainly possible to eat well for less, that diet would be boring. There was much maligning of the humble lentil. I think it is more than possible to eat well on less than $3 (for the purposes of this post I am using dollars because most of the information is in USD) but the key is variety in seasoning.
I also found this interesting slide show called "What the World Eats" on Time's website. There was an American family of 4 living in North Carolina who spent $341.98 usd per week, another 4 member family in California who spent $159.18, a Mexican family from Cuernavaca of 5 who spent $189.09 (did you see all that soda?), the family of 4 from Great Britain spent $253.15 and for contrast the 13 member family in Bhutan who spent and amazing $5.03! The German family of 4 spent the most, $500.07 a week.The photographs, shot by Peter Menzel are from the book "Hungry Planet".It sounds like a good read, it would also be interesting to know what percentages of the families' income is spent on food.
All this got me thinking about how much do I spend on food a week? Part of me wants to take the easy answer and say $60 max, but I don't really know. We have tried to keep track of our expenses with varying degrees of success, computer crashes and lack of follow through have been our downfall. I like to think that on an average I spent 600 pesos every 2 weeks at the grocery store, but that isn't accurate, since I also shop at Costco and that stuff lasts much longer (I have half of a jar of sun dried tomatoes in olive oil in the fridge that I bought about a year ago, I use the tomatoes but a little goes a long way.). So I think I am going to keep track of what I spend each day on food, starting tomorrow. I'll share the results with you next week.
I'm pretty sure that I spend less than $3 a day per person, but maybe I am deluding myself?
I also added a poll for you to participate in, how much do you spend?