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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Evanston Newbie and Family take the $100 Whole Foods Healthy Eating Challenge

Starting Monday, December 3, my family is taking the Whole Foods Healthy Eating Challenge, where we eat healthy food from Whole Foods for a week and spend only $100.

My older son already laid down the law, “if I’m still hungry after we eat a healthy meal, I’m going to keep eating.” And my husband already asked “just how much are going to cheat on this?” My younger son, by far the biggest eater in the family, is totally against the challenge as a concept let alone our family taking it.

We’re all convinced we can eat healthy food for every meal, but spending only $100 on 84 meals will only leave us miserable and hungry. Our perception of healthy eating is that it leaves you starving, not that it’s expensive.

In fact when Bridget from Whole Foods South in Evanston invited me to take the challenge and to post the results on my blog, I was shocked! Here’s the email reply I sent: Yes I am interested in the challenge BUT how do you know how much my family eats? Bridget assured me there were no family size stipulations and that plenty of other bloggers had taken the challenge and done well! In fact I will be using recipes from several other bloggers who took the challenge (an survived) and will make sure to credit them when I post the recipes later in the week.

But really, is it feasible to feed a family of four on only $100 a week even if you don’t eat healthy? $100 per week breaks down to $1 a meal, per person according to my super awesome math skills; 3 meals a day/21 per week per person, total 84 meals (four people). $100 divided by 84 is $1.19 per meal per person.

Because I am afraid we are going to be left hungry after every meal and that we are so going to cheat, I’m making a few rules.

Ford Family Healthy Eating Challenge Rules:

  • The $100 budget does not include wine, juice, coffee or dessert after dinner
  • We will research other blogger’s tips and recipes
  • We will all try new foods
  • We will all be aware of the total cost of every meal
  • We will plan the weeks’ menu on Sunday, with everyone’s input
  • We will shop throughout the week to take full advantage of all the sales
  • We will have a positive attitude and be grateful for the food we eat
  • We will talk about the food’s nutritional value, origin, etc.
  • We will be grateful to Whole Foods and Bridgette for teaching us how to shop for the best deals and eat healthy, affordable meals
  • In our house, we don’t call Whole Foods “Whole Paycheck”, we call it “rad” for it’s amazing cheese and wine and chocolate and more…we like Whole Foods, we just only shop there for select items and maybe only go there once a week. We avoid Whole Foods because we are bulk shoppers, making lots of trips to Cotsco for huge quantities of bacon and feta. We eat too much food, and we need to start eating less.

    Additionally, we eat food that isn’t ethically produced (my children haven’t seen images of slaughterhouses yet) and we rarely eat organic and or locally grown.

    So we’ve got two challenges as a family; eating too much and eating without ethics. Taking this healthy eating challenge will help us start down the path of eating healthier, but also eating with a conscious; moving us away from being volume-focused eaters to conscientious eaters.

    I am confident people can eat healthy and not go broke and I think Whole Food knows this too, which is why they’ve invited anyone with a big enough voice out there to take the challenge.

    Check back throughout the week to see how the Ford family is doing with the challenge. I’ll post news and information on how we’re shopping and budgeting and how my children and husband are doing.

    Lastly but not leastly, at the end of the challenge, there will be a $100 Whole Foods gift card giveaway for readers of this blog (that means YOU) so be sure to keep reading.

    Oh and if you have any recipes that total $1 per person, made up of healthy ingredients, please post them in the reply section or email me at

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