Friday, October 21, 2016

Calories per dollar chart

This article and accompanying chart is an interesting way to think about eating cheaply. I think I would have guessed the highest was rice or peanut butter, or possibly ramen, not flour or white bread. I was also surprised that pasta and oats were so high up there on the list. Of course, some of these things require cooking, so there's labor and energy costs that aren't factored in; you can't really eat flour and would have to at the very least mix it with water and cook it to make it into noodles or flatbread. Still, the list is useful. I imagine I'll refer to it when I get anxious about finances, and remind myself that it is in fact possible to stay alive on a couple hundred dollars a year. Assuming we're in the urban U.S. or somewhere similar, we would surely get enough other foods even if all we were purchasing was rice or white bread. Think about all the places the average person eats for free -- samples at stores, work events where food is provided, free talks that have a snack table, and so forth. It wouldn't be optimal nutrition, but it would be enough to keep us from getting scurvy or whatever it is people who only eat one food get.

Of course, anyone who's looked at my blog before knows that there are better ways to get cheap (and tastier, and healthier) food than buying just full-price flour or rice. There's Fair Foods, couponing, food banks, and so forth. If you're in the Boston area, you could actually go to Fair Foods every week or every other week, then buy some combination of rice and flour, and have some pretty decent (if a little boring) eating, with produce served with rice or flatbreads. This would allow you to eat for a couple hundred dollars per person per year.

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