Like a whole mess of Americans, I find myself parked in front of the boob tube every Monday night to watch The Biggest Loser. I’ve been watching the show for years now, since my friend, Jillian (not the trainer on the show), finally got me hooked on it. For the most part, I love the show and I have learned a lot of good things from watching it.
However… last night’s episode really irritated me. Last night on the show, the show emptied out the fridges and cabinets in the contestants’ kitchen and directed them to meet Ally at the grocery store. At the grocery store, Ally proceeds to talk about how so many Americans are on a tight budget and use that as an excuse to not eat healthy. She says that on tonight’s show we’ll show America that you can eat healthy on a budget. Sounds great, right? Yeah…
So then she tells them that they have a $10 per person per day budget and they must buy enough healthy groceries for the entire week in the next 15 minutes. I’m not even going to start on how ridiculous it is it try and shop for an entire week (while comparing calories and other nutritional information) in only 15 minutes… we’ll save that for another post. This beef is with the “budget”.
I’ve been one of those Americans she is talking about trying to figure out how to feed the kids and pay all the bills before the money runs out and let me tell you, I didn’t have a $280 a week budget ($10 per day per person x 4 people in our family x 7 days = $280) I was working with closer to $100 a week, $150 if we were lucky. $280 a WEEK to feed my family is eating good, living it up, and much easier to accomplish eating healthy.
Just one night after watching the show, I put the math to a test at my local grocery store and here are just two examples I found which contradict, completely, the show’s point last night.
2 lbs of apples (6 fuji apples) $1.99 / lb – $4.00 (.67 per apple)
1 box of snack cakes (8 cakes) $1.25 (.15 per cake)
So you can get 27 snack cakes for the same price as 6 apples
Sour Cream and Onion Lays potato chips – $2.00 for 14 oz (on sale, normally $3.99)
Sour Cream and Onion Special K cracker chips – $3.99 for 4 oz.
In whose world is it less expensive to eat healthy and why in the world is this the case? Obesity is a huge problem in America… between this and the easy access to fast, processed, yummy fast food, is there any doubt as to why?
So, Biggest Loser, you sorely mis-represented last night. A family of four could eat quite comfortably and fairly healthy on a $10 a day budget. Problem is, every American I know who is struggling does not have such a generous budget and when it comes to making every penny stretch it is a sad state of affairs that the choices we’re given as consumers are so terrible.