Look Into My Eyes…You Want to Read This Post

I woke up this morning to the sounds of my four year old singing “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” only it sounded like “I beweave in fing called wuv” and I like it better that way. I just had to share that, because I love it.

Yesterday I got an angry letter from someone who scanned through my blog once, and told me it was impossible to eat healthy on a budget, especially the way I eat. I try to follow the Michael Pollan prescription for eating; “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” I add in “drink enough coffee to fuel a jet engine and keep Juan Valdez wiping his arse with c-notes.” I understand his frustration, a lot of times fresh foods ARE expensive, but with planning, it’s possible to eat better-for less.

When I read the email, I realized that this is a commonly held belief. A lot of people believe that the $10-15 meal they get at Wendy’s is just plain more affordable. Other than being nutritionally cheap, with far less vitamins and minerals, the overall cost is much higher. Fast food consumption has shown to have a strong correlation with type 2 diabetes. I will tell you from the point of someone who sees the effects of type 2 diabetes and subsequent renal failure in my in laws; that, is far more expensive. Your life is valuable; value it.

Beyond that, the lines at Wendy’s are ridiculous, and the ginger cartoon Wendy with the pigtail braids  gives me nightmares. I am pretty sure she can control fire with her mind, or is in need of an exorcism… Perhaps she can control my mind into buying frostys and dipping my french fries in them one right after the other until I realize I’ve eaten them all. IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT, PEOPLE? MIND CONTROL? Yes, yes, that is what you want. Read my blog every day. Make the recipes. Embrace my neurosis. 

I used to eat so.much.junk. I felt heavy with food after I ate. I would sit immobile for hours recovering from my indulgence. Now, after I eat, I generally celebrate family dance party with the Captain and the Peanut. I mean, come on, I’m not only instilling a love of healthy food and exercise with my son, but also an appreciation for music that doesn’t suck. He’s pretty much obsessed with Queen right now; though I don’t think Freddie Mercury is a shining example of a healthy lifestyle.

Our healthy meal last night was inexpensive, delicious, and packed full of nutrition, anti-oxidants, and heart healthy fats.

I made Italian Tuna Pasta and the cost broke down like this.

I scour the sales (which EVERYONE should do, and USE YOUR COUPONS)

Barilla whole wheat pasta-1 box $1 (though I paid $0)

6 roma tomatoes $4

basil bunch $1.50

family size tuna pouch in OIL $3.50

one half of a yellow onion $.60

one half of one head of garlic $.18

olive oil $.80

salt and pepper – nominal

total=$11.58. This can be made EVEN less expensive by using a can of fire roasted tomatoes with basil.

One meal at Wendy’s with only ONE meal of 3 being a value meal, $13.77 (average) and that is sans my beloved frosty.

Italian Tuna Pasta

by Cat Tan

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Keywords: steam roast entree kosher fish pasta


  • 6 roma tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1 box whole wheat pasta
  • 1 family size pouch of tuna in oil or 4 single serve bags
  • 1 small or 1 half of a large yellow onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper


slice tomatoes 1/2″ in thickness and arrange on a sheet pan

place under broiler until they start to shrivel and caramelize

boil pasta to package instructions reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid

chop the onion and garlic

in a large skillet, heat the oil on medium, add the onion and garlic and saute until soft

add in the tomatoes, salt and pepper, and tuna

add the chopped basil and pasta including cooking liquid

toss and serve, adding more basil if desired.

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Do you ever calculate the cost of your meals?

Favorite song to dance to right now?

Did your mom or dad make you tuna noodle casserole when you were little? Love it or hate it? (i love it)

22 thoughts on “Look Into My Eyes…You Want to Read This Post

  1. Preach it sister....thanks for the humor and honesty.....a rare treat in today's world. Made the energy balls the other night.....added a scoop of nutella...for binding.....people LOVE THEM!!
  2. Just like everything else in life, healthy eating is a choice. Yes, we can just say that it's expensive and go on with our unhealthy ways OR we can make a choice to fight for our health and find ways to make that happen. Like you pointed out so nicely in your post, it's A LOT cheaper overall to make meals at home than it is to eat out or even buy ready made meals at the grocery store. Again, it's about choices and deciding where you want to spend your money. Phew! Had to get that off my chest...sorry!
  3. I agree that healthy meals are affordable, especially when one's health is valued. People that don't value their health, or those don't really want to change their eating habits, I find, come with a host of excuses, "it's too expensive" being one of them. BTW- I am (chair) dancing to Calvin Harris- Feel So Close.....LOVE IT!!!
  4. The fact of the matter is that the price tag on healthy eating at home isn't the problem as you so nicely showed it's eating healthy out. The convenience of eating out is great but in the end those of us who choose to eat healthfully are hammered on the price tag. Just look at the difference in price between a salad with chicken and a quarter pounder meal at that other popular burger joint. The salad is usually as much as the meal and that's with no drink. Then you get it and often I'm not really satisfied in the end and am looking for more though that might have something to do with my skinny family who doesn't really need to watch what they eat for the moment anyway. Even at better restaurants a whole wheat or whole grain pasta choice almost always ups the price. Frustrating!!!!!
    • I think that's why we stopped going out for fast food for the most part, also, Wendy's got rid of the apple slices option, making the food completely nutrient deficient. The only nutrients you get are from the milk, and the captain can't have that. I still love the (very) occasional jr deluxe (no cheese or mayo-ick), but otherwise try to plan ahead to have healthy, easy, inexpensive meals at the ready.
  5. Love this - thank you, Cat. In the documentary 'Ingredients', I heard that Americans spend a lower percentage of our income on food than any other industrialized nation in the world. I think we've just developed a totally skewed view of how much food should actually cost - when it's not loaded with chemicals or coming from a factory, food really is so much more expensive than we've gotten used to! You raise such a good point that illness is pretty damn pricey. I saw something on Facebook that I thought was great that raises a similar point about time - that if you think you don't have time to take care of your health, that you're just going to have to take time for illness later!
    • and we spend subsequently more on entertainment than any other country. We're willing to pay for something we can do for ourselves and not pay for something we cannot always do for ourselves. (I don't know about you, but I am not really equipped to house chickens in Brooklyn)
  6. I always start my menu planning by first seeing what is on sale at my favorite stores. Especially vegetables and meat. If cabbage is on sale we will have it in 3-4 different ways: grilled cabbage slices, on tacos, salad and corn beef and cabbage. If you plan and shop right you can eat right.
  7. This is a battle I fight constantly with new clients. I love giving grocery tours to people and showing them that if you keep your eyes open great food deals really are all around! Also, costing out recipes helps quite a bit!
  8. i'm totally with you!! you can eat healthy on budget. Girl, we do it all the time. just gotta pick your staples wisely, right? Like yours!! So glad you posted this.

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