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Home » MyPlate on My Budget » MyPlate on My Budget, Week 2 Produce

MyPlate on My Budget, Week 2 Produce

Can I follow the USDA thrifty food plan and feed my family the MyPlate advised daily nutrients? That’s the question I’m asking this March with MyPlate on My Budget.

Rose McAvoy from Our Lady of Second Helpings is providing support, guidance and yummy recipes.

On Day 1 of Week 2 I went to Costco. The grand total for produce was $51.60

Ahhh!!!!  I thought I had done better than that.  The 20 lb bag of potatoes was only $4.79!

But I was trying to be better about meeting all of the MyPlate requirements.

Did I succeed?


Vegetables: 73.5 cups

  • 7 cups dark leafy green
  • 20.5 cups red and orange
  • 21.5 cups starch
  • 6.5 cups beans and peas
  • 18 cups other

Fruits: 52.5 cups

  • Whole fruits whenever possible


Vegetables: 145 cups

  • 10 cups organic spinach
  • 40 cups carrots
  • 74 cups potatoes and squash
  • 9  cups peas
  • 12 cups other (celery)

Fruits: 36 servings plus lots of juice

  • 28 apples (half organic)
  • 8 cans frozen oj
  • 8 bananas

I’m counting this as an A+

That’s because I have a head of cauliflower in the fridge.  That means  I’ve bought enough produce to meet all of the MyPlate requirements this week.

But here’s the kicker:

When I got up to the register at Costco, my membership was due!

The membership costs a lot of money.  I’m not even sure if it’s fair for me to go to Costco on this experiment.  But I’m already getting kind of crazy about it, so I decided not to obsess any further.

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  1. sara says:

    Produce is very expensive and even though there are just 2 of us, we have allergies and food sensitivities to deal with so much of what you bought couldn’t be in our cart for both of us. I can drink the OJ – he can’t. He can eat the potatoes, snap peas, and carrots – I can’t do the potatoes and have to limit the peas and carrots. This complicates matters for many families. I find fruit for my husband really hard to obtain at a reasonable price. I have been baking pears and apples this winter to add to his fruit intake as he will eat them as grapes are rather pricey.

    Buying organic is hard / expensive to impossible at our local store depending on what you are looking for. Last time I looked the only organic vegetable I could buy and eat that they had was broccoli. I am able to get organic Fuji apples (apples are then only thing I insist on being organic as I react to pesticides used on others) locally but they were $ 3.99 a pound this fall for a while; currently they are $ 1.49. Organic pantry items I can find online cheaper. I live in a “tourist trap” I know and the grocery prices reflect it but many of us live here year round as we retired here and have to learn to deal with local prices.

    We shop 2 stores one 3 miles away and a Safeway which is about 30 miles away. We shop locally once or twice a week then go to Safeway every 2 weeks on average. I pick up things at WM (not a super one yet) as well as order staples from online vendors. Of course online purchases aren’t allowed if you use SNAP. I will occasionally go to a produce stand also about 30 miles away; there are 2 actually but only one has organic produce. All the grocery store trip are getting more and more expensive.

    We spend more on produce than protein. Pears are $ 1.99 /lb locally unless on special. We saw cauliflower and broccoli at more than that a month ago and these are not organic. Squash is now $ 1.99 / lb at Safeway and I don’t mean the prepackaged ones.

    • jenbrdsly says:

      We are really fortunate to live next to PCC, Whole Foods, Costco, Trader Joe’s, and Fred Meyer; all of which have excellent conventional and organic produce selections.

      Most of the time when you hear people talk about limited access to fresh produce they are referring to inner cities without grocery stores. Your story illustrates that can happen in “tourist traps” too. Thanks for sharing!

  2. sara says:

    I am not sure you are counting beans and peas right


    reread how to count beans and peas –

    • jenbrdsly says:

      You’re right. I’m not. I realized that half way between week #1 and week #2. Also, I wasn’t counting sweet potatoes right either. They don’t count as a yellow. Which means (insert scary music here) that the yellow requirement is mainly just corn, potatoes and some other random things like water chestnuts.

      But I think this points out and excellent issue which is how confusing all of those requirements and categories are. I really studied those requirements a lot before I started all of this, and I’m still messing up!

      The basic advice of filling your plate half full of vegetables and fruit is easy to understand. T he nitty-gritty of what to actually serve is complicated.

  3. Cynthia says:

    I wonder if shopping for greens at an Asian market might cost less? I haven’t researched that yet. There are a lot of good ones in the Northwest, but maybe not close to where you live.

  4. sara says:

    I looked more at the food division and it is confusing.

    Squash is starchy and orange but not listed as starchy.

    Beets are “other” not “red” (can’t eat them anyhow but ).

    Avocado and tomatoes are listed as veggies not fruits.

    And I keep telling my husband corn is not a vegetable – it is a grain.

    It looks like I rarely eat starchy vegetables according to them but I do eat a variety of veggies.

    So they want peas and beans to be dry “legumes” except they are missing peanuts – need pea soup or baked beans or something on that order to meet their requirement

    As far as your kids and fish – I was one of those kids too. I still don’t eat shellfish but I will eat a nicely prepared piece of halibut, tuna, or salmon. We did eat fish sticks for years because they were cheap but now they are too full of additives. We will throw canned tuna on salad at times now but am selective on what brand.

    • jenbrdsly says:

      The food divisions are so confusing in fact, it makes me wonder if there is some sort of political lobbying going on behind the scenes. (I don’t mean to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but the yellow list is really weird.)

  5. sara says:

    I imagine is there is some lobbying involving big food producers but this list is created for functionally illiterate people and educated people have a hard time dealing with.all the divisions.

    I try to skim how to count beans and peas and I can see how difficult a time they had writing how to count something like that in both proteins and in vegetables. Is your average HS dropout able to comprehend it? I think they might scare of people if they try to make it more complicated so things (except for these dry legume) fit in only one category and that is the way it is (even if it is wrong).

    I am concerned not about whether to count squash as a starch or a orange/red food but what they are doing to our foods in processing and packaging them. i am alarmed at all the new food additives that keep appearing and am trying to determine which ones I am actually reacting too. They take a good healthy vegetable and taint it. Organic may lessen this but it doesn’t stop the additives entirely.

    I am concerned about the affect of all of these on future generations and wonder if this is why we are behind other developed countries in math and science. Okay I am way off track now.

    • jenbrdsly says:

      This got lost in my SPAM folder. So sorry!

      I agree 100% that the food additives are crazy. I was at Costco today and wanted to buy olives. But the olives they were selling had a bunch of different ingredients I had never heard of, plus dye. Why do you need to dye olives????

      Or what really gets me is “Special Brand” ranch dressing which they market as a way to get kids to eat veggies. But it has MSG in it!!!

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