• Leanne M.

Are we punishing healthy eating?

A woman who shops where I work recently came in and said oh my goodness you look so healthy, you've lost so much weight.. I just wish I could get my grandaughter to talk to you. She's gained so much. My first question was oh did she gain it in college?

Why was this my first instinctual question ? Because that's when I gained the most weight.. What would I put it down to ? Moving less... sure but also ? BEING ON A BUDGET. In Ireland I honestly feel we reward the unhealthy.. It is cheaper to eat processed crap than it is to make a nourishing meal. 

Now to put that into context I've put together two shopping lists... one which is what i feel a typical student diet. It is the cheapest possible weeks shopping you could do... and still eat three meals a day.. The other is a typical week for me or someone who follows a low carb diet - probably also for a gluten free diet. I did however pick the cheapest forms of my ingredients. 

For the purpose of this, although I personally rarely shop in tesco I've priced both lists from there as they have an easily accessible online shopping facility and a wide range of ingredients/options.

The Cheap List - Breakfast

  • Tesco Rice Snaps €1.58

  • Milk €1.49

  • White Sliced Pan 0.69c

  • Tesco Butter 227g €1.24


  • Instant noodles 10c a packet 7 packets = 0.70c (YES IVE DONE THIS)


  • Tesco Pizza €1.50

  • Tesco Chicken Curry €1.40

  • Sweet n Sour Chicken €1.50

  • Mac N Cheese €1.50

  • 18 southern fried chicken bites €1.50 plus tesco wedges 0.74c = 2 Meals 

  • Bag of croquettes - to add to any of the above meals 0.60c

The grand total ? - €14.49 with €2.79 of that being ingredients you might have left for the following week.

The healthy List

Im going to start with dinners here as a lot of the ingredients bought for dinners will be used as part of breakfast and lunches


  • [Meal Korean Chicken]

  • Seseme oil €1.89

  • Rice Vinegar €2.29

  • Tesco Spinach €1.25

  • Beansprouts€1.89

  • Soya Sauce €1.75

  • Avacado oil €4.49

  • Cauliflower rice €3.00

  • [Meal Thai Curry]

  • Coconut milk 0.75c

  • Green curry paste €2.59

  • Mushrooms 0.79c

  • Mangetout 0.79c

  • Asparagus tips €1.79

  • Carrots €1.79

  • Brocolli 0.89c

  • Caulfilower rice (already covered)

  • [Meal Lettuce Tacos]

  • Steak Mince €4.00

  • Seasoning €1.15

  • Little gem lettuce €0.79c

  • [Meal Beef Stir fry]

  • Diced Beef €5

  • Worcester sauce €1.39

  • White cabbage 0.99c

  • Other veg already covered

  • [Meal Burger and slaw]

  • Mince (covered)

  • Slaw broc and carrots (covered)

  • eggs €2.85

  • Mozerella 0.99c

  • Soft cheese €1.37

  • Garlic €1

  • Coconut flour €5.49

  • Red onions €1.30

  • [Meal: Chicken Satay]

  • Peanut butter €1.09

  • Tumeric 69c

  • Red chilli €1.19

  • Ginger 0.49c

  • Cauliflower rice (covered)

  • Spinach (covered)

  • Chicken (covered)


Combination of eggs fried /scrambled/omelette using ingredients already bought from dinners, Turkey rashers €3 and Turkey Sausages €3


Combination of keto buns made on burger day / salads with chicken tikka €1.59 x 2, Iceberg lettuce 0.89c, streaky rashers 0.99c, balsamic vinegar 0.72c and brocolli/carrot slaw - mayo €2.30 plus dinner leftovers such as from curry night or taco night. 

Total cost for eating healthy and cooking from scratch on a low carb diet? - €74.61 (€25.67 of which being ingredients you may still have the following week) meaning the following week if you were to repeat the same menu could cost as little as €48.67

........ Thats a heck of a difference...  in terms of food quality and price. - Why would any student cook properly when they can eat poorly for so cheap? You might have noticed I only accounted for 6 dinners on both lists - I said I'd leave the 7th to compare eating out....

It is difficult particularly in Ireland to eat healthily when eating out.. In wexford we have Mi asian streetfood which is pretty good about using healthy fresh ingredients, however youll typically spend €12-15 here, where as a mcdonalds student meal is €5

Another alternative would be a nice salad which in most places averages between €7-10 - again some considerable differences....

So I ask, particularly in Ireland - Are we punishing our most vulnerable ? - Our youth?

Our students? the minimum wage class? by forcing their hand re what they put in their mouth ? Should we not tax the chocolate / crisps /chicken nuggets and pizzas over trying to force people to pay for their water?

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Dont blame butter for what the bread did