I hate fake food. Fake food lightens your wallet and fattens your waistline. Fake food is all that packaged processed crap displayed prominently in grocery store aisles and in the freezer section. Fake food makes product companies mega bucks, costs you big bucks, and hurts your health.

When I see fake foods lining the grocery aisles I feel sad. It seems the food scientists and product marketers have hijacked our health and sold us on packaged portions of phony foods. Foods like sugary cereal, simple carbohydrates, instant boxed meals, processed grains, bagged transported veggies, mystery meats, refined proteins, and sodium-rich nutrient-poor concoctions. To be honest, I don’t eat any of this food science packaged crap. I just don’t buy it.


My personal preference is to pass on the fake grub and eat frugalicious food. Frugalicious is a word I just made up to describe foods which are delicious, frugal, and healthy.

frugalicious = delicious + frugal + healthy

Foods like fruits, veggies, lean meats, legumes, nuts, and beans. Theses foods pack a nutritional punch without knocking out your wallet. Want to fatten your bank account and eat healthier? Here’s how to debunk the marketing muckity muck and easily find frugalicious food:

1. Ignore fancy labels and boxes:

Frugalicious foods are free from bright marketing labels and cardboard boxes. Real foods like apples, potatoes, and lettuce don’t need this window dressing since they are easily identified without product descriptions. When did you last need a label to identify an apple? Label free foods cost you less because you’re not paying a marketing company to brand them. Labels may seem like simple paper inserts, but really they’re multi million dollar campaigns targeting your dollars and health cents. Save money by avoiding boxed foods with fancy labels.

2. Avoid fancy health claims:

Ever see foods boasting a special ingredient, weight loss, or cures for an ailment? Chances are these foods have marketing magicians working behind the scenes to magically separate you from your money. Many fake foods boast health claims to convince you to buy. Also, health claims tend to be padded by food scientists who use Petri dishes and microscopes to scientifically engineer chemically acceptable products for human consumption. Frugalicious foods tend to be free from claims of healthfulness since they are naturally good for you. Save yourself some big bucks by avoiding foods which tout magic pixie dust to help cure what ails you.

3. Avoid pronunciation problems:

How do you pronounce disodium guanylate, hydrogenated, and dimethylpolysiloxane? If you stumble to pronounce an ingredient, chances are the food is a fake. Those ingredients are food science creations used to enhance or preserve the color, texture, shelf life, or flavor of fake food. Real food doesn’t require a handbook to decipher the ingredients. So stick with frugalicious foods you can identify.

4. Ask the bugs:

If the bugs won’t eat it neither should you. So many otherwise good foods have been treated with chemicals and pesticides to prevent spoilage. Real foods should have a shelf life and should eventually rot. Pesticide-free foods may cost you a little bit more today, but will save you big bucks tomorrow on health costs.

5. Ask your grandmother:

Need help spotting the fakes? Just ask your grandmother! Ask her about Twinkies, Pop Tarts, or those exploding Pizza Pop things. If your grandmother can’t identify it as food it’s probably a fake. Grandmothers are exceptional resources for learning how to stretch food dollars. My grandmother was very frugal and raised a family of five by baking bread, soaking dried beans, and preparing whole foods into nutritious strews, soups, and dishes. Stick with what grandma knows as food and you should be well on your path to frugalicious eating.

How do you spot fake food? Do you save big bucks by eating frugalicious food?