Most of us would answer a resounding, “YES”! However I would beg to differ…
On first impressions, a walk through your local grocery store seems to back up this claim …cheap, processed foods in every aisle and only small sections of fresh foods that are comparatively expensive.
However, while our food system is great at delivering sheer calories to the masses, it falls well short when it comes to supplying the specific nutrients everyone needs. In fact, research shows that it doesn’t even produce enough fruits and vegetables to supply every American with the recommended minimum daily number of servings of these essentials. Put another way, there aren’t enough whole foods to go around.
According to a study published in the journal Health Affairs, for the average American to change their eating habits to meet the governments recommendation for potassium alone would cost an extra $380. Getting enough Vitamin A and D costs another $255. Conversely, for every 1% increase in calories consumed from saturated fat, food costs drop $0.28 per meal. And for every 1% increase in calories gotten from sugar, you’ll save $0.07 per meal. No wonder so many people are eating junk, getting fat, and falling ill. All of this information seems to support the argument that eating healthy is too expensive for the short term budget…or not?
There are ways to eat healthy without resorting to a life of crime!
• Cook at home! The average American eats out 4-5 times per week. Even making the best choices at most restaurants is not nearly as healthy as a well planned meal at home, and will be much cheaper.
• Get a freezer…being able stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables while they are in season is a lot cheaper. The savings will pay for the freezer in no time.
• Shop in season…don’t eat apples in the summer or strawberries in the winter
• Focus on “super foods”…here are a few:
o Tumeric and other herbs and spices
o Wild salmon
o Raw nuts
o Pastured, organic eggs
• Grow your own…it’s as cheap and as healthy as it gets!
• Plan your menu, make a grocery list and don’t shop when you are hungry!
• Make soup from leftovers…you can do this with virtually anything!
Also, keep in mind the long term costs of eating unhealthy…health care costs the typical household $12,000-$15,000 per year! This is an estimate of the median cost of health care for households in this country, including all insurance premiums, employer contributions, co-payments, Medicare and Medicaid taxes and everything else. 80% of all health care is reactive…meaning it can be avoided by making better choices.
So, is eating healthy really that expensive???