A common excuse for people not eating healthy is that it is too expensive. I am not going to lie, buying healthful foods for the whole family, or just for yourself, can be a hefty bill. Food prices have been creeping up throughout the years. Some people claim that prepackaged and processed foods are cheaper than fruits and vegetables, making it harder for us to eat healthy. Not to mention that value menus at fast food restaurants are becoming more common. In this economy we try to get the most out of our money, and we all don’t have the funds to eat like the rich and famous.
In my opinion, healthy food is not more expensive than processed foods; I think it’s a little bit backwards. In fact, in the intro to this blog I was trying to come up with an example of how processed/prepackaged foods were cheaper than healthy foods and I couldn’t. This is what my example was going to be: you want to buy a side for your dinner; you can buy a box (approx. 7oz, 2 servings per box) of macaroni and cheese for 2$ OR you could buy 1lb (16oz, about 2-4 servings) of summer squash for approx. $1.50 per pound. Do you see my issue? If we are going by the price of food per ounce, then squash would win. That means more food for your money! It would most definitely save you some calories too (if you’re worried about that) and you get way more nutrients.
Here is why I think we fall into the misconception that healthy food (produce in particular) is more expensive than the lovely, convenient packaged foods: portion size. When some people eat, they tend to not pay attention to the serving size. But what we do look at is how much food is on our plate, and we think the more the better. On the contrary, if we were to look at serving size AND the amount of food on our plate, one serving of macaroni and cheese looks more filling than one serving of squash. That’s when we think that we are getting more food for our money, when in reality we’re not. Your eyes can deceive you; ever heard the saying “your eyes are bigger than your stomach”?
During a shopping trip, I bought mostly processed/prepackaged foods because that was what my family was eating at the time. It was crazy, we spent probably $200 and walked out of the store with barely a cart-full. Another time I went shopping at a fruit stand and spent maybe 20$ and was amazed at how much food I walked out with.
There are a couple of points that I do agree with about healthy food being expensive. First, meat can be expensive. Although, even if you eat unhealthful, you still need meat for that hamburger helper. Secondly, there are some great prices on fast foods. You can get a whole meal under $4! Or you can hit up that dollar menu! Those prices are unbeatable.
We have to look at the bigger picture though. If we want the best quality life, a big contributor is our diet. Should we sacrifice our health for a cheap meal? I look at eating healthy as an investment. If we spend the extra money and time buying and prepping healthy foods, then we will be rewarded with a better quality of life. However, if you don’t want to spend that little bit of extra money on healthy foods and continue eating junk, then you will have to spend money on prescription drugs and surgeries later on down the road, and those are even more expensive!