In short the answer is simple, it’s not. There’s a lot of confusion and uproar as to why eating healthy is “soooo much more expensive” than eating unhealthy the reality is we are basing this assumption off of a lot of false comparisons.
1) The Convenience Factor
Is a fast food salad more expensive than something off the dollar menu? Sure. But a whole chicken provides enough chicken for one person for a weeks worth of meals (about two meals for a family of 4-5). That whole chicken… About the same price as ONE of those value meals.
2) Wasting Healthy Foods
Oh how many times times I’ve heard “but I waste money on healthy food because it goes bad before I can eat it”. You wouldn’t go to the store and buy 8 different cuts of meat and leave it sitting in the refrigerator expecting you’d eat it before it goes bad. Treat your fruits and veggies the same. Or if you are really unsure of how quickly you’ll eat it start out with frozen!
**Fruit and Veggie tips: Each week choose two fruits and two veggies and alternate days eating them. If you have strawberries and bananas, enjoy your bananas Monday, Wednesday, Friday and your strawberries Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. Notice you have extra fruit and veggies? SIMPLE, cut them up and freeze them! Who needs to buy smoothies and shakes when you can stick your own frozen goods in a blender and make your own!!
3) Time Convenience
Say it takes five minutes to boil water, ten minutes to cook macaroni and another two to mix in cheese. That’s seventeen minutes to make macaroni and cheese from a convenient little box. It takes five minutes to cut up vegetables while your oven is preheating to 350 degrees. It’s takes 10 minutes to bake them and we’ll go ahead and give them two minutes to cool. Weird, same seventeen minutes. *Even quicker tip, hit up the store on a weekend and when you get home cut up all of your veggies. You can even divide them into serving packets and save yourself even more time during the week!
4) The Expense of Lean Meats
The biggest price difference in healthy vs unhealthy food is most predominate when it comes to meats and proteins. Leaner cuts of meat are on average 29 cents more per serving. Again, when comparing the two look at the price per unit rather than the total price. If you’re looking at the price of a pack of chicken breasts or other individually cut meats the leaner pack will be more expensive. However, as I said before cooking an entire chicken will provide you with more meat and a bigger variety.
**Don’t know how to cook an entire chicken? Can’t make it to the local farmers market? Just check who your local vendors are, almost all of them will do local drop-offs for any items you are shopping for. Pop the entire chicken in the crockpot with some seasoning and viola! Eight hours later you’ve got an entire chicken to cut up and munch on for days!
**Protein tips! Try going meatless for a few meals and getting your protein from healthy and MUCH cheaper forms with a variety of beans and nuts!
5) The high cost of unhealthy eating. Still not sold that the price difference isn’t huge? Look at what unhealthy eating can COST you. An unhealthy diet is a major contributor to long-term disease as well as a weakened immune system. Treating chronic diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, pulmonary conditions, and mental illness equates to upwards of $350 per month. A weakened immune system equates to sick days, time off, and an increase in doctors visits. Chronically sick people will average $115 monthly in copay and out of pocket expenses, that’s IF you have good insurance. What about eating foods that cause harmful reactions, gas, diarrhea or causes constipation? It’s estimated that three out of four Americans take over-the-counter medications to treat common everyday ailments like heartburn. So tac on another 5-20 dollars a month. All of these problems that can be controlled or eliminated through a healthy diet and exercise.
You know what they say: “you can’t look and feel like a million bucks if you eat off the dollar menu.” Numbers don’t lie people, numbers don’t lie.
Sweat & Smiles, Melissa