Eating Healthy is More Expensive: Busting a Myth
My family’s diet consists of whole foods. To me, this means I prefer to start with foods that look like they did at the farm where they came from. No need to grind it up with a bunch of something else, spit it out and then repackage it as a mystery substance. No thank you.
One question we often get is how we afford to eat the way we eat, as so many people believe that eating healthy – which for us means plenty of fresh produce, whole grains and a few lean meats and fish – is more expensive than purchasing processed foods.
The truth, however, is that it’s not. For most people, it’s more of a change in diet and attitude towards eating that needs to happen, rather than a readjustment of your wallet. Consider portion sizes and the food that sits on your plate. Even the new USDA Plate shows that the majority of your plate should be covered with produce and whole grains, leaving only a small portion for proteins.
One of the best comparisons of healthy versus unhealthy diet I’ve found was a piece on Invest it Wisely that looked at a typical fast food diet, a healthy diet with fresh produce and lean proteins and an unhealthy diet cooked from home. Both the unhealthy diet cooked from home and the healthy diet from home ended up with the same price breakdown. All the author of the article did was change his eating habits, not what he was spending on food.
Some keys to eating well on a budget:
- Shop at the farmer’s market.
- Purchase food that is in season, as it will always be cheaper.
- Cut out extra beverages, as soda and juices add up, and stick with milk and water.