Many people believe eating healthy is expensive as compared to junk food. That’s the number one excuse people give for not buying good, nutritious food. However, not only is healthy food not as expensive as you think, you are also asking the wrong question. Here’s why.
Healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats and fish all cost more to produce and the prices only go up if they are organically produced. These foods might not taste as good as processed food, but it’s definitely better for our body. Sources of cheap calories such as white bread are made with refined ingredients and contain harmful additives. They can rob your body of crucial nutrients and can over time harm your health.
In our society, healthy choices are sometimes a lot harder to make than unhealthy ones: going to the gym versus staying home, ordering a salad instead of French fries or buying healthy groceries in place of unhealthy stuff. Healthy groceries such as fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and 100% whole wheat products always seem to be more expensive than their unhealthy counterparts. The reasons are simple but the solutions are complex.
Demand vs. Supply
Simple economics is the main reason healthy food is expensive. This country demands much more unhealthy food than healthy fresh produce. Food manufacturers supply what is in demand. The result is cheap junk. The way to change this is to change the supply and demand equation, but that cannot happen overnight. Only changing attitudes can move this process along.
While buying healthy food might seem like the more expensive option, in the long run going healthy saves you a lot of time and money. Ingredients found in some of our most popular fast foods (sugar, sodium, saturated fat, trans fat) are known to increase your risk for a number of diseases including heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes. There are ingredients (fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants) found in healthy foods that can prevent those same diseases. Instead of worrying about the damage healthy food does to your wallet, you should be worrying about the havoc unhealthy food causes to your body.
Healthy food at home
Eating well is crucial to your mental and emotional health, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on food. Whether you’re at school, living on your own, or raising a family on a budget, you can enjoy healthy food on the cheap. The key to saving money on food is to limit unnecessary spending, revise your shopping habits, and focus on healthier choices. Prepare meals at home and making mealtimes a social experience. The pleasure of eating increases when a meal is shared. Your meals will be healthier and tastier. You will feel better and think and act better. And save more money in the short and long run. Eat out less. Even if you live alone, there are plenty of ways to cook cheap, healthy meals at home.
Some Basic tips:
- Purchase local, unprocessed food.
- Plenty of wholegrain breads and cereals, fruit, vegetables and legumes (such as chickpeas, lentils and red kidney beans).
- Cut the junk. Eliminate foods such as soda, and processed foods.
- Stick to your grocery list. The more prepared you are, the less impulse purchases you’ll make.
- Low-salt foods and use salt sparingly.
- Small amounts of foods that contain added sugars.
- Reduced-fat milk and other dairy products.
- It is also important to drink an adequate amount of water.
Don’t assume that more expensive or organic items are immediately better in every way, but also don’t assume that healthy products are actually more expensive. Your body is like an incredibly powerful sports car, treat it like one and it will drive like one.