People will often mention how expensive it is to eat healthfully. I often wonder what foods they are looking at purchasing. The USDA studied this issue and summarizes the results this way:
• Foods low in calories for a given weight appear to have a higher price when the price is measured per calorie. For example, vegetables and fruits, which are low in calories, tend to be a relatively expensive way to purchase food energy.
• Conversely, less healthy foods (called “moderation foods” in this report)—especially those high in saturated fat and added sugar—tend to be high in calories and to have a low price per calorie.
• When measured on the basis of edible weight or average portion size, grains, vegetables, fruit, and dairy foods are less expensive than most protein foods and foods high in saturated fat, added sugars, and/or sodium.
• In following the food group recommendations at ChooseMyPlate.gov, it is less costly to meet the grains, dairy, and fruit recommendations than those for vegetables or protein foods.
Anyway, for kicks, let’s take a look at what our options are in Mexico, MO. Basically, I put together meals or snacks that are about 350 calories.
1 peanut butter and jelly and 3 oz. carrots - estimated cost of $1.07
Lean cuisine lasagna meal and a serving of grapes = $3.77
Double Cheeseburger = $1.00 menu
Turkey and provolone sandwich with 2 oz. grape tomatoes = $2.64
Oatmeal with walnuts and flax seed meal = $.55
Special K Protein Plus, skim milk, buttered toast and coffee with cream and sugar = $.70
1 cup low fat yogurt and 1 c whole strawberries = $1.65
1 granola bar and 15 potato chips = $.80
Of course, prices vary from place to place. I used real serving sizes vs. the typical American serving size. The nutritional value per calorie differs from meal to meal above – let’s not forget that. So when you say it is too expensive to eat healthfully, what foods are you purchasing?
Are Healthy Foods Really More Expensive? It Depends on How You Measure the Price