The Actual Cost of Healthy Eating Revealed
Folks at the Harvard actually did the math. You'll be surprised at how little it costs.
Grass-fed beef? Farm fresh kale? One of the biggest stereotypes of healthy eating is that people think it costs too much. No one is saying you should eat wild king salmon every day but, as it turns out, the healthiest diets will only set you back a mere $1.50 a day more than unhealthy diets, according to a Harvard School of Public Health study. This means a healthy diet will all together set you back around $550 a year, which is burdensome for some, but that figure doesn't include the money you'll save from long-term healthcare costs of a poor diet.
The (low) cost of healthy diets
The current study found that healthier meats and proteins cost an average of $0.29 more per serving compared to less healthy options. Snacks/sweets and grains also cost $0.12 and $0.03 more respectively. There was also no significant price difference in healthier and less healthy soda and juices. So while you might want to budget out the healthy-but-pricey meats on some weeks, the study is saying that you can just as easily afford fortified orange juices versus sugar-filled/nutrition-empty Sunkist for example.
More excuses, excuses, excuses
Besides the perceives costs of healthy foods, many people falsely believe that they don't have the time to incorporate better diets. As New York Daily News suggests, "Cooking takes up valuable time, so if you are working hard throughout the week, I suggest preparing meals in bulk on a day off, and keeping a go-to list of quick recipes for breakfast, lunch or dinner so you can make healthy meals on the go."
Tips to eat health on a budget
Plan, plan, plan! Before you head to the grocery store, plan your meals for the week. Include meals like stews, casseroles, or stir-fries, which “stretch” expensive items into more portions. Check to see what foods you already have and make a list for what you need to buy.
Get the best price. Check the local newspaper, online, and at the store for sales and coupons. Ask about a loyalty card for extra savings at stores where you shop. Look for specials or sales on meat and seafood—often the most expensive items on your list.
Compare and contrast. Locate the “Unit Price” on the shelf directly below
the product. Use it to compare different brands and different sizes of the same brand to determine which is more economical.
Buy in bulk. It is almost always cheaper to buy foods in bulk. Smart choices are family packs of chicken, steak, or fish and larger bags of potatoes and frozen vegetables. Before you shop, remember to check if you have enough
Buy in season. Buying fruits and vegetables in season can lower the
cost and add to the freshness! If you are not going to use them all right away, buy some that still need time to ripen.