The benefits of healthy eating outweigh the extra cost and the extra cost is not as much as you might think.
You don’t have to compromise healthy eating just because healthy foods can be more expensive.
As a personal trainer and yoga teacher the topic of nutrition and healthy eating is naturally a topic of conversation. While I do not give nutritional advice and information, I do share healthy lifestyle tips and suggestions so healthy eating is naturally a topic of conversation. In those conversations I often hear, “it’s too expensive to eat healthy.”
Do the benefits of healthy eating outweigh the extra cost? Is the extra cost actually as much as you think it is?
Based on an analysis of 27 studies, Harvard School of Public Health reports the cost of a healthy diet is about $1.50 more per day than the least healthy diets. With that price tag, over the course of a year a person will spend $550 more if they choose to eat healthy. Lets not forget the loss of productivity at work, and the mental and physical toll an unhealthy diet takes on the body.
The Center for Disease Control reports, the US spent more than $147 billion in obesity-related health care costs in 2008. The American Diabetes Association reports, in 2012 more than $245 billion was spent to cover diabetes-related costs.
Consider this, you would spend about $19.70 if you ate three meals a day at McDonald’s. You can eat well on $19.70 a day if you prepare the food yourself and often times that includes leftovers, cutting healthy eating costs even more.
So yes, healthy eating costs more, but when you consider health care costs associated with an unhealthy diet, the difference might not be as significant as you thought.
USE THESE TIPS TO REDUCE GROCERY COSTS WITHOUT SACRIFICING NUTRITION:
- BUY FROZEN Frozen foods are often cheaper than fresh. The bonus is frozen foods keep longer than fresh so there’s less waste and it’s already chopped.
- BUY DRY BEANS A bag of dry beans costs less than 1 can of beans and 1 bag will have enough beans for several meals. Batch cook the beans for healthy and convenient meals during the week.
- BUY IN BULK Check the unit price, buying a 10-pound bag of rice is a better deal than buying a 1 pound bag of rice. Amazon and big box stores like Costco have amazing deals on bulk items. And Amazon offers subscribe and save shopping that saves even more money.
- LIMIT BUYING PREPACKAGED ITEMS Buy prepackaged items only if you need it. Consider the cost of prepackaged salad mix. You’re paying for convenience and if cutting your grocery bill is the goal, buying heads of lettuce and making your own mix is the way to go. Plus, it tastes better and often lasts longer.
- SHOP FOR SEASONAL FRUITS AND VEGETABLES When produce is in season, the relative abundance of the crop usually makes it less expensive and it’s priced to sell.
- SHOP WITH A LIST Create a detailed shopping list based on your needs and weekly menu plan, and take into account how you plan on using leftovers. Going shopping knowing exactly what you need helps cut down on impulse buys, saves money and saves time.
- PLAN A MENU Planning ahead saves time and money and makes shopping with a list easier.
- GROW YOUR OWN Growing your own herbs and vegetables is a great way to save money and it can be done in pots if space is limited.
- BUY FROM BULK BINS WHEN IT MAKES SENSE The bulk bin items like rice, grains, and nuts are often less expensive and you can buy the exact amount you need.
- REDUCE WASTE Consider perishable items, think about exactly and when how you’ll use them. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans generate roughly 30 million tons of food waste each year. Using leftover vegetables and grains in soups, stews, salads, and casseroles minimizes cost.
- SHOP AS YOUR LOCAL FARMER’S MARKET A report released in 2011 by Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, found that prices at farmers’ markets for conventionally grown produce items were sometimes lower than they were at supermarkets. For organic items, farmers’ markets beat grocery stores every time hands down. In one study, non-organic farmers’ market cantaloupe, cucumbers, lettuce, and peas were better buys than their supermarket counterpart. Jake Claro said in an interview, “We’re starting to see enough competition among vendors at farmers’ markets that the prices are becoming competitive.”
- BUY GENERIC Consider buying store brands instead of pricier national brands. “All food manufacturers follow standards to provide safe food and beverage products of high quality,” says Robert Earl, director of nutrition policy for the Grocery Manufacturer Association. Many grocery companies buy national-brand products made to their specifications and simply put their own label on the products. Read the ingredient list on the label and sure you’re getting the most for your money.
- NAVIGATE THE HEALTHIEST AISLES Primarily shop the perimeter of the store where you’ll find more of the freshest foods and less of the prepackaged processed. For convenience, write your grocery list based on the layout of the store. That’s efficient AND healthy shopping.
I WOULD LOVE TO CHAT:
HOW DO YOU SAVE MONEY ON YOUR GROCERY BILL? WHAT TIPS WOULD YOU ADD TO THE LIST? DO YOU SHOP AT FARMER’S MARKETS? HAVE YOU TRIED AMAZON’S SUBSCRIBE AND SAVE?
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