Is healthy eating more expensive? Let’s get this out of the way. Healthy eating doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, a healthy diet actually looks like this: cheap Rather than buying packaged foods that are overly processed and laden with additives. Unfortunately, the general public believes health = expensive. But in many cases this is not the case. So why have we come to believe that healthy eating is not budget friendly?
Part of the problem is that we confuse “healthy” with other labels such as organic and gluten-free. Just because a cracker (or artificial candy) package is gluten-free doesn’t mean it’s nutritious or cheap. Another problem is that health foods can be associated with more expensive health food stores. But in reality, a healthy diet is based on whole, unprocessed foods (think fruits, beans, nuts, etc.) that can be found at most grocery stores at very affordable prices. .
Featured image by Michelle Nash.
Healthy Eating on a Budget: Nutritionist Tips
Sure, a Big Mac is cheaper than a pasture-raised hamburger, and a gas station soda is cheaper than an organic veggie juice, but the same idea works in reverse. So a fried chicken sandwich costs more than a banana.
Prices vary depending on food. Not all healthy foods are expensive and not all unhealthy foods are cheap. This misconception poses risks to our overall health.
Social inequalities in our food system
That said, health and social status are closely related.General health and social inequalities Disproportionately influence racial, ethnic, or impoverished minorities. In other words, conventionally grown foodstuffs are more likely to be consumed by these groups (due to factors such as price, availability and knowledge). Ultimately, this means that low-income households are the ones with the highest consumption of processed and fast food.
In essence, accessibility is one of the hardest pieces of the puzzle. Access to healthier options and access to accurate education about healthy eating is polarizing.
according to 2012 USDA ReportSome research suggests that districts composed primarily of low-income ethnic minorities have limited access to supermarkets compared to wealthy, predominantly white neighborhoods. gradually the study show it food desert It is currently the subject of discussion.As Scientific American ReportSome consider it more accurate to designate it as a “fresh food desert” or “health food desert” because the area is not entirely devoid of food.
But while researchers debate the semantics, it’s safe to say that the following is safe.We have a long way to go for the entire ecosystem, from farms to street corner stores and supermarkets.
Interestingly, research shows that the richest countries in the world (as indicated by GDP) are not necessarily the healthiest countries (as indicated by life expectancy). blue zone It has the longest life expectancy and has been identified as having the longest life span. Some of these cities include Ikaria in Greece, Okinawa in Japan, and the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica. However, what these areas have in common is the what They eat minimal animal protein, whole grains, fresh vegetables, fruits, olive oil, seeds and nuts. In other words, frugal food.
7 Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget
There are many ways to create nutritious and flavorful recipes while staying on budget. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to keep food costs down while feeding your family with nutritious foods. Ultimately, it’s all about planning, comparing options, and knowing what’s best for nutritional value.
1. Meal plan
Planning your meals can help you avoid buying packaged goods you don’t need and fresh vegetables that can go bad. Planning your meals can also help you avoid eating out on a regular basis. Find some recipes to make (breakfast, snackand dinner side), check your pantry to see what you already have on hand, and build your grocery list.
With planning, you spend less money and waste less food. plus, meal plan Make sure your fridge is stocked ahead of time. win, win
2. Option comparison
Among e-commerce stores like thriving market and Brandless, it’s always helpful to take a few minutes to compare prices. You can also sign up for the grocery store app ( sprout) to see what’s on sale. With a little homework, you can stay within your budget.
Another way to compare is to think of serving sizes. A bag of potato chips costs less than a bag of sweet potatoes, but sweet potatoes can yield higher yields.
3. Buy in bulk
Speaking of sweet potatoes, buying in bulk is more profitable. Essentially, it’s cheaper to buy in bulk because the more you sell an item, the cheaper the manufacturer costs. I love buying ingredients like nut butters, lentil-based pasta, olive oil, and organic meats at Costco. The cheapest foods to buy in bulk include beans, rice, frozen vegetables, and bananas.
4. Focus on Whole Foods
A helpful rule is to shop around the store first. This increases your chances of filling your cart with fruit, vegetables, and protein. In other words, it’s a natural food.
Processed and unhealthy foods are usually placed in the center of the store. However, if you shop in the center of the store, check the ingredients on the upper or lower shelves. The most expensive items are usually placed at eye level.
Although processed foods tend to be less expensive That’s because the US government subsidizes producers of these key ingredients (corn and wheat). As a result, the price of agricultural products can be kept low. However, processed foods and many packaged foods are high in sweeteners and fats, along with sodium and other preservatives. Whole foods, on the other hand, contain a vast array of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and fiber, that your body needs to function optimally.
5. Buy a frozen section
Frozen fruits and vegetables are usually just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts, are cheaper, and are available year-round. The nutrients (and flavor) of the seals are frozen and harvested and packaged at peak ripeness. With a much longer shelf life, frozen fruits and vegetables can be used longer. Frozen produce is usually sold in large bags, so you can use as much as you need and store the rest in the freezer.
6. Choose something in season
Buying frozen berries for the winter is an easy way to Antioxidants that boost immunity, It is also effective to buy fresh berries in summer. In other words, buying frozen fruits and vegetables in the off-season is just as lucrative as buying the same produce during peak harvest. eat with the seasons more economical. Seasonal produce is plentiful. For that reason, you can use it at a low price.
7. Think Local
Produce grown closer to home has no transportation costs, ultimately resulting in a lower overall cost of purchase. Plus, when you support local farmers and producers, that money stays with the community, which in turn helps boost the local economy.
Want more meal prep tips? Learn Camille’s healthy eating tips for the week.
This post was originally published on June 28, 2021 and has since been updated.