There are many studies out there weighing the true cost of healthy eating habits and for the most part I’ve seen that on-average it can cost approximately $1.50 more per day to eat healthier foods.
For many people, $1.50 is nothing, and for others is the world. Until you really begin to break down what it is you are purchasing.
I have long been the kind of person who typically eats and buys healthy. However, I was also the kind of person who could get tired, lazy and just plain not in the mood to cook and would not hesitate to go grocery shopping and then buy something convenient to quickly make for afterwards ( i.e. boxed nuggets, Kraft Dinner…)or grab some McDonald’s or pizza because I was too tired to cook after shopping.
When the average McDonald’s trip for two people is approximately $20, I find it appalling yet humorous now that I would not balk over this cost, but would refuse to pay $12 for 5 chicken breasts (that equaled to two separate dinners plus one lunch for my son and I). When I think about how crappy that meal always made me feel at the end of the day, I can’t believe I still made that choice over and over again. Now, I look at that $20 dollars and see how far it can actually stretch. That’s a bag of potatoes, a bag of carrots, a tray of mixed greens, an English cucumber, two peppers, two tomatoes and maybe some asparagus if it’s on sale. All items I can use the entire week long. For several different meals.
That $20 is also equal to a whole chicken, a package of ground turkey, and a package of frozen basa fillets. The base for at least five different meals there.
Since I have begun to turn over a new page when it comes to eating, I can honestly say that yes, buying fresh meat and produce does seem a little more expensive per item. HOWEVER. I am no longer buying 90% of the stuff through the middle aisles of the grocery store. Most days I can skip right over them. Do you have any idea how much money you save by choosing to no longer buy items such as Kraft Dinner, canned goods, granola bars, cookies, chips, juice boxes etc.? All things that have little to no nutritional value for yourself or your children? When you consider that you can get a large package of brown rice (that will last you for many, many meals) for the same price as two packages of Kraft dinner…it’s kind of mind boggling.
When you realize that the whole chicken you bought (usually for around $7-9) can make dinner for three, a salad topper, AND a large pot of homemade soup base… how much more valuable is knowing that you have put healthy things into your bellies. Things that you know exactly how they were prepared.
Now, I realize that there are families out there that are considerably larger than mine. With a considerably larger grocery bill and smaller budget. However, I urge you, whenever possible, to choose with healthy in mind. Natural. The only thing in our diets that dietitians say is completely unrestricted as to the amount of servings you can have each day is vegetables. Eat as many and as often as you can. Be smart about your purchases. Try going to the local farmers markets. Pay attention to the sales at all the different grocery stores. Stick to the outside aisles in the grocery store. Small changes will make a huge difference in how your body feels. The healthier you eat, the more energy you have, and the more prepared you can be in ensuring your meals are the right choices.