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Is it More Expensive to Eat Healthy?

By lisa.klein - Posted on 07 February 2014

Recent research has been released in the news stating that it costs an average of $1.50 more per person per day to eat healthy. This is attributed to the fact that unhealthy food is mostly processed, mass produced, and made convenient and less expensive. It is no surprise that the study has found this conclusion. Those of us in the wellness arena have always believed that fresh produce, lean cuts of meat, poultry, healthy fish, and whole grains and fiber (thus the perimeter of the grocery store) is often the most expensive area of the grocery store. There are a number of factors that drive this cost up, such as the quality, the perishability of the food, the potential for crop damage and waste, and the service and manpower attached, among others.  
Don't dispair! And definitely don't let this become an excuse for not eating healthy! The argument that it is more expensive to eat healthy, however, is relative to the priority and importance we place on our health as individuals and a nation as a whole. If we look at this cost, $1.50 per person per day, that equates to $10.50 per person per week and $42 for a family of four per week. The question then becomes, is your health and the health of your family worth that extra amount, and if it is, are you willing to cut expenses somewhere else in order to make up for this extra cost to get and stay healthy? Given that fact that the average family eats out 4-5 times per week, the argument can be made that cutting back on one meal out per week would cover the $42. In addition, for an individual or a family, if you tracked your spending over several weeks, you could easily ''find'' that amount by cutting in other areas, such as coffee, soda, and/or drinks out, brown bagging it versus eating in the school or company cafeteria, fast food trips, vending machine purchases, a few less items (or generic items) at the supermarket, convenience store, or drug store, use of coupons, cutting back on clothing and luxury items, entertainment and recreation expenses, reducing driving errands or carpooling to save gas, etc. The list can go on and on. In addition, if we eat healthy and take care of our bodies, we will be healthier and have less health care expenses, such as doctor visit co-pays and deductibles and over the counter and prescription medications.
So, if you are still working on those New Year's Resolutions, how about adding this one..... Examine your budget to cut back $1.50 per day of spending to use that amount to buy healthy foods to improve your healthy lifestyle this year! Try it. You might find that you will have more energy, feel better and have more money in your bank account! Shop the perimeter of the grocery store and cut back on the middle aisles. Chances are avoiding that bag of chips, pretzels or crackers and the soda or fruit juice and frozen meals will more than pay for the extra $1.50 per day you'll need to buy the fresh healthy stuff!


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