Have you ever heard the puzzling question: ‘Why is healthy food so expensive?’ Research shows that healthy foods are somewhat costlier than junk or preservative-laden food. And even in some cases or according to a meta-analysis, it was discovered that eating unhealthy food is approximately $1.50 a day cheaper than a healthy one.
And according to the United States Department of Agriculture, an average family of 4 spends from $569 to $1298 on food at home in February 2020. Of course, these estimates do not include the usually high cost of eating out, which is also a reality for many families in America.
But what do these statistics imply? Do they mean that you should make better choices when it comes to junk food vs. healthy food? Or should you only make unhealthy food choices anytime you visit the grocery?
In this article, you will find answers to the questions above. When you practice financial discipline and carry out research, you will find that stretching your healthy-eating budget or enjoy far healthier foods will be much better for your overall health.
Junk Food vs. Healthy Food
The past decade has seen an increase in media attention on healthy diets. And lots of stories about the overall cost of healthy eating continues to be on the rise. All these have significantly influenced the public perception of junk food vs. healthy food.
As mentioned earlier, several studies have emerged, comparing the price – per calorie – of foods seem to suggest that junk food are generally cheaper. However, the whole story is not usually revealed as the metrics used to measure cost are vitally important.
The Need to Change Habits
Expanding waistlines has been a cause for public health concern as the rate of obesity has significantly tripled. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), over 1.9 billion individuals or adults are presently overweight. And more than 650 million are obese. Eating unhealthy food has contributed massively to this outcome.
Why People Think Healthy Food is So Expensive
Make no mistake about it: many people know and understand the benefits of healthy diets. They know healthy diets have a significant impact on the quality of life and health. Nevertheless, despite understanding these benefits, many adults keep making food choices.
Some erroneously believe that eating healthy food takes too much time and effort. Some even say there is nothing like the best healthy fast food. But the truth is that there are lots of healthy meal options that are easy and quick.
Asides the notion about healthy food mentioned earlier, many people don’t bother to get started on more nutritious diets. And the junk food they consume is not as nourishing as healthy food.
The problem, perhaps, is not that healthy food is expensive. The issue could be that sugary, hyper-processed, additive-laden, and salty food is incredibly cheap. And if you look at it from a broader perspective, eating healthy could mean much lower health care costs far down the road. In other words, eating healthy food could be a money-saver after all.
Healthy food is considered expensive since it costs a lot more to produce, store, and display than junk food. And of course, it is far less subsidized for governments.
Many unhealthy foods are sold in colorful display boxes while healthy foods like broccoli languish on the shelves. And most junk food does not get stale for a very long time. But broccoli can quickly get spoiled within a week.
For this reason, it is far easier to purchase junk food in bulk than to buy broccoli in bulk.
Moreover, healthy foods are not likely to easily get subsidized by the United States government. The USDA provides billions of subsidies for soybeans and grains which are often used in producing junk food. Only very few subsidies are offered to vegetables and fruits.
And for this reason, producers of vegetables and fruits may have to charge customers the whole nine yards – i.e. the full cost – of production. However, junk food processors only have to recover some of their costs.
Why It is Wrong to Say Healthy Food is Expensive
Be that as it may, it is very wrong to say healthy food is costly. Healthy foods are quite economical, relative to the cost of medical care and attention for chronic diseases such as diabetes, etc. If you spend a single day in a hospital, you will end up spending every dime you saved by relying on or buying cheap and unhealthy junk food.
Therefore, it is penny-wise, pound-foolish to see and believe that healthy food is pretty expensive. Moreover, more nutritious foods are much easier to grow in a school or community garden or even a backyard than junk foods. Gardening has made the cost of healthy food incredibly low.
Healthy Lunch Ideas for Weight Loss
Now that you know about junk food vs. healthy food, here are some quick and healthy lunch ideas for weight loss:
- Chicken, watercress, mustard, and roasted capsicum sandwich.
- Kale salad along with avocado and salmon.
- Broccoli salad and chopped chicken.
- Green smoothie bowl.
- Healthy lunchbox frittata.
- Yogurt parfait.
- Brussels sprout salad with grilled chicken.
These are the best healthy fast foods today, and most can be whipped up within minutes.
Tips to Follow When Shopping
The following shopping tricks will help you keep the costs of healthy foods down:
- Only purchase seasonal produce as out-of-season veggies and fruits cost a lot more.
- Always write out a shopping list of every ingredient you need to cook healthy meals. This will help you avoid spending much more on impulse buys whenever you are at the grocery store.
- Don’t buy pre-cut veggies and fruits because they cost more. Make sure you buy them whole so that you can prep them at home yourself.
- Look for coupons online or in print of healthier options. Don’t forget to check the manufacturer’s site for special deals and coupons.
- Always plan your meals. Go for recipes based on seasonal produce and healthy foods that are on sale.
- Go for meatless options like veggies, fruits, legumes, and considerably cheaper grains.
- Whenever you opt for meat, calculate precisely how much meat you need. This should be based on 4-5 ounces per serving.
- Tomato sauce and salad dressings are cheaper to make at home.
By now, you know the right answer to the question: why is healthy food so expensive? The best healthy fast food and healthy lunch ideas for weight loss have a profound impact on the quality of your life and health.
And it is sincerely believed that you no longer harbor the thought healthy food is costlier than junk food.