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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Eating Healthy Costs Too Much?

The number one excuse I hear for why a person "can't" eat healthy is that "eating healthy costs too much."  "Mike, I can't buy organic (whiny voice)... It's too expensive!"  We've even seen this theory highlighted in documentaries...



Earlier in the above documentary they calculated out a meal this family purchased at a fast food restaurant.

  • 5 Cheesburgers  $5.00
  • 2 Chicken Sandwiches $2.00
  • 2 Small Sprites $2.00
  • 1 Large Dr. Pepper $1.60
  • Subtotal: $10.60
  • Tax: $0.88
  • Total Cost: $11.48
Lets do some more math.  For this example we will assume a few things...
  1. This family eats three meals a day.
  2. This family spends an average of $10 a meal (I think this number is fair.  I am sure some meals cost a little less and some a little more)
  3. This family is spending $30 a day on food
I'm not going to ask this family to eat organic, I am simply going to ask them to eat healthier.  I will highlight one day's worth of meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner...

Meal 1:  1 Dozen Eggs $1.39 (3 eggs per person), Grapefruit 4/$5.00 (1 grapefruit/ person)
Total Meal Cost = $6.39

Meal 2:  40oz. Bag Mixed Vegetables  $2.19, Chicken Breast $1.99/lb (1/3 total pack for this meal) $4, 32oz. Strawberries $3.49 (divided between family)
Total Meal Cost = $9.68

Meal 3:  1lb Broccoli $0.99/lb, 2lb $1.98,  1lb Ground Beef $3.49 (.25lb/person), Collard Greens 1.99/bunch1lb onion $0.99, Olive Oil $4.79/ bottle (couple tablespoons for cooking)
Total Meal Cost = $9.00

Total Cost For Day = $25.07

Now if my math is right, I just saved this family $5. 

    10 comments:

    I think people get confused with cheaper and convenience. and then they get convenience confused and being lazy.

    That's the real problem, people are lazy! Then they find an excuse for why they are lazy... "I don't have time to cook"

    Does the math work out even if you aren't talking about fast food 3 times a day? I think most people understand they can go healthier quite easily if they dont want to be lazy. The expense comes in when you go completely organic.

    Apples to apples, organic is more expensive than non-organic. The point is that you can make better choices and eat healthier with little to no extra cost. As long as you do some research, plan ahead and make smart choices.

    I've noticed I have spent less total money on food sense I began eating organic foods. Mostly because I don't eat out as much, which is a good thing for my health and my wallet!

    A true comparison would be per-calorie cost. I bet a calorie from hot dogs or chips is much cheaper than a calorie from baby spinich or tofu.

    This is why we are the richest country yet we spend the least on food. The family is complaining that the broccoli and lettuce is too expensive, but they're not even considering that the pound of broccoli for $1.29 will feed the whole family, and that entire head of lettuce may even last them a week. It's laziness mixed with ignorance.

    @Drake Fast food is definitely cheaper per calorie. The problem is the type of calories. What is more nutrient dense, a Grapefruit or a fast food hamburger? The grapefruit has more vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. The grapefruit will help fight off disease and prevent health problems later in life, which will save more money in the future (medications). The fast food will do the opposite. The fast food will cause cancer, diabetes and heart disease, which will cost even more money in the future.

    I would also argue the family in the video isn't exactly starving. They can afford to cut some calories!

    Umm, Chuck's right here. Some of us don't eat a lot of organic, but that doesn't mean we replace it with fast food. And then look at the reasons you're buying organic; if environmental footprint has anything to do with your purchasing decision, you need to at least double those prices to get local stuff, especially with a season that started this late.

    On another note, "fat" is in the captcha I got with this. Win.

    Mike, I told you that you'd confuse people when you mentioned "organic" - I don't think Mike is saying people who don't eat organic, eat fast food. He's saying that he hears "organic is too expensive" as an excuse not to eat healthy, when we can all agree that eating ANY sort of whole, natural food, organic or regular is better than fast food. The point here is that if you take the time to find whole foods and prepare at home, it's often LESS costly, more nutritional and down the road you're less apt to have health problems. "Organic" and "local" no doubt better, but when it comes down to it just a regular old veggie or fruit grown at a regular old farm in california is better than a processed "food stuff" from a burger joint

    Well said Andrea... Sometimes (a lot of times) I need my wife to clarify for me :) I am not necessarily pushing organic foods on anybody, although I do believe they are much healthier and more nutritionally dense. The point I am trying to get across is the excuses. Using expense as an excuse is Bull Sh*t.

    @Josh Environmental footprint is very low on my list for why I eat organic. My reasons are very selfish. I believe some organic foods are more nutritionally dense, like grass fed beef compared to grain fed. I also do not want to ingest some of the chemicals found on some non-organic foods, like pesticides found on strawberries. I think the little extra money spent on these products is well spent. The environmental factor is simply a positive byproduct of my choices.

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