I gave a nutrition and fitness talk last week and the question came up about the cost of eating healthy. I love to answer that question. The real question might be to ask, “What is the cost of not eating healthy?” I will let you think about that one to create meaning around that for yourself. For these purposes, I am going to focus on what I shared with this audience. That is to say that this statement in general, is a myth.
I shared the example of the cost of green beans as measured by cost per serving. To illustrate this point for you, I pulled the chart from a USDA resource. Green beans are a healthy and whole food. Let me show you how they measure.
Green beans—Average retail price per pound and per cup equivalent, 2013
Form Ave. retail price Size of a cup equivalent Ave. price/cup equiv.
Fresh $2.14 per lb. 0.276 lbs. $0.70
Frozen $1.67 per lb. 0.298 lbs. $0.55
In general, this cost is not more than processed foods, and green beans offer so much more nutritionally than what you might find in a packaged bar. Let’s say you want to have green beans, grilled chicken and farro for dinner tonight. Maybe even a small spinach salad to go with that. That may sound like a lot of food, but per serving, it makes a really healthy and cost efficient meal. Also, you can prepare your own dressings and marinades with olive oil and lemon, etc…
I estimate this meal to cost no more than $5.00-$6.00 per serving for a family of 4.
…and then you have leftover of spinach and farro leftover and possibly some leftover chicken that you can make tortilla soup with. The cost to prepare tortilla soup is about as much as two cans of chicken broth, a large can of whole tomatoes, celery, onion, avocado, some cheese if you have it, and some crumbled chips if you have them…so what do you think?….about $2 or $2.50 per serving? That is two meals for a family of four at $7 per person or $3.50 per person each meal.
The real cost is your time. You have to shop, plan and prepare foods, cook and clean up. The key to success for time, money and health savings is planning and prepping.
Luckily, grocery stores prep many fresh foods for us and for that we pay premium. If you find yourself throwing out fresh veggies that spent too much time in your fridge wilting, then it might be worth the extra penny to purchase the already prepped veggies. Another method, and the one that I adhere to is to “always be prepping”. When I come home from grocery shopping, I put most groceries away and immediately start cutting up or peeling fruit and veggies to have those ready and available for meals. I also start preparing my “go to” foods then.
A few thoughts on planning ad preparing cost efficient healthy meals for the busy person that you are:
Consider how much you spend on real food vs. packaged food and you may discover that it isn’t the real food that we are spending our money on.
© Health Inspires.
I had the privilege of seeing and hearing Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A., our 19th Surgeon General of the United States speak on March 3rd. For me, it was like waiting in line for my favorite sold out concert. It actually was sold out, I begged for tickets and that didn’t work. Then I found out I could go early and wait, while I hoped there would be an extra seat available. It worked out! He is America’s doctor, even though many of us thought that was Dr. Oz! I wanted to share three of his inspiring thoughts with you. Although this was a lectureship on childhood obesity, the words apply to all of us.
He is probably the first mind, body, spirit Surgeon General of the United States. His words bring people together and his thoughts are simple. I am grateful I was able to be there.
Having our needs met is a necessity. When our needs are not being met, we sometimes engage in less than healthy behaviors. We want to be well. That is to say that being well describes this buzz word “wellness” and wellness is being in a state of wellbeing, and wellbeing is when you are in good emotional and physical health, especially when supported by healthy lifestyle habits, including a healthy diet and exercise. Mastering your wellbeing takes practice, practice, practice every day. To master your wellbeing means that you make equally important your sense of purpose, life satisfaction, practice of gratitude, health, diet, and physical activity among other lifestyle habits.
The kindness I see and hear about on a daily basis in America is remarkable. The media might consider covering more of that. The kindness I see in our educators with our children, and with our nurses that give of themselves each day to the most vulnerable is heart warming. I like to focus on the kindness and good in the world. Many of us are care givers in various degrees. It might be in the form of nurturing a relationship, or helping a friend in need.
The big question is, are you caring for yourself and allowing time for you? We all have the same fundamental needs and buckets to fill. We are also different from each other and we fill our buckets in different ways and with different things. Do you know what goes in yours? If you do, fill them with constructive things. If you don’t know at the moment, focus on what is working in your life, keep practicing gratitude, spend some quiet time listening, and it will come to you. Dream big and take a step! That will fulfill the Surgeon General’s request of focusing on the mind, body and spirit. It will also fill you up.
My passion and purpose is helping people reach their full potential and master their wellbeing.
Disclosure: Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before beginning any diet or exercise program and ask whether you are healthy enough to engage in a diet and exercise program. Never disregard, avoid or delay in obtaining medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider concerning your overall health and wellness, including your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please contact a qualified health care professional immediately. It is your choice to follow the suggestions, opinions and advice given by a Health Inspires wellness coach.