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.
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.