TheBUZZ: Healthy eating puts a burden on your finances?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
A new study finds that eating healthy foods can cost an additional $380 dollars a year.
WHAT WE KNOW
With prices for everything on the rise, food dollars are stretched. To add to the problem, the economic hardships that are experienced by many families have made putting food on the table even more difficult.
A new study published in the Journal of Health Affairs* examined the economic impact of meeting the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 for adults in King County, Washington. The study suggests that increasing the amount of potassium in your diet would add $380 per year to the average consumer’s food costs! Meanwhile, each time consumers obtained 1% more of their daily calories from saturated fat and added sugar, their food costs significantly declined.
While calories from saturated fat and added sugar may be cheaper now, the detrimental effects of consuming large amounts of low-nutrient-dense and high-fat foods can lead to increased medical costs in the future. Therefore, eating healthy now can save you not only money but your health as well!
During these times of economic hardship, evaluate your shopping cart to see if you’re getting the most nutrition ‘bang’ for your buck. This means getting the most nutrition for the same amount of money. Fruits and vegetables are full of beneficial compounds that are essential in every diet and contrary to popular belief, fruits and vegetables are affordable!
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?
A recent study published by the Economic Research Service (a department of the USDA) found that in 2008, an adult on a 2,000 calorie diet could satisfy recommendations for vegetable and fruit consumption (based off of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010) at an average price of $2.00 to $2.50 per day.
Inadequate consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with an increased risk of many of the leading causes of death. A recent 2010 Gap Analysis estimates that low fruit and vegetable consumption alone is actually costing Americans $56 billion in health related costs—a 9% increase, on average, over each of the past 10 years!
Fruits and vegetables can be included on a budget. Careful planning and shopping, and an open mind will help juggling the food dollar.
Try these tips to make fruits and veggies more affordable …
- All forms—fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice—of fruits and veggies are nutritious for you. Survey the store or market and purchase the cheapest form of a certain fruit or vegetable.
- Try our 30 Ways in 30 Days: Menu a Day for complete menus that feed up to 4 for less than $10 (that’s hard to beat!).
- Plan Ahead! See our tips for shopping for fruits and veggies on a fixed budget!
- Shop in season! Buying fresh fruits and veggies in season is generally the cheapest time to buy them.
- Substitute plant sources of protein (beans, lentils, peas, etc.) for animal sources—a 1 lb bag of beans yield 6 cups cooked of beans for about $1.40 a bag!
While life is hectic sometimes, remember that a little bit of planning can go a long way—especially when dealing with your health! Try these quick-fix recipes for nights when you don’t have much time, and check out our meal planning tips!
*Monsivais, Pablo, A. Aggarwal, and A. Drewnowski. “Following Federal Guidelines to Increase Nutrient Consumption May Lead to Higher Food Costs for Consumers.” Health Affairs (2011); 30; 1471-1477.