Eat Healthy on A Budget, How Much More Does It Cost You?
We’ve discussed at length how important it is to fill your diet with healthy foods. We’ve gone on and on about the benefits to consuming superfoods. We’ve revealed how certain vitamins can benefit you and how certain processed foods can hurt you. But for many, to eat healthy on a budget is not always easy–especially for lower socioeconomic groups.
Reasons to Eat Healthy on A Budget
As the rate of obesity increases, many experts have revealed that one of the largest barriers to eat healthy on a budget is cost. Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health have put a dollar amount on the price of healthy eating. By reviewing 27 studies on the cost of healthy vs. unhealthy foods, they have successfully estimated the daily cost of eating better. “Conventional wisdom has been that healthier foods cost more, but it’s never been clear if that’s actually true or exactly how much more healthier foods might cost,” said lead study author Mayuree Rao. “We found that the healthiest diets cost about $1.50 more per day, and that’s less than we might have expected.”
Researchers looking at studies on ‘eat healthy on a budget’ done after 2000 from ten different countries that analyzed healthy and unhealthy versions of certain foods, along with healthy and unhealthy diet patterns. The researchers evaluated the prices based on a specific food’s price per serving, as well as the price per 200 calories of that food item. They evaluated the diet patterns based on the price per day (three meals’ worth) and the price per 2,000 calories – the FDA’s standard daily intake recommendation for adults.
Some food groups showed more of a difference in price than others. Meat had the highest price difference: healthier versions cost 29 cents more per serving on average than the less healthy option. Grains, snacks and dairy, however, showed minimal price differences between healthier and unhealthier versions. On a broader scope, the healthiest diets appear to cost consumers about $1.50 more per day than the unhealthiest diets. This means consumers who eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, pay about $1.50 more per day than those who eat a diet made up mostly of processed foods.
“Our aim… was not to evaluate whether one specific product costs more than another, but whether healthier foods in a broad class of foods cost more, on average, than less healthy foods in the same broad class,” the study authors write. So go for eat healthy food on a budget.