The price tag behind healthy eating: Reasons for the high prices

Infographic by Mckenna Dunn

The majority of people strive to live their healthiest life by eating foods that fuel their bodies in the best way. However, many times the expected high costs of healthy cooking and eating discourages people from having their ideal diet.

Each person has their own opinion of what is considered to be healthy and unhealthy. Many consider healthy eating to be cutting out processed foods and products with high sugar content.

“I consider it [a good diet] to be a good balance of low sugar foods mixed with a proper amount of vegetables, fruits and sources of protein,” health teacher Matthew Lattig said.

Individuals who eat healthily will often times also limit their intake of dairy and sugary drinks. According to Family Consumer Science teacher Alli Cochran, these two products, dairy and sugar, are constantly hidden within goods and have easy and healthy substitutes that are generally less costly.

Whole foods, such as fruit and vegetables, are repeatedly perceived to be much more expensive to consumers. However, by making clever choices, this price can be extensively decreased.

Cochran argues that healthy eating can be just as expensive as “normal” groceries. “The costs of cereal, crackers, snacks, ice cream, steak and pork are not any cheaper than fresh fruits and vegetables,” Cochran said.

On numerous occasions, people seem to choose the more convenient and less costly options. This well-known and familiar route in choosing unhealthy over healthy makes it hard to break the cycle and start spending an almost equal amount of money on more nutritious products.

By becoming educated on healthy foods, it can become easier to, “be aware of prices and sales. Most times, we choose to take the quickest, easiest way to get food and that usually is not the healthiest way,” Lattig said.

Additionally, people can quickly reduce the costs of healthy eating by creating a meal plan and thinking about the best ways to spend their money. Different deals on healthy foods and simple meal plans can help aid in overspending on groceries.

“I highly recommend any individual, no matter their age or stage of life, to spend two hours of the weekend to plan their meals for the week, go to the grocery store, prepare, then refrigerate or freeze their meals for the week. Breakfast and lunch are super easy to plan in advance,” Cochran said.

Preparing food at home further assists in lowering the large costs of nutritional and wholesome eating. By doing so, an individual knows exactly what is going into their meal and it is much cheaper than going out to eat.

“Cooking saves money. Anytime you cook at home, your food is healthier and cheaper. Frozen vegetables are my go to! One bag is $1! I keep a stock of them in my freezer and any time I need a healthy side dish or snack, I throw a bag in the microwave and five minutes later, voila!” Cochran said.

Many people believe that the supposed costs of eating healthy is worth the benefits it brings. By eating healthy and exercising, many health issues can be avoided and the rates are highly reduced.

“Investing in your food now will prevent lifelong health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, obesity, cancer and strokes. Health concerns get very expensive very quickly with doctors’ visits and medications. It would be much wiser to just take care of your body through healthy eating and exercise to greatly minimize the chances of health problems in your future,” Cochran said.

Eating healthily also helps people to feel much more energized and can help improve sleep and lessen breakouts. The numerous benefits seem to outweigh the cost of healthy foods because of the satisfaction it brings.

Regardless if one believes eating healthy costs more or less, it ultimately takes more effort to find healthier options and live a healthy lifestyle. By taking certain actions to find nutritious products, this transition can become easy and a part of everyday life.


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