This is a blog share with Jade, who published my post on making the most of medical appointments on her website Jade Emily. She’s written a great article on healthy eating and the common belief that it’s more expensive. Enjoy! 🙂
Why people think eating healthy is more expensive
Most people understand the benefits of a healthy diet. We know that it has an impact on our health and quality of life. Even with an understanding of the benefits, many people still make unhealthy food choices. Many people believe that eating healthy takes a lot of time and effort, but you can find plenty of healthy meal options that are quick and easy.
They think it will be too expensive
Beyond thinking that eating healthy is more work, most people never get started on a more nutritious diet because they believe that it is just too expensive. A shopper might look at the price of one specific health-food option and think that they just can’t afford a better diet. This common perception is one of the greatest barriers to eating well.
What many people do not realize is that a healthy diet is not that much more expensive than eating lower-quality foods. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health did a meta-analysis of past research and found that a healthy diet is not as expensive as you may think. When considering the cost per day, it turns out that a healthy diet would only cost the average person about an extra $1.50 per day.
That does mean that having a diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables will cost you more, but it is not the dramatic increase in cost that most people would expect. So if eating healthy is not that much more expensive, then why do so many people believe that they can’t afford a better diet? The answer to this question comes down to perception.
Most people simply believe that healthy foods cost too much for them to afford. Much of this perception is formed by our view of health-food brands. Many of the big-name health-food brands do cost considerably more than their less healthy big-name counterparts. While it is true that many of these brand-name health foods do cost more, you do not need to buy them to have a healthy diet.
Many people also tend to think about the inflated prices at health-food stores when they think about healthy eating. A health-food store can be a convenient place to shop if you like eating healthy, but the high prices will cause many shoppers to think twice. The good news is that you do not need to shop at an expensive health-food store to eat healthy. The local supermarket will offer more plenty of options for a person that wants to improve their diet.
Consumers have a tendency to believe that healthy food costs more, and in the reverse, people also tend to believe that the price can indicate the overall quality of the food. This association between health food and high prices has even been demonstrated in research. Findings from a group of studies that were published in the Journal of Consumer Research showed that subjects estimated higher prices for the same food item when it was assigned a higher nutrition rating. On the other side, researchers were also able to demonstrate that subjects would assume that one food item was healthier than another based on it having a higher price.
On a per serving basis, healthier food does cost more, but probably not as much as you may think. However, there is also more to your grocery budget than the cost per serving. You also have to think about the number of servings that you may eat on a healthy or unhealthy diet. This is one consideration that could bring the cost down even more, and make eating healthy more affordable.
One of the problems with unhealthy food is that it does not nourish you as much as healthy food. A healthy diet will provide all of the necessary nutrition in three meals. On the other hand, an unhealthy diet is less likely to have all of the necessary nutrition in just three meals. This will result in more food cravings, and for most people, it leads to snacking between meals. A person that has a healthy diet is less likely to have these additional cravings, and that means that they going to eat fewer servings overall.
Even if healthy eating costs a little bit more, there is more to the cost of an unhealthy diet than you will see on receipts from the grocery store. Unhealthy food choices cost you more in your quality of life, and they will increase your healthcare costs in the future. Processed and sugary foods have been connected to myriad illnesses and health conditions. By making the short-term decision to save money by eating low-quality food, you increase your risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and more.
A healthy diet can be expensive, but it does not have to be. The problem that most people have with affording healthier food is that they do not take the time to make choices that are both healthy and cost-effective. A person needs to plan their meals ahead of time and comparison shop if they want to manage their grocery budget more effectively. Buy in-season produce to cut the cost of fruits and vegetables. Finally, go for value over convenience. Premade healthy foods are easy and convenient, but it costs less to buy the ingredients and prepare food at home.
[ This is a blog swap guest post and as such the ideas and opinions expressed are of the writer. ]