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I don't understand why people think healthy food is more expensive


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When I think of "healthy" food I think of fresh fruit & vegetables, whole grains (like rice & bulgur), lean meats, and dairy.  None of these are even close to as expensive as processed junk foods.  When people talk about expensive "health" foods are they just referring to the processed, pre-packaged things like Lean Cuisine and the sort.  Or do these people live in some sort of alternate reality from the world I live in . 

Where I am, a 5 lb. bag or brown rice only costs $3 and can make a ton of servings; for $3 I can 2 or 3 apples; I get 2 big crowns of fresh broccoli for about $3 and the list goes.  That's not really too expensive.
86 Replies (last)
It IS more expensive. A pint of blueberries costs more than a box of Kraft Macaroni and cheese.
It's ridiculous the way people kid themselves.
It's ridiculous that people waste their money on stupid stuff and then complain that they can only afford to eat junk. I can't afford some broccoli, but I have an iphone and designer clothes.. What a joke!

Also, fast food isn't cheap. A value meal is $7. If you got off your tush and went to a store, you could buy your meals for a lot less.

A box of pasta is a dollar. Buy some veggies for anoer two dollars and you have a few meals. Te price per meal is cheaper than a box of Kraft s***

Veggies such as potatoes, carrots and onions are cheap. Salad type vegetables and fruit are not.

My partner and I go through a lot of fruit each week. Over the course of the year, we've stopped buying muesli bars, sweets and processed snacks and replaced it with fruit. Our grocery bill has since increased.

I agree that cooking a healthy meal from scratch is cheaper then buying a value meal at a fast food place. But we rarely ate out during the week to begin with. The biggest change for us is replacing processed snacks with fruit and veg and including more veggies into our meals.

It doesn't matter for us, I enjoy eating healthy and feel much better for it. I think its worth the investment.

costco does save alot but hmart in my area(and magruders) beat all. raspberries for one dollar, one dollar per lb for strawberries; everything is basically that cheap produce wise. so its actually cheaper in my area if you shop at hmart
Smashley, I get off my butt and go to the store. I have an iPhone and designer clothes and I still pay $6 for my organic blueberries. But the numbers don't lie. You suggest buying a bag of pasta and adding $2. to that for a healthy meal. Great! But you know what that would give you? A meal that costs more than a box of Mac and Cheese, which incidentally, some people serve to their families as dinner. So thanks for proving my point.

Ummm because it is. lmao

Original Post by lanitanail:

Smashley, I get off my butt and go to the store. I have an iPhone and designer clothes and I still pay $6 for my organic blueberries. But the numbers don't lie. You suggest buying a bag of pasta and adding $2. to that for a healthy meal. Great! But you know what that would give you? A meal that costs more than a box of Mac and Cheese, which incidentally, some people serve to their families as dinner. So thanks for proving my point.

People who serve that **** to their families are idiots, which was my point.  It costs what $1.50 for a box of Kraft.  $3 to have enough for a meal for a whole family.  $3 to feed your family real food.  Even if it costs them $4, they could just pull a dollar from somewhere else.  

That's cool. But the OP didn't understand why people think healthier food is more expensive. And the answer to that question is "because it is". People's motives and excuses are not in question here.
#70  
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I think it all comes down to what you are able to spend, how you think about it and how many people you have to feed and the amount of time you have. For some people they only shop for themselves so it's easy to pick out what they want an find health food in cheap ways, like the farmers market. but for a mother or a low budget person it's not so easy. Not everyone has health stores close by with cheaper fruits and the main stream stores do rack up those price (at least by us). So not every one can take a whole day shopping to drive somewhere for a discount, never less the gas. Also when you have more people in your house they usually don't all like the same things, buying a whole bunch of fruit can be costly if it doesn't get eaten. Then not everyone has time in the day to sit down and pre package foods or cut apples and cook a full meal, for some they are always on the go. It then becomes easy to pick unhealthy snack. I do believe eating unhealthy is more costly once you factor in weight and health of your body, but people alway trade of short run gains for long term losses. It's human nature. The argument of healthy food costing to much has been an economical debate for a while and there are many statistics and different points on both sides of the argument that should be looked at.

I don't eat organic or free-range food. I do eat some wholegrains and some fruit, but not a lot. But I do have a healthy diet, and it's cheap. A healthy diet means less saturated fat, less sugar, and less salt. It also means more vegetables or more fruit. Frozen vegetables are cheap and convenient and can be bought from any supermarket. There is no nutrient that I know of that is found in fruit but not in vegetables. So as long as you're getting your vegetables it doesn't matter too much if you're not getting much fruit. Having said that pineapples in my local street market are 60p each or 2 for £1, and mangoes are 50p.

So you don't need fruit, especially not organic blueberries, to be healthy. Rice costs 40p for a kilo at Lidl, Aldi, Tesco and Sainsbury's. Pasta is not much more. I know that to make rice or pasta palatable you need to spend a bit more money, but you don't need to spend much. And it doesn't have to take up too much time.

Last night I had pasta and I put some tomato puree on it and a small amount of sundried tomato and herb puree. It tasted good, was cheap, was easy to make and took little time.

 

Original Post by myworldxmyway:

My foods costs have gone up by $70 a month eating healthier. The fruit is what kills me and greek yogurt. Apples here cost SO DANG MUCH. and I eat them everyday. Apples are usually $2 a lb

I have experienced the same situation with the increase in food costs. I know a lot of people are using pasta or rice as examples, but I don't in any way think pasta is healthy and should be consumed sparingly. Same thing with rice, I don't consider it healthy and it should also be used sparingly. I think a lot of people's opinion of what the term 'healthy' means is different. I would never consider a bowl of cheerios and skim milk healthy, for example, but some people do.

I now buy raw honey because it has health benefits where as eating Grade A Fancy is just like consuming sugar, as in it is just a sweetner with no health benefit. Raw honey is a minimum of $9 a pound out here and Grade A Fancy is about $2 a pound.

Being on a 1200 calorie diet and eating what I consider healthy (meat, vegetables, fruits, oats, and rice) provides me with a large volume of food compared to eating a 1200 calorie processed food diet.

Original Post by bluffythefoodslayer:

Original Post by myworldxmyway:

My foods costs have gone up by $70 a month eating healthier. The fruit is what kills me and greek yogurt. Apples here cost SO DANG MUCH. and I eat them everyday. Apples are usually $2 a lb

I have experienced the same situation with the increase in food costs. I know a lot of people are using pasta or rice as examples, but I don't in any way think pasta is healthy and should be consumed sparingly. Same thing with rice, I don't consider it healthy and it should also be used sparingly. I think a lot of people's opinion of what the term 'healthy' means is different. I would never consider a bowl of cheerios and skim milk healthy, for example, but some people do.

I now buy raw honey because it has health benefits where as eating Grade A Fancy is just like consuming sugar, as in it is just a sweetner with no health benefit. Raw honey is a minimum of $9 a pound out here and Grade A Fancy is about $2 a pound.

Being on a 1200 calorie diet and eating what I consider healthy (meat, vegetables, fruits, oats, and rice) provides me with a large volume of food compared to eating a 1200 calorie processed food diet.

Well madame, pasta may not be "healthy", but it most definitely is not unhealthy. I eat a lb or more of pasta a day and have no health issues. People all over the world eat diets rich in grains (pasta, rice, etc) and have very healthy lives.

So please educate yourself.

Also, eating 1,200 calories is not healthy.

Original Post by lanitanail:

Smashley, I get off my butt and go to the store. I have an iPhone and designer clothes and I still pay $6 for my organic blueberries. But the numbers don't lie. You suggest buying a bag of pasta and adding $2. to that for a healthy meal. Great! But you know what that would give you? A meal that costs more than a box of Mac and Cheese, which incidentally, some people serve to their families as dinner. So thanks for proving my point.


I would say many people serve something like a box of mac and cheese for dinner. I used to be one of those and that's how I grew up. I thought it was OK, but it wasn't.

Everyone's financial situation is different. I don't have an iphone, designer clothes, etc..I am single with 2 kids, a mortgage, 2 dogs, cat, full time job and both my kids have health issues. I spend about $800 a month between insurance, medications and copays just on medical alone. Then there's daycare costs too (ouch!!). If I were single or in a different situation w/ my kids, I make enough money that I'd be living large. I have my MBA and a nice career, yet I still shop at thrift stores, aldi's, craigslist, etc...

I have made cut backs in order to eat healthy because I think it needs to be a priority for my family and that is not related to weight loss. The additional cost hurts. I don't think eating a butt load of rice and pasta is healthy at all. Rice is better than pasta, but still, it should be a small portion of your meal (like 1/2 cup) and not the main part of your meal, IMO. I am finding a way to make it work. Now that I'm about 6 months in (not losing weight, but the transition to healthy foods), I can work more on finding a way to reduce the cost of it.

It is hard to eat healthy. It means shopping a minimum of one time a week. That doesn't sound too hard, but again, we are not all in the same situation.

I think the biggest issue here is the difference in opinion about what is healthy and unhealthy. I don't think frozen vegetables are ideal, but they are a good alternative to fresh.

Original Post by armandounc:

Original Post by bluffythefoodslayer:

Original Post by myworldxmyway:

My foods costs have gone up by $70 a month eating healthier. The fruit is what kills me and greek yogurt. Apples here cost SO DANG MUCH. and I eat them everyday. Apples are usually $2 a lb

I have experienced the same situation with the increase in food costs. I know a lot of people are using pasta or rice as examples, but I don't in any way think pasta is healthy and should be consumed sparingly. Same thing with rice, I don't consider it healthy and it should also be used sparingly. I think a lot of people's opinion of what the term 'healthy' means is different. I would never consider a bowl of cheerios and skim milk healthy, for example, but some people do.

I now buy raw honey because it has health benefits where as eating Grade A Fancy is just like consuming sugar, as in it is just a sweetner with no health benefit. Raw honey is a minimum of $9 a pound out here and Grade A Fancy is about $2 a pound.

Being on a 1200 calorie diet and eating what I consider healthy (meat, vegetables, fruits, oats, and rice) provides me with a large volume of food compared to eating a 1200 calorie processed food diet.

Well madame, pasta may not be "healthy", but it most definitely is not unhealthy. I eat a lb or more of pasta a day and have no health issues. People all over the world eat diets rich in grains (pasta, rice, etc) and have very healthy lives.

So please educate yourself.

Also, eating 1,200 calories is not healthy.


My doctor told me to go on a 1200 calorie diet when my A1C came back at 5.2. I am 5'1" tall, 160 lbs and sedentary because I am physically unable to exercise due to neuromas on the nerves in my foot. I just had surgery on my left foot to remove one and will do the right foot within the next 6 months. After recovery from my next surgery I will be able to exercise. My burn rate is 1600 calories, so 1200 gives me a 400 cal deficit per day. It is healthy for me and my situation.

Educate yourself. Pasta is 'enriched' which means vitamins are added to it in order to make it a 'valuable' food source. Your body does not process additive vitamins (whether it's a pill or from a food) the same way it processes vitamins from whole food. Pasta does not contain any trace minerals. It is all processed carbs which is bad for insulin levels. Eating a pound of pasta per day may not have caused you health problems so far, but it will eventually.

Contrary to whatever it is you have heard, even asian countries do not consume large amounts of rice. It is a very small side dish at lunch and/or dinner. About half a cup. Their daily meal is nothing like the chinese food you order over here in the USA.

I don't know of any culture that consumes massive amounts of pasta and have not experienced the health issues related to that sort of diet.

#76  
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I know how expensive it can be to feed a family...I have 4 boys who are eating us out of house and home!! I'm terrified for when they get older and eat even more! We buy fresh veggies and fruits at least 2 times a week because my boys love to snack on fruits. One way we save some money is with our garden...the boys love growing some of our own veggies and it saves us a bunch during a good harvest! Another thing that helps us save is buying frozen fruits and veggies when on sale. That way we have yummy food when we can't get it fresh.

It's real easy for people WITH money to talk crap about people WITHOUT it. If you're spending $200 a week on groceries, then you are WAY outta my league!!! I have a small family of 3 and I spend about $550 a month (up from $250 a couple months ago, 'cause my hubby finally got employed.) Try feeding a family of 3 on $250 a month and then tell me about how eating healthy is not more expensive! I promise you, you can't.

I cook at home 98% of the time and make almost everything from scratch. We eat out less than 2x's a month(including fast food). Fresh Fruit IS NOT CHEAP, and frozen ones don't provide variety at all (Strawberries, peaches, and mixed blueberries, blackberries and raspberries). Fresh Veggies are not cheap, and anyone who says eating healthy is cost effective has never had to stand in the grocery store and decide whether getting the healthy, better version of something, that is 3 or 4 times more expensive than the non healthy version, is really worth giving up additional foods..

See for poor people if they only buy healthy foods, it wont last, they wont be able to get enough to feed their families for the time period allotted, and SOME food is always better than NO food, healthy or not! The facts remain that healthy foods ARE more expensive, Period, you can't argue that they are not, and if you do then you are ignorant of the truth and your opinion doesn't count in that case.

I make everything from scratch, even my spaghetti sauces.. I bake bread as often as I can, and refuse to buy prepackaged meals, but the facts still remain that a chicken breast is generally more expensive than a chicken thigh.

~Belle

I go to farmers markets + bulk food stores.  In college, I bought food collectively with my friends and between the 15 of us, we spend $300/week grocery shopping.  What did we get, fresh fruits + vegetables (sometimes frozen veggies too), fresh+ frozen meat, canned tuna + beans, whole wheat bread, pasta, milk, eggs, cheese, butter, olive oil, etc.  

It came down to about $1/meal/person, not exactly the rich person's budget

Was it boring?  A little monotonous at times, but we all ate real food for a price we could afford.  

If you have lots of money, it's of course easier to go to whole foods every week, but even if you don't, you can be resourceful.  Eating real food doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg.  Sometimes, you have to plan.

Sure, but you are making all kinds of assumptions about people you don't even know! You can't possibly understand what it's like to live like that, because you have never tried to. Also, buying in bulk is MUCH cheaper so feeding 15 people is actually cheaper per person than feeding 3-5 people. Not exactly a correct comparison.  You assume that these peope all have iphones and designer clothes, but guess what, they don't have those things either!

And of course putting more effort into your food does make it cheaper, but tell that to the people who have to get up at 3am, walk to a bus stop, ride the bus for an hour or two to get to their minimum wage job, work until 5 or 6, take the bus home, and now it's 7-8pm, and everyone is hungry, what are you going to make? A box of mac and cheese or a home made lasagna? I guarantee you'll got for the box of Mac and cheese.

 Poor people don't have money, and they don't have time. So they get the shaft and end up stuck with the unhealthiest diets because they don't share the same luxury that you enjoy, and you have the nerve to act like THEY are the problem? You need to take a sociology class.

~Belle

It is easier to feed more people than fewer people, but poor people know other poor people.  They could do a food share, especially a neighborhood based one, so they don't have to travel very far..   Then, they'd only need time to buy food once a month.

Even if they didn't, they could buy frozen food, buy fresh food and freeze it themselves  Poor people have no time?  How many of them work 7 days a week all day?  If they can find time to make babies, they can find time to get to a store.

 If they can go to one store and buy krafts from a box, they could go to a different store and buy a giant bag of frozen broccoli. They could also buy condoms at that store and wait until they have money to procreate.

My parents waited until they had jobs to have me.  It's not rocket science.  

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