You might have looked at the title and thought: “Wait, what? Hasn’t everyone been talking about how eating and cooking whole foods at home is supposed to be cheaper?” Well, yes and no. According to researchers at the Harvard Public School of Health, it actually costs the average person $1.50 more a day than someone who has what is typically considered as an “unhealthy” diet.
Perhaps this is all old news to you. After buying $15 bags of chia seeds and $8 papayas (or any other exotic fruit, mind you), you have come to terms with the fact that living a nutritious life will ultimately mean making a huge investment. However, while many are lucky to be able to spend this kind of money at the grocery store (*cough* Whole Foods) and buy $12 juices, those of a lower income bracket must keep a closer eye to their finances and what they spend money on.
This all being said, it’s not as cut and dry as one might think. What really made a big impact in the higher costs is the huge price difference between types of meat. Healthier (i.e. leaner) cuts cost about 29 cents more per serving than lower quality options. In addition, people who eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables will also pay a larger sum than those who forgo their greens.
What will this all mean to you? Well, it depends. If you are someone who is on a money crunch, this should definitely not hinder you from living nutritiously. Buying food and fresh produce in bulk and batch cooking at home should save you money. What this study fails to mention is whether people went out to eat, cooked at home, what ingredients, etc. Try it out and track your finances yourself. You might see that eating whole foods and cooking from home is much cheaper than grabbing something to-go at a fast food joint for every meal and will definitely be cheaper than picking up raw kale salads at gourmet vegan restaurants that you can easily make at home.
In addition, if you need to save money, don’t go out buying all the crazy “superfoods” because you heard it is the “NEXT BIG THING”. Yes, we all love goji berries, acai bowls, and hemp seeds, but these are the kind of foods that truly add up money-wise. The thing is, they’re great and all, but they are not essential. Plenty of people have lived healthily and never even so much as tried maca, to be quite honest.
A great breakfast meal could be something as simple as eggs, spinach, 1/2 an avocado, and 1 slice of toast. You don’t need to make crazy concoctions all the time. This is what sometimes dissuades people from starting their healthy lifestyle. If you think it’s complicated and “fancy”, it’s not. Simplify!
If you still find that you are on a money crunch, then just make this decision: Is it worth it? Yes, you might spend a dollar or more a day, but this is an investment you are making on yourself. You will benefit from this in the long run, we promise.
How much would you spend on healthy eating?
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