People often say to me:
"I would eat healthy food everyday...but its just too expensive to keep up!"
It has long been an accepted statement that HEALTHY foods are expensive while the CHEAPEST foods are considered unhealthy.
Fast food, cookies, packaged chips and 'junk food' has been considered to be the cheaper diet option simply because they fill you up on less. Eat a Hamburger King combo meal for $8 and you just might walk away feeling satisfied...or not.
While walk into Whole Foods and get one giant salad bar bowl for $8 and you may think...well I will be hungry later and need to eat again.
The fact is that most of these 'cheap' foods may fill you up at first, but you are consuming more saturated fat, more chemicals, more processed ingredients and more empty calories. Therefore while these foods may cost less, the health benefit per penny is ZILCH! You are paying for a quick fix to your hunger craving--not a long term healthy, life-giving, energy producing, body healing meal!
Lets compare a few basics...
An apple at Trader Joe's can cost 0.39 cents (non-organic, medium fuji)
An apple at Whole Foods has in the past cost me up to $2.50. (organic fuji apple, large)
A subscription to, say Organic Avenue (a raw food diet program in NYC), for five days of a juice and raw food fat can cost up to $350--depending if you are a member, and $60 for the refundable bottle deposits. (don't lose those bottles!)
That's $70 a day for a L.O.V.E fast...raw foods and juices.
A 5 day diet of nothing but fast food may cost you around $30-35/day....around $160 for five days..
$350 vs $160 would certainly add up over a year...
$25,550 vs $8320
That is a hefty 17k difference.....a luxury trip to Europe for four, a shopping spree at PRADA, 100 True Religion Jeans, the tasting menu at Per Se in NYC--for 75 people. A small new car.....a few classes of tuition at Harvard...you get the idea...
Now here's where my point comes in...its true that you can end up spending a lot on healthy foods... but truthfully, HEALTHY FOODS such as fresh fruits, veggies, grains and breads are QUITE CHEAP! You can purchase a GIANT bag of brown rice for a few dollars, a bag of organic oranges at Trader Joe's is also a few dollars. A fresh head of romaine lettuce , also a few bucks! A giant bag of raw cashews, around $4-$7. (A full week of high quality snacking)
What most people end up paying for when they TRY to go cold feet "totally healthy" is the cost of prepared foods.
A very small bag of snack nuts at whole foods---complete with fancy packaging could cost you $2.50. While that takeout vegan restaurant that everyone LOVES charges $7-$15 for a salad! The varying costs of healthy foods is great--it all depends on where you are shopping, how much time you are willing to commit and how much research you have done.
My question to you: Lets say you HAD to choose between the $22,000 meal plan for fresh raw healthy foods for a year versus $8,000 for fast food.
.....I HOPE you would choose the healthy diet. I hope that in the end , you understand that there should be no cost for putting healthy foods into your body. What you are paying for is quality and value and length of life. These factors should be priceless.
But not everyone wants to pay $26,000 on raw juice and foods. So you DO have to ....DO YOUR SHOPPING RESEARCH...
....but in the end, fresh health foods can be quite cheap. A vegetarian diet can be one of the cheapest diets around! Rice, veggies, breads, soy protein, milks and cheese, nuts, pasta, olive oil, all these foods are cheaper per ounce than say meat and fish.
People are BUSY. People have LIVES. Families take a lot of energy. And ordering a pizza is easy and fast. Preparing a delicious three course meal after a long day is not so easy. But sometimes, you just have to do it. And other times, you just have to pay more for prepared healthy food options.
....because there will always be a time when you have paid WAY TOO MUCH MONEY for a very poor quality meal--lots of fried foods, greasy items, high calorie desserts, and more....
...paying TOO MUCH for UNHEALTHY foods is THE WORST.
...so why not play it safe and try sticking to foods that feed your soul, your life, your body an your mind.
No matter what the end price, healthy foods will never leave you short changed on a zestful life.
...You will get what you pay for when it comes to high quality healthy foods. I can't always say the same for unhealthy options. (But that isn't to say that a $.99 cent cheeseburger isn't getting what you are paying for...)
Check out www.lunchboxbunch.com for healthy kids recipes that don't break your budget and are heavy on nutrition!
RESPONSE TO NY POST ARTICLE REGARDING IN-STORE CALORIE MENU LAWS IN NYC
NY POST ARTICLE: READ CALORIE COUNT AND WEEP
"Happy Meals are marketed to children between the ages
of 3 and 9. A Happy Meal with a cheeseburger, small
fries and Sprite totals 670 calories, with 26 grams of
fat and 4.5 grams of trans fat" -Los Angeles Times,
May 9, 2006
I greatly enjoyed reading your article in the NY Post
this morning regarding the new menu calorie listings.
So often we are reminded as adults to the poor calorie
choices our favorite restaurants make available to us.
And we, as educated adults, often choose unhealthy
calorie options. However, I am greatly concerned
with the role that children play in this issue.
Children may not be fully aware of the calorie/health
facts of the foods they eat when dining out with
adults. (Moreover, perhaps they have not been taught
to CARE). With child obesity rates soaring at their
highest ever in recorded history, we must take a
closer look at how these new menu laws effect
I would love to see you write a follow-up article
which looks at how this new menu law effects children.
What are the calorie counts of the 'kids menu' items.
And are these even close to being healthy choices for
I am the creator of a brand called THE LUNCHBOX BUNCH,
a healthy kids brand of fruit and veggie characters.
I received my degree in Health Promotion from American
University and have chosen to devote my career to
helping kids make healthy eating choices.
I would love to provide any
commentary on this issue, if you desire.
Thank you again for your article, and please keep
President The Lunchbox Bunch