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Does Eating Healthy Really Cost More?

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  • Does Eating Healthy Really Cost More?

    My husband and I have been focusing on healthy eating for a good two years now (with a slight decline in healthy foods more recently with relocating and some additional stress). Together we've lost around 180 pounds (between the two of us). A lot of people have asked us for tips on eating healthy while staying on a budget, claiming the unhealthy food is cheaper. However, when I go into the store, fresh fruit and veggies are super affordable. Chicken breast is cheap (though other lean cuts and fish can be more expensive). I find we spend way more when we are eating unhealthy because we wind up eating out, buying bread, ice cream, and other things we really just don't need.

    What are your thoughts on this? Is it really cheaper to eat unhealthy foods?

  • #2
    This is such a common myth. I think people like to perpetuate it to justify their own bad behavior. "I'm fat because I can't afford to eat healthy stuff." That's one giant crock of BS. As you and your husband have proven - and congrats to both of you - eating healthy is generally cheaper. Avoiding processed and packaged foods and eating out and instead cooking from scratch at home is way cheaper and healthier.
    Steve

    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

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    • #3
      I've found doing meal prep with healthy foods to be cheaper than packaged food or eating out.
      It's more work, but it's definitely cheaper and way better for you
      Brian

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      • #4
        I would agree it is a common myth. I
        I find most of that is many people simply do not know how to cook and are sometime disappointed since they are used to high sodium and overly spiced items in processed food.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by bjl584 View Post
          I've found doing meal prep with healthy foods to be cheaper than packaged food or eating out.
          It's more work, but it's definitely cheaper and way better for you
          Yes! Meal prep is a bi-weekly thing here. We do a bit on Sunday for the first half of the week (I sit down and plan out all of our meals before I go shopping, head to the store, come back and prep everything). Then on Wednesday I prep the rest of the food for the rest of the week. If the schedule gets thrown off for some reason we have a few go-to cheap/easy meals. We keep items for a quick salad on hand, turkey and chicken breast, steamable veggies, etc.

          Don't get me wrong - we still have our occasional meal out but it normally costs no more than $20 unless it was planned way in advance and budgeted for. (It sounds lame but we spent SO much before we switched to healthier eating... just to get fat lol).

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          • #6
            Originally posted by disneysteve View Post
            This is such a common myth. I think people like to perpetuate it to justify their own bad behavior. "I'm fat because I can't afford to eat healthy stuff." That's one giant crock of BS. As you and your husband have proven - and congrats to both of you - eating healthy is generally cheaper. Avoiding processed and packaged foods and eating out and instead cooking from scratch at home is way cheaper and healthier.
            We can't even stomach pre-packaged stuff most of the time anymore. It just doesn't taste right (if that makes sense). I'll be out of town visiting family in PA soon and I'll prep ahead for my husband while I'm away and freeze things. Somehow that tastes better than any Hungry Man or whatever else he may pick up.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Smallsteps View Post
              I would agree it is a common myth. I
              I find most of that is many people simply do not know how to cook and are sometime disappointed since they are used to high sodium and overly spiced items in processed food.
              It was definitely a transition at first (we were living in a motel basically living off Ramen towards the beginning of our relationship). But even then, we learned ways to eat healthy on very little because we refused to be on an all-Ramen diet.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by amastewa93 View Post

                Yes! Meal prep is a bi-weekly thing here. We do a bit on Sunday for the first half of the week (I sit down and plan out all of our meals before I go shopping, head to the store, come back and prep everything). Then on Wednesday I prep the rest of the food for the rest of the week. If the schedule gets thrown off for some reason we have a few go-to cheap/easy meals. We keep items for a quick salad on hand, turkey and chicken breast, steamable veggies, etc.

                Don't get me wrong - we still have our occasional meal out but it normally costs no more than $20 unless it was planned way in advance and budgeted for. (It sounds lame but we spent SO much before we switched to healthier eating... just to get fat lol).
                Amanda,
                I did do a small piece on this subject at Allthingsfinance.

                Link:

                https://allthingsfinance.net/eating-...oking-at-home/

                Brian

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                • #9
                  I would say it does cost more to eat healthy.
                  Good bread costs more than cheap white bread, fresh veggies are typically costlier than canned, lean meats are more costly than fatty hamburger, etc., quality juices and beverages cost more than cheap sugary drinks and soda pops, etc.
                  Even eating out, a cheeseburger is often cheaper and a whole lot easier to come by than a salad.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Fishindude77 View Post
                    I would say it does cost more to eat healthy.
                    Good bread costs more than cheap white bread, fresh veggies are typically costlier than canned, lean meats are more costly than fatty hamburger, etc., quality juices and beverages cost more than cheap sugary drinks and soda pops, etc.
                    Even eating out, a cheeseburger is often cheaper and a whole lot easier to come by than a salad.
                    It depends.
                    I usually meal prep in bulk, and I find that to be fairly cost effective.
                    I can make a dozen meals and freeze them for pretty cheap.
                    It's even better if I get the meat on sale.
                    Brian

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Fishindude77 View Post
                      I would say it does cost more to eat healthy.
                      Good bread costs more than cheap white bread, fresh veggies are typically costlier than canned, lean meats are more costly than fatty hamburger, etc., quality juices and beverages cost more than cheap sugary drinks and soda pops, etc.
                      Even eating out, a cheeseburger is often cheaper and a whole lot easier to come by than a salad.
                      It's hard to compare things that way though.
                      If I eat a couple of slices of good whole grain bread, I'm full. If I eat a couple of slices of generic white bread, I'm just as hungry when I'm done as when I started. So I have to keep eating more to fill up.
                      Fatty hamburger is cheaper but once you cook it, a lot of that fat cooks off and the amount of actual meat you're left with isn't that different than if you had started with lower fat meat to begin with.
                      I'll agree that salad prices in restaurants are ridiculous but the actual ingredients to make a similar salad at home are not that costly at all.

                      As a doctor, I can't help but point out that your diet has a cost beyond the grocery bill too. Sure you could spend less on food but that will likely result in spending more on medical expenses to treat your diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, acid reflux, sleep apnea, arthritis, etc. You may pay more for life insurance. You may spend more on clothing because as your weight climbs you have to keep buying new bigger stuff. So it isn't just about the actual food spending. Eating a better diet pays off in other places.
                      Steve

                      * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                      * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                      * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bjl584 View Post

                        Amanda,
                        I did do a small piece on this subject at Allthingsfinance.

                        Link:

                        https://allthingsfinance.net/eating-...oking-at-home/
                        Yes! Precisely. Haha. That pretty much lays it out.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My cousin took it to another level with how cheap he could take his healthy diet. They began growing their own veggies and have a few chickens for fresh eggs. They harvest veggies and eat them fresh, freeze them, or can them. They trade some of their things with the neighbors (who have cows) for milk and occasionally meat. He hits the store for some meat occasionally, or grains if needed.

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