Friday, October 21, 2011

"Eating Healthy Is Too Expensive"

That's what we always hear. But is it true? There have been several articles and bog posts this year on the subject and the consensus is..."No!" As reported in the New York Times by Mark Bittman, Is Junk Food Really Cheaper? a dinner at McDonald's for four will cost a family $28. Whereas a dinner of roasted chicken, vegetables, a simple salad and milk costs $14. If that's too much money, how about $9 for rice and beans with bacon, green peppers and onion, and milk?

The article shows a McDonald's vs healthy food comparison graphic complete with photos and nutritional information. It's definitely worth a view.

Every time someone does a comparison of fast food to healthy food, it's easy to show that healthy food is cheaper. Plus you get more value and nutrition per calorie. In fact you get real food! Remember the How to Find Real Food at the Super Market map?

If you're honest, the issue is not so much about cost, but convenience. It boils down to the misconception that cooking at home takes too long and is too hard. As I've always said, I'm about keeping things simple and that definitely applies to cooking.

A typical meal at my house will take 30 to 45 minutes to prepare and cook. I always keep lots of different vegetables on hand especially because my typical lunch consists of cut-up veggies tossed with homemade dressing, add beans and feta cheese... voila! Lunch.

A quick and easy dinner can be roasted beets, steamed green beans and baked fish. Peel the beets and slice, coat with olive oil, sprinkle with spices and roast in the oven for 30 minutes at 350. Prep the beans, put them in the steamer (I have a stainless steel steamer that fits my large sauce pan with a lid). Rub the fish with spices and add to the roasting pan with the beets for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Simple and inexpensive dinner.

Looking into a typical day of meals at my house should help you see that it's not hard to cook and thus eat healthy for less than eating fast food or junk food. Don't buy the lie.

For another take on the subject, read Why Fast Food Isn't cheaper Than Healthy Food by Dr. Tim Harlan. As Dr. Harlan points out, the cost per calorie for healthy food is less than fast food, plus the calories in the fast food are deficient in nutrition.

Also look at $20 Food Showdown: Fast Food vs. Healthy Food to view 11 photo comparisons of items of fast food compared to items of healthy food.

Check out 6 Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget for great tips on paying less for healthy food.

Share your thoughts on the costs of eating healthy vs. eating junk food.


  1. Great reminder! It's so true that fast food is lacking in almost all nutritional value and high in fat and sodium. And I like your quote that when you cook at home you "get real food"--that's good food for thought!

  2. Hi Reggie,
    Thanks for chiming in. Food for thought... I love it! :^)