Planning meals for yourself and your family while balancing health and finances is a growing issue. When asparagus water is priced at $8 per bottle (what is asparagus water?) you and your family may struggle to understand whether or not you can even afford to be healthy.
Bank Busting Healthy Fast Food
Every Tuesday, upon opening the mailbox, consumers are typically flooded with an explosion of fast food circulars advertising entire meals for only $2 or $3. The large, juicy burgers and lightly toasted sesame seed topped buns are very tempting, especially at the coupon advertised price of $3.99 for the “value” meal. But, how much value are consumers really getting for the high calorie, high saturated fat meal?
For a family of four living in the United States, full stomachs and satisfied taste may seem like a great deal at $15.96. Whole Foods version of fast food is the Burger Bar, which displays mouth watering, organic, free range burgers proudly perched atop artisan breads for a starting point of $6.00 each. And that price does not include a starchy side or a drink. For a budget conscious family, Whole Foods version of a quick and easy dinner for four is priced in the $44 range. Your family will be enjoying natural beef and bison protein, bread made with whole grains and an all natural tea or juice blend as opposed to low quality meat, white bread and soda. Because of the fresh preparation and high quality ingredients, fewer low quality calories will be consumed and the Whole Foods meal is healthier overall. But, is the price for health too high? For many families, the answer is yes!
Harvard Agrees, Healthy Food Is Higher Priced
Perhaps you are considering whether healthy, organic food choices actually are more expensive, as you snack on your organically grown and slow roasted Malaysian sea salt almonds, priced at $15.99/pound. Well, in 2013, a study was conducted by Harvard School of Public Health that found that eating a healthy diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, high quality protein and nuts is priced $1.50 more per day, per person than a diet full of refined grains and processed foods. A subsequent study, conducted by the UK government, suggests that the gap between healthy food choices and unhealthy ones has been consistently growing and will continue to grow. None of this looks like a good forecast for families wanting to eat healthy without breaking the bank. So, what are the options?
By developing a few simple habits, your family can enjoy healthier foods and stay on budget.
- Avoid Whole Foods and other similar, overpriced, cleverly branded grocery stores and opt for local Farmer’s Markets during the spring and summer months.
- Shop healthy choices at discount stores such as Sam’s Club and Costco.
- Opt for canned meats during those times of the year when fresh meats are more expensive.
- Avoid the temptation to purchase prepared dishes. Purchasing the ingredients and preparing the same dish at home can easily save up to 50%.
- Plan meals and cook in bulk.
- Grow your own food. Even if you simply grow your own herbs and a few small vegetables, the food will be fresh for less.
Avoiding asparagus water or Veganic Sprouted Ancient Maize Cereal Flakes will not preclude your family from enjoying healthy foods. Just be smart about it and your family will enjoy healthy meals for years to come.