Food is expensive. Really expensive. Most people have a preconceived notion that healthy food is even more expensive than “regular” food. I watched a video/documentary for school sometime last year that entailed interviewing people from “the projects” of Detroit, Michigan. The people (regular, every day citizens of this community) regularly stated they do not buy produce of any kind…simply because of price. Further into the documentary, the narrator reveals (along with several of the citizens) no local grocery store even sold produce. The narrator went into a grocery store and asked the manager why there was no produce. His response? “There simply is not a demand for it. People will not spend their budgeted dollars on expensive produce when they can purchase bulk processed foods cheaper.” (That may not be *exactly* what he said, but you get the idea)
Is that true? Is eating healthy food exponentially more expensive than eating processed food? Take a look:
The first “meal” is intended to feed four people. How many people do you think you could feed with the second amount of food, though? (Note: the second group of food is actually cheaper than the four “meals” from Burger King).
Again, the second food grouping is cheaper than the pizza with breadsticks. I am willing to bet it would feed more people than the single pizza as well. What do you think?
Second grouping of food is steadily cheaper (so far) than the first grouping. Can you imagine if they calculated calories and fat grams to go along with these comparisons? How many more calories and fat grams do you think are in that bucket of chicken than in all the food below it?
I am not a drinker, but I do know people who would pass up eating a meal for a few drinks. Alcohol provides no nutrition, but often an abundance of empty calories. I would much rather have those tilapia filets and some greek yogurt personally.
Here we find the first healthy grouping more expensive than “that other stuff.” However, how many people will those two bags of “appetizers” feed? How many people will the second grouping of food feed? I am willing to bet the second grouping will feed *at least* double the amount of people…maybe even triple.
Again we find the second grouping to be more expensive than the first…only by 10 cents. I, personally, have never purchased Steak-Ummm sliced steaks, but I am willing to wager that meat is probably not the first ingredient on the list. I am also willing to wager the sodium content in that package is through the roof.
I am willing to admit that taquitos used to be a favorite of mine…the southwestern chicken taquitos. Dip those suckers into a whole mound of full-fat sour cream and I was good to go. Good to go all the way to 315 pounds, that is. I do not miss them (in case you were wondering now) even a little bit. So, now my trips to the grocery would certainly include the food grouping on the bottom of that picture…no taquitos for me, please and thank you.
Ice cream used to be another regular staple in my life. At one point I remember having so much ice cream in my freezer I actually had to send some to my mother’s house. That is madness, folks. Madness. I love yogurt (though, I have never tried Activia…any comments on that stuff?) and I love Silk. I usually pick up the vanilla flavored Silk, though, because my chicklets prefer it.
This comparison really gets me. Purchase *one* bag of french fries or mixed veggies, bananas, potatoes, and pasta…and still save 14 cents! Craziness. With those fresh potatoes in tow, you could make probably four or five times the amount of fries in that Ore-Ida bag anyway (if you simply must have fries, that is).
Again we get to choose from empty calories or nutrition. Many people, of course, choose those empty calories. I am not one of them, though. I have never been a pop (soda) drinker…ever. I do not even drink tea or coffee or even flavored water. My drink of choice is plain old tap water. Boring (to some), I know. Think of all the money I save, though. 🙂
This is an even trade (monetarily, anyway). What do you think the nutrient difference is, though? I am not even sure what (exactly) those Twizzler things are made of… If I had to guess, though, I would say high fructose corn syrup is somewhere really high on the list…if not first…followed by several artificial “somethings” to boot.
I do realize that convenience food is just that…convenient. However, the above comparisons help to break down that preconceived notion that eating healthier means spending more money. It does not necessarily have to be more expensive to eat healthy. It will; however, require more of your time (planning, preparing, etc.), but I think my health and the health of my family is certainly worth that time.
How many of your weekly meals are comprised of convenience foods? How much money do you think you would/could save if you switched to preparing all your meals? What would you do with that extra money?