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Eating healthy costs less than you think

Eating healthy costs less than you think
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Clark Howard |
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Do you believe that it costs a boatload more money to eat healthy vs. unhealthy? It’s time to rethink that assumption.

Research from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) says that’s baloney. Their analysis finds it only costs around $1.50 a day extra to eat healthy. That’s $10 extra a week or about $500 or so extra a year.

“The HSPH researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 27 existing studies from 10 high-income countries that included price data for individual foods and for healthier vs. less healthy diets,” according to an HSPH press release. “They evaluated the differences in prices per serving and per 200 calories for particular types of foods, and prices per day and per 2,000 calories for overall diet patterns.”

Now, $1.50 is not pocket change…but eating healthy does not have the exorbitant cost some people think. Of course, if you shop sales, you can very likely eat healthy for an equivalent cost to an unhealthy diet.

So knowing that to be the case, why do we still choose to eat unhealthy? Because much of the unhealthy choices taste better. I eat a lot of unhealthy food and I do that by choice. (I also eat a lot of healthy food by choice too.) But to say you have to eat unhealthy because that’s all you can afford, well, that’s simply not so.

I realize that residents of low income neighborhoods may not have access to any stores selling healthy food. But think about Walmart going into Chicago. There was so much opposition, but now people in low income neighborhoods can buy fresh fruits and veggies at decent prices.

Then you also have Aldi in 30+ states. They offer healthy food at 40% below traditional supermarket prices.

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