Cost of Eating Healthy

Does it really cost more if you’re trying to eat healthy?  That’s one excuse I hear from people who don’t want to change their diet and want to keep eating bad food.  Frankly, I think it’s a terrible excuse for not wanting to change.  And I think the thought that eating healthy costs more is actually wrong.

I know what a lot of people think; when they’re at the grocery store the pound of blueberries or the bag of grapes costs more than the big bag of potato chips.  Why buy fresh spinach and peppers when you could get full on a meal off the dollar menu at McDonald’s and only spend like $3-$4?  When looking at it this way, then yeah, eating healthy might appear to cost more.  Filling your fridge with fresh produce instead of stocking your cupboard with highly processed foods does cost a little more money.  But is your bill at the grocery store the only thing to consider when thinking about the “cost” of what you eat?  I really don’t think so.

First off, when you’re eating that bag of salty chips or sugary candy, you’re not really satisfying your hunger.  Have you ever noticed how easy it is to sit down with a “family” sized bag of chips and realize you ate half the bag in one sitting?  That’s because the food is calorie dense, but not nutritionally dense.  Your body needs certain vitamins and nutrients, and when you don’t give your body what it needs, you feel like you want to keep eating.  This often leads to overeating, which is terrible because those foods are not healthy to begin with.  When you eat fresh, whole foods, you’re giving your body what it needs nutritionally.  So you will feel full faster and eat fewer calories because you’re actually satisfying your hunger and your body’s nutritional needs.  So the volume of healthy food you will eat will be less, which can help reduce the cost of your food.

Second, take a look at the medical conditions that typical Americans suffer from: heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol.  Many of those conditions and their symptoms can be controlled by diet and exercise.  But instead of going that route, many people choose to take medication to slow down the illness.  And how much do those medications cost?  I don’t think those prescriptions are cheap.  And what is even more astounding is the dollar amount that the US spends annually on obesity related health care.  The Center for Disease control says it’s a staggering $147 BILLION!!  Now if that doesn’t catch your attention I don’t know what does.  Not only is obesity killing our country physically, but it’s killing us financially and economically!  So do you think it’s worth spending a little more to eat healthier foods now and save tons of money on medications, surgery, medical bills down the road?  I do!

Finally, there are plenty of things in life that you can’t put a price on.  Do you want to have enough energy to play with your kids and grandchildren?  Do you want to be a mom or dad that can go out in the back yard and run around or play catch?  Do you want to be around long enough to see your kids grow up and have a family of their own?  Obviously those are rhetorical questions, but it’s something to think about.  Ask someone who can’t do those things and I would bet they would pay a ton of money to be able to.  The sad thing is there are a ton of people who struggle to be involved with their family because of poor health choices when it comes to their diet and exercise.  So even if you spend a little more at the grocery store, remember what a good investment that can be.

When you look at more than just the bill at the grocery store, I think the answer is clear.  And when you eat food that satisfies your body’s nutritional needs, you’ll find that you will need less of it to feel full and satisfied.  Your diet does come with a cost, but for me, I would rather pay for fresh produce up front than be paying for medication or missing out on some of life’s most important moments with my family later on down the road.

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