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Published on January 11, 2017

Is eating healthy really more expensive?

It's a common belief that eating healthy is too expensive. In 2013, the Harvard School of Public Health analyzed 27 studies and found that it cost an average of $1.50 more per day to eat healthy. However, the study analyzed foods by cost per calorie. For example, it pointed out that 200 calories of brownie cost less than 200 calories of carrots.

The study failed to address how much those foods compare when cost per serving is factored in. You wouldn’t even come close to eating 200 calories worth of carrots in one sitting. So, instead of focusing on calories alone, it is more important to focus on nutrient-rich foods that fill us up on fewer calories. By doing this, we naturally eat less and save money overall.

Here are three easy ways to eat healthier for less:

  1. Balance. Americans are eating more meat and fewer fruits and vegetables than ever. Processed foods and unbalanced meals lead you to eat more because you lack essential nutrients that your body needs. On the flip side, balanced eating can help us be in better control of our physical hunger.
  2. Plan. Whether that is in the form of dining out or buying prepacked items that someone else made, you will pay for convenience. For example, making your own salad dressing could save $4-5 and only takes a couple of minutes and ingredients to put together. Small steps can stretch your food dollars further.
  3. Shop around. Become a savvy shopper, and learn which stores sell the same food at a fraction of the price. Plan to include a couple stores in your shopping trip to take advantage of these cost savings and keep you on budget.

With these tips, you can feel better about making changes to your diet and keeping yourself within a realistic budget.

Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System delivers great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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