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Fresh And Healthy Food Is Just Too Expensive

Fresh And Healthy Food Is Just Too Expensive

Crushing The Myth: Fresh And Healthy Food Doesn't Have To Break The Bank

Karen Salmansohn self-help book author and award-winning designer

Healthy does not mean starving yourself, ever. Healthy means eating the right food in the right amount.

Karen Salmansohn ‧ Self-help book author and award-winning designer

We are increasingly conditioned to think of healthy food as expensive, because of the price of meat, fish and dairy, the rise of 'superfoods' and the higher cost of organic produce. Yet, nutritious food needn’t cost a fortune. Fresh made chia seed smoothies are an expensive luxury but basic nourishment – carrots, lentils, potatoes – is cheap as potato chips.

On another hand, some fresh food can be expensive, that much is true. But it doesn't have to be - it all goes back to good scheduling. If you've got a week's menu planned ahead, you can buy whatever is in season, which makes fresh food significantly cheaper. The vast majority of frozen vegetables are also a cheap and healthy option.

The cost of fresh food really depends on what you compare it to. If you're comparing it to eating several takeaway meals a week, then fresh tends to be cheaper. And by eating healthier, you also forego sweets, snacks and soft drinks, which can cost a lot.

The Reality Check: Cost Of Healthy Eating

How much more does healthy eating cost? Obviously, it depends where you live and many other factors. In a 2013 study, researchers analysed the data and came up with a rough answer. It's about $1.50 more each day per person on average. Surprised?

That’s the difference between a very healthy diet - like one high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fish - and an unhealthy diet with lots of processed foods, meats, and refined (non-whole) grains.

Nourish Your Body & Wallet: A Practical Guide To Eating Healthy On A Budget

TIP: If you’ve got a week’s menu planned ahead, you can buy whatever is in season, which makes fresh food significantly cheaper.

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But on the other hand, $1.50 a day may be a lot less expensive than you expected. It’s cheaper than your daily latte. And that doesn’t include the long-term financial savings of healthy eating, such as a lower chance of serious and expensive chronic diseases as you and your kids get older.

5 Affordable Healthy Meal Options

When people think of healthy eating, they often think of it breaking the bank. After all, health food can be pricey, especially when you aren't making it from scratch.

Luckily, there are plenty of options for healthy meals that you can whip up quickly at home for cheap. How cheap is cheap? Under $20 cheap! Here are 5 healthy meals that you can cook at home starting today:


These sandwiches are amazing because they offer a huge amount of variety while keeping costs low. They are also nutritionally dense. Try getting some multigrain bread, tomatoes, cucumber, onions, avocado, lettuce and a balsamic vinaigrette. For extra flavour, throw on some cheese. This will give you plenty of flavour and nutrition at a low price.


Breakfast burritos are a delicious and nutritious way to start the morning. The great thing about breakfast burritos is the variety of different combinations you can experiment with. For a more southwestern flair, try eggs, black beans, green peppers, pepper jack cheese and salsa. Yum!


That's right, you can make delicious fish tacos from the comfort of your home for very little cost! The price may vary by the fish, but for an affordable and tasty fish, try going with tilapia. From there, add some Mexican spices, cook up some corn taco shells, cut up some onion and dice some cilantro. Bam, you have delicious fish tacos!


That's right, you can have pot roast just the way your mom used to make it for less than $10 per serving! With a couple of pounds of boneless chuck, potatoes, onions, carrots, beef broth and spices, you can make a delicious and mouth-watering pot roast that you'll want to eat again and again!


These are not only delicious, but they give you a lot of room to play around with. You can go more traditional, with some chicken, cheese, tomatoes, onions, lettuce and sour cream or you can get fancier. Try a quesadilla with chicken, Mexican shredded cheese, grilled onions, grilled peppers, black beans and homemade pico de gallo on the side.

These delicious meals are quick to prepare, delicious and, most importantly, under $10-20 to make. No more excuses for not being able to eat well due to the price point. Start cooking these meals today. Your taste buds will go crazy and your wallet will thank you!

The Bottom Line

Meat and fish are among the most expensive items on the shopping list, but plant protein is often cheaper. Legumes such as beans, peas, and lentils are nutritious, very affordable and a good substitute for meat.

If the price of fresh, nutritious food in your local supermarket upsets you, learn to shop seasonally. Buy what's in season in your part of the country. These items will be less expensive and fresher than items shipped long distances.

Frozen, canned and dried fruit and vegetables are often cheaper than fresh but retain their nutrients. They also last longer, which means less food waste. And remember, like money, food should work for you, not against you...

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These foods are healthy and good for you:

  • Nuts, pulses, and grains are an important part of a healthy diet.
  • Fruits, leafy greens, and vegetables contain vital nutrients and fibre.
  • Salmon, eggs, chicken, and venison are all excellent sources of protein.


Healthy eating means eating a variety of natural/organic foods that give you the nutrients you need to maintain your health, feel good, and have energy. These nutrients include protein, carbohydrates, fat, water, vitamins, and minerals. No food or diet can prevent you from getting breast cancer.


7 of the world's healthiest foods you need to have in your diet are:

  • Kale.
  • Quinoa.
  • Almonds.
  • Natural Greek yoghurt.
  • Olive oil.
  • Lentils.
  • Apples.


It's generally best to avoid sugary drinks like soda, sports beverages, and energy drinks. Healthy drinks are:

  • Water is the best choice for quenching your thirst.
  • Some beverages should be limited or consumed in moderation, including fruit juice, milk, and those made with low-calorie sweeteners, like diet drinks.


There are a few things you can do to save money on healthy food:

  • Plan your meals ahead of time. This will help you avoid impulse purchases and make sure you have the ingredients you need on hand.
  • Cook at home. Eating out can be expensive, so cooking at home is a great way to save money.
  • Buy in bulk. If you can, buy fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods in bulk. This can save you money in the long run.
  • Shop at discount grocery stores. There are many discount grocery stores that offer healthy food at a lower price.
  • Grow your own food. If you have the space, growing your own food can be a great way to save money and eat healthy.


There are many benefits to eating healthy food, including:

  • Reduced risk of chronic diseases. Eating healthy can help reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.
  • Improved weight management. Healthy food can help you maintain a healthy weight or lose weight.
  • Increased energy levels. Eating healthy can help you feel more energized throughout the day.
  • Improved skin health. Eating healthy can help improve the appearance of your skin.
  • Better mood. Eating healthy can help improve your mood and reduce stress levels.
  • Increased lifespan. Studies have shown that people who eat healthy tend to live longer than those who don't.

About the Author Mary James

I am passionate about fitness, a healthy lifestyle, cooking, and well-being. This blog is about some of my thoughts that are occupying my mind and spirit daily over the last 10 years and my grand passion – weight loss and fitness, healthy lifestyle and healthy food, mindfulness and self-improvement.

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