Health matters are given a less than glorious nod from news sources on a daily basis. Most local channels host a weekly sound bite directed to health concerns, but few truly address issues that really get where we are at. In reality media has failed to shed light on an issue that I personally hear again and again throughout my day- healthy food is too expensive. Well, is it?
Realizing the number of people living at what our country considers 'poverty level' and the fact Fox news announced today the house passed a bill 'slashing food stamp programs by $40 billion, I think the topic merits our attention. Is the problem of eating healthy really unaffordable? A recent article in the Huffington Post addressed the issue of healthy food cost versus junk food cost. I found their take on the matter truly interesting as they broke the matter down into nutrient density, sighting the reality that nutrient dense food is more cost effective than empty calorie foods.
Look with me at a banana. It contains a mere 150 calories and is dense in nutrient value costing around $3 for a small bundle. Now look at a chocolate glazed doughnut. It offers a whopping 240 calories lacking in any real nutritional value. If you buy a bag of them off the shelf you will pay about $3. At face value the doughnut seems more for your money, but consider- will the doughnuts fill you up? Do they satisfy? Can they offer nutritional support for you body? The bananas do. There is the rub.
As a family of five living off one income with no health insurance we managed to provide fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and whole grains, for our daily meals. It was never a question that healthy food was a necessity; never a question of affording it. It was a choice to make this our priority. This meant some things were not part of our daily expenses. We didn't eat out, own cell phones, or have television service. Our home was within our means and we did not have vehicle payments. For our family, this was our choice.
Some question those realities saying our family 'missed out', yet, we are healthy and active. Seasonal illnesses do not seem to linger as long when they hit our home. Our children's education is excellent and thriving. As adults in our forties, we are not on any medications or suffering health issues. Doctor visits are rare, often bringing astonishment to our medical clinic that we are the age we are and in the health we are in.
The point I am trying to make is.. healthy food is not too expensive especially if you look at the big picture. Over all, nutritious food boosts our ability to learn, balance emotions, and experience good health. The junk food is cheaper story is a lie given us by the corporations who are invested in it. It all boils down to choice. Whether financially stable, on assistance programs, or holding your own on a low income, your purchases are your choice- your responsibility. Consider your options and choose for yourself bearing in mind many education resources are available to assist you in those decisions.
For local assistance, please visit Better Living for Texans.
If you are not local, contact your county extension for a program near you.