Most people know that they should be eating more whole foods and fewer processed foods. Junk food should be shunned as often as possible. This is even more important for those of us with diabetes. But eating healthy foods is more expensive, right? It depends on how you look at it.
Past research looked at the price per calorie of healthy foods vs. foods high in salt, fat, and sugar, and found that the healthy food was more expensive. That isn’t a fair assessment, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture study. When costs are compared by weight or portion size, the healthier foods often become the better deal.
So what difference does it make? "Using price-per-calorie doesn't tell you how much food you're going to get or how full you are going to feel," said Andrea Carlson, scientist at the USDA's Economic Research Service and an author of the study. Comparing portion size, or how much you’d have to eat to feel full, is a better comparison. An example shown in this article compares eating a 1-ounce bag of potato chips to ½ cup of broccoli. At 150 calories, the potato chips would be cheaper per calorie when compared to the 27 calories in the broccoli. But you’d have to eat nearly 3 cups of broccoli to get the same amount of calories. Clearly, when comparing by portion size the broccoli is much cheaper.
It’s important to remember the nutritional value of the foods you eat. Fueling your body with proper nutrients will keep you satisfied longer, meaning you’ll eat less. This article gives some good advice on ways to eat healthier foods without giving up convenience. For example: Baking kale chips at home will cost you approximately $1 compared to $3 for a bag of potato chips at the store. A small package of M&M's will set you back about $0.89, where a half-cup of grapes is only $0.46.
Smart shopping can help you to eat healthier foods without ruining your budget. It just takes some thought and planning.