Is eating healthy more expensive?


Many people I talk to about fitness and nutrition tell me eating healthy is too expensive.  I disagree.  Buying junk food and processed food can lead to more expenses in the long run.

Three diseases have become very prevelant in the United States.  Heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are affecting millions of people in this country.  Fortunately, we can prevent many of these cases.

If you think eating healthy is expensive, consider this…

According to the 2008 Milman report open heart surgery and heart transplants made the list of “Top 10 Most Expensive Medical Procedures.”

Heart Transplant made number 2 coming in at $787,700 (this was 6 years ago so it is very likely the price tag has increased substantially).  Heart transplants are some of the most complicated procedures carrying a great risk, with long waiting lists and lengthy surgeries.

Open heart surgery made number 6, at $324,000.  Heart disease is the #1 cause of death in the U.S. at 26%.  This is one of the reasons I make an effort to buy healthier options at the grocery store for my family and myself.  Open heart surgery is a more common procedure than most people realize but it is expensive due to the urgency of the procedure and the complications, care needed, and follow up afterwards.

Some types of cancers are also related to our diets.  Cancer is a costly disease in our nation and unfortunately health insurance companies do not cover all the costs.  Expenses include Dr. visits, lab tests, clinic visits, imaging tests, radiation treatments, drug costs, hospital stays, surgeries, and home health care.

Type II Diabetes has become another  disease we face.  According to the American Diabetes Association 86 million Americans age 20 or older have prediabetes (high blood sugar levels putting them at great risk for Type II Diabetes, heart disease, and stroke in the future).  Diabetes was the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S in 2010.

If you look at the cost of buying healthier foods at the grocery store versus what you may be paying later on in life in health care costs, healthy eating is very economical and will lead to a better quality of life in many ways. Without even worrying about the cost, I want my family and I to be able to have the best quality of life for as long as possible. As our bodies age we are going to have issues and ailments, but if I can prolong them or avoid some of them by making good choices now, I am going to try hard to do it.

Here are some helpful tips when it comes to saving money while eating healthy.

-Avoid pre-cut produce, and pre-made meals and sides.
-Buy store brands instead of national brands
-Purchase the majority of your items around the outside perimeter of the store. This is where you will find the fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy. The processed foods you should avoid are in the center of the store.
-Buy produce in season. Watch for sales and compare prices at grocery stores. Most of the grocery stores in my small town will honor the sale prices from other stores.
-Take one day a week to plan all your meals and snacks out for the week.  Cook in bulk. For example, grills a bunch of chicken breasts to toss on salads or as a main meal or cook up some quinoa for that salad or soup.
-When doing your menu planning, plan for 4-5 nights worth of meals and clean up the left overs the rest of the week.
-Buy in bulk when possible. You can get meat in bulk and freeze some of it or buy beans or grains in bulk.
-Make a grocery list when you go to the store and stick with it.
-You will be surprised how much money you can save on unhealthy items. If you eliminate soda, alcohol, and other junk food you will be amazed at how much you can save off your grocery bill. I saw a huge bag of Peanut M & M’s the other day for $9.99. I am not going to disagree, they taste good, but that is $10 for almost no nutritional value.
-Save eating out for special occasions. You will save a lot of money and appreciate those dinners more when they are less often.

By planning ahead for the week you will find that you make better use of your groceries which will save you money and you will eat healthier.  You will also be less likely to pick up take out food on the way home from a long day at work.  It will eliminate some stress and help everyone develop better eating habits.

You can find more healthy recipes at http://debgress.com/recipes/