Eating Healthier IS NOT More Expensive (In the long term)


Scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health recently conducted a literature review and proclaimed that swapping out junk food for healthy eats would increase the price of food by $1.50 per day per person. That’s $6 every day for a family of 4, or $2200 a year. This is not pocket change:

” This would represent a real burden for some families, and we need policies to help offset these costs. On the other hand, this price difference is very small in comparison to the economic costs of diet-related chronic diseases, which would be dramatically reduced by healthy diets.” Read more…

Another issue that wasn’t addressed in the study is the opportunity cost of eating healthy food. Healthy eating usually involves food preparation – cleaning, cutting, and cooking. Compare this to a drive thru, and think of a tired parent coming home after a full day of work and having to spend an hour in the kitchen to produce dinner.

It will be great once our elected officials decide to prioritize healthy food through subsidies for leafy greens and fruits instead of corn and soy that go into junk food, but until that happens, many Americans will continue to become sick from obesity related diseases.

So how can we claim that healthy food is cheaper than junk food?

Simply by looking over a horizon of several decades.

If you take a long-term view of your finances, eating nutrient poor junk foods is like an inverse mortgage on your future healthcare expenses. With every day’s bad choices, you are increasing your chances of a really expensive disease in five, ten or twenty years. Even if you are insured, the co-payments, time lost, pain, and suffering will be much more expensive than investing a few dollars in your family healthy every single day.

Don’t wait, start your health savings today. An easy first step is to eliminate soft drinks from your grocery shopping. That’s $500 a year per family!

  • Mike Luque

    The whole argument that it takes too much time to prepare healthy food as opposed to drive thru fast food is nonsense. I like to ask people this question: What’s your favorite television show?”
    If they have an answer at all, they have time to cook from scratch.

  • chefmarshall

    Well thought post, thank you!!!

  • mznuluv

    I’m two yrs. into eating healthier, yes its more expensive and can be time consuming but its so worth it..its a choice, my body feels like crap if I eat something unhealthy for me that’s enough.I am glad its just myself. I’ve learned to prep and know some quick easy meals on those stressful days.

  • j3zzi

    This shows healthy food as less expensive in comparison to future health cost or drive thru’s. It completely misses the direct shopping healthly food vs non healthy. Both requiring preparation in the kitchen.As a single parent of two kids, a college student, and full time employee at a state facility (the pay only cover bills and MY insurance) To eat healthy IS more expensive. Rather than debating that is not, I agree that it does need to be prioritized. Its the junk food that should be more costly. Perhaps then we would see a better future concerning less health problems

    • Brenda J. Graham

      EAting healthy might take more time; but consider how much time it would take from you if you or one of your family members got sick with a life-threatening disease, which taking Juice Plus could help to prevent, and eating healthy would prevent!

  • Alan Mark

    While I suspect the conclusion of saving health care costs in the long run is correct, we need credible studies to support that. With that ammunition, we could begin a serious (although controversial) discussion about providing additional financial assistance for needy families to purchase ONLY approved foods. Wishful thinking?

  • Brenda J. Graham

    I purchase healthy foods, all whole and organic. When I prepare them, I use quick and easy recipes, and the time it takes is no more than the time it takes to leave the house, drive to a fast-food place, order, wait, pick up and pay. Or, if I’m on the way home from some place, it still takes just as much time. Organic chicken breast, cut into slices, pan seared in olive oil, packaged vegetables stir-fried in the same pan, and quick brown rice heated 1 min. in the microwave. ten minutes, at the most!
    Then, add low-sodium soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos for more flavor. Yum!