Does it really cost more to eat healthier?

“It costs too much.” This is among the most common objections to eating healthy.  According to a poll published in the June 2012 issue of Shop Smart,  (from the publisher of Consumer Reports), 57% of respondents said their main reason for not eating healthier was cost.  But does it really cost that much to eat healthy? In most product categories, higher quality items are more expensive. Food is no exception.  And while many people embrace this concept when it comes to buying other merchandise, they hesitate to spend more on quality food.  Also, because of the influence of massive marketing campaigns of the fast food industry, people are willing to buy overpriced garbage for the sake of convenience.

One day I decided to do a little experiment to compare a fast food “value meal” to something I could quickly get at the local produce market. Here is what I found.
I bought the fruit on the right at Southside Produce in Baton Rouge(!/pages/Southside-Produce-Co-Inc/100516726675495). The cost was $4.78. This was around noon and there was no line at checkout time. Then I went to a McDonald’s in Baton Rouge and bought the Big Mac meal on the left. The cost was $6.42. There was a long line of cars at the McDonald’s drive-thru. For those concerned about protein, I called Whole Foods Market,, and learned that I could purchase 12 ounces of grass fed ground beef for the price of the Big Mac meal, which contains about 2 or 3 ounces of beef of questionable quality.

Then I had an idea to try to put meal together using the fruit. I looked for a quick convenient source of protein. I found some raw almonds from Lucy’s Health Foods, I measured out two servings of the almonds and added them to a few of the pieces of fruit and this is what I put together.

I calculated the cost of the above meal to be $2.98. You can literally eat two of the above meals for the price of one of these below.

The truth is that each person’s spending reflects his/her values. Some women, who spend money freely on salon visits, and men, who spend freely on their vehicles, tell me that it’s too expensive to eat healthy. To that, I say…NONSENSE!

Author: Nick Ortego is the owner of N 2 Action, a wellness studio in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, offering personal training, health coaching, yoga, and assisted stretching.


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Nick Ortego is a health coach specializing in biohacking for runners. He integrates modern methods with the ancient wisdom of yoga to help runners get the most out of every aspect of life. He is the owner of N 2 Action, a wellness studio in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, offering personal training, health coaching, yoga, and fascial stretch therapy.