Taking A Look At The Cost Of Healthy Eating

It is often argued that many people are forced to eat a less healthy diet than they would like due to the high cost of choosing the healthy option.

But is it really true that healthy foods are more expensive? Several studies have shown that this does indeed appear to be the case. In 2014 the Daily Mail reported on a study undertaken by researchers at Cambridge University which suggests that eating healthily will cost you three times as much as an unhealthy diet.

The study looked at the cost per calorie of 94 popular foods and drinks which were rated according to government criteria to determine how healthy they were. They found that 1000 calories of unhealthy food cost £2.50, whereas the same amount of healthy food would set you back £7.49.

A 2018 study undertaken for Compare The Market also showed that some high street food chains charge almost six times as much per 100 calories for the healthy option compared with the less healthy menu items.

Perhaps surprisingly, Pret a Manger which is often seen as one of the more healthy places to go for food had a 596% difference in price between the unhealthy and healthy options, while KFC had the smallest price difference at 154%.

Can we all afford to eat healthily?

A survey cited in the Daily Mail’s coverage found that 39% of people rate the price of food as the most important factor when it comes to making a choice, whereas only 9% considered how healthy the food is to be the most important factor that influenced their decision.

This suggests that the only people who are able to afford to worry a little less about their budget are able to prioritise the healthiness of their food choices and that it’s fair to assume that many people would make different choices if money were not an issue.

The increase in the difference in price between healthy and unhealthy food may very well be a contributing factor to the deteriorating health of the population, and indeed with the rise of food poverty in the UK leading to an increased demand for food banks, the poorest in our society may have very little choice over the food they consume at all.

How you can save money on healthy food

Luckily there are a few things you can do to be savvy and eat a healthier diet while keeping costs to a minimum. This article from Lifehacker gives some great suggestions to get you started.

Cooking from scratch is by far the most cost-effective way of eating cheaply, so if you currently rely on ready meals and takeaways you could save a small fortune by learning to cook. Many of us are time-poor, but stir fries are not only cheap, but also quick and easy, and anybody can make them. This roundup from Olive gives 17 great stir fry ideas to get you started.

Meal planning and sticking to a shopping list will ensure you only buy the things you need to make meals and you can even price up the ingredients of recipes before you head to the shops online. It’s a good idea to have a collection of go-to recipes that you know you like that are budget friendly.

Buying whole chickens is a great way to get meat and protein in your diet cheaply, as they are some of the best value meat you’ll find in the supermarket. A whole chicken can last several meals and is very versatile, the leftovers can be enjoyed reheated with vegetables or cold in a salad.

Pulses such as beans, lentils and peas are packed with protein and fibre as well as vitamins and minerals, and are a great addition to a healthy diet if you cannot afford to eat meat, or are a vegetarian.

If you are savvy and organised, it is indeed possible to eat healthily on a tighter budget, but the sharp increase in price between healthy and unhealthy foods is something that ought to be addressed in order to ensure that it is realistic for us all to become healthier as a nation.

Written by Fuzzable

This content has been created by a Fuzzable staff member. We post the latest news and features for you to read every day.

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