A study conducted in 2012 found that healthy foods cost less than less healthy foods (defined for that study as foods that are high in saturated fat, added sugar, and/or sodium, or that contribute little to meeting dietary recommendations).
Meanwhile, a study from 2016 showed that willpower more than perception of the price of healthy food stood in the way of individuals consuming more fruits and vegetables.
Perceiving healthy foods as too expensive was insignificant in the regression analysis despite being the second most commonly reported perceived barrier by women, and third most common perceived barriers to healthy eating for men.
Is Healthy Eating Expensive? Do Healthier Foods Really Cost More?
Is healthy eating expensive? “People generally believe that ‘healthy’ equals ‘expensive,’” notes Kelly Haws, PhD, associate professor of marketing at Vanderbilt University. “But that’s often not the case. One part of the problem is that we may confuse “healthy” with other labels that do increase costs, like “organic” or “gluten-free.”
In addition, Haws says that people often associate healthy foods with health-food stores, with their beautiful displays and higher prices. The reality though is that you can get healthy whole foods at any grocery store. Some people might not even bother trying to eat healthy anymore because they assume that a diet of cheap and unhealthy food is their only option.
Still, people can follow a nutritious diet without having to worry about those labels unless you’re dealing with a diagnosed medical condition. According to registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Alissa Rumsey, the key is to eat more whole foods and fewer processed ones.
Healthy Eating Cost-Cutting Tips
There are some ways to eat healthy while not breaking the bank. Here are a few tips we can share:
1. Stick to seasonal produce
Since seasonal fruits and vegetables are fresher, more flavorful, and more affordable than food produced out of season, finding out which are available near you pays off with your wallet as well.
2. Buy generic
Like medicine, choosing generic brands instead of name brands saves you money without sacrificing quality or nutritional value.
3. Practice meal planning
Try creating a weekly meal plan, preparing a shopping list, and picking a specific time to prepare your meals for the week.
This can save both time and money even if you need to find recipes with a similar set of ingredients to rotate within a week. You not only streamline your shopping list but you add diversity to your diet by enjoying ingredients in new ways than before.