This is been a myth for as long as we can remember. People claim that they would like to eat better but can’t afford to, yet organisations like Flavours Catering have no probably knocking up quality food within budget. Many believe that cooking from scratch is much more expensive than takeaway meals. Because of this, there is little incentive for people to change their behavior.
There is a lot of media attention on healthy diets but many stories on how eating healthy is costly. This influences public perception. Some studies compare the price per calorie of foods, suggesting that unhealthy foods are often cheaper. That’s not the whole story.
Studies should compare the price per unit weight of foods in the same group. For example, the cost of 200g of bacon against 200g of chickpeas brings fair results. People buy thinking about the quantity and not the calories. This squashes the belief that unhealthy food is cheaper.
Obesity has become a growing public health concern. Many people are at risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and tooth extraction. People are conditioned to think that healthy foods are expensive yet nutritious foods are cheap. Instead of buying chips, one could settle for carrots. They cost the same but the latter is a healthy option.
Poverty also seems to be driving food choices. Cheap takeaways are appealing because many people don’t like cooking at the end of the day. Most people on low incomes tend to buy calorie-dense food, it’s more filling. A burger may fill you up, compared to an apple, but it will hurt your health. Promoting healthy eating in a poor society is difficult and will take a lot of effort.
SO, HOW DO YOU EAT BETTER ON A BUDGET?
- Buy plant protein like peas, beans and lentils. They are cheap and can replace meat.
- Increasing the number of fruits and veggies is definitely cheaper and healthier.
- Tinned, frozen and dried fruits and veggies are cheaper, keep for longer and keep their nutrients. Buy them!
- Don’t buy processed foods. They cost more while making your own similar dishes is cheaper and quicker.