More Expensive to Eat Healthy?…You’ll Be Surprised!

By Kyle Arsenault CSCS

While at a recent meeting where I and other local fitness professionals discussed how to best implement a community fitness program, the topic of obesity, specifically childhood obesity, came up. When you have a half dozen fitness professionals together in one room for an hour and a half, the topic of obesity is likely going to be mentioned at one point or another. The issue of obesity and the rising rates among the youth population, the diseases that stem from it, the lack of performance (physical, mental, emotional) and the causes of obesity are just a few sub-topics that were touched upon.

A GROWING Problem…

While I agreed with most of the other professionals about the majority of the points discussed, the one piece I found absurd, as I always have, is that it is cheaper to eat garbage fast food when compared to a quality, health promoting meal. To illustrate my point, I took a few extra minutes this morning to do some math for you. Let’s take a look at how much it would cost for a “cheap,” health and performance reducing, bodily systems poisoning, fast food breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then we will compare that to a health and performance supporting counterpart. First, the JUNK…

False advertising...there is no value in this menu!

1)      Breakfast: Dunkin Donuts Breakfast Sandwich and Coffee =  ~$3.00 + ~$1.60 + tax = ~$4.97

2)      Lunch: Dollar Menu Cheeseburger, French Fry and Coke = ~$3.00 + tax = ~$3.24

3)      *Dinner: Chicken Finger Basket (chicken fingers and fries) and Coke = ~$5.00 + tax = ~$5.40

Total for all three meals = ~$13.61

*I know where I am from the chicken finger basket is usually closer to $8.00, but if I put that than someone would inevitably argue they can get it cheaper…I don’t think you can get a chicken finger basket and coke for less than $5.00, but if you can, congratulations…sort of.

And now the healthier options…by far!

And Damn Tasty Too!

1)      **Breakfast: 3 egg omelet with ½ green pepper and ¼ onion, 1 slice cheese, 1 medium apple and home brewed coffee = eggs (~$.50) + pepper (~$.50) + onion (~$.25) + 1 slice cheese (~$.17) + apple (~.$25) + coffee (~$.04) = ~1.71

2)      **Lunch: Turkey sandwich, apple and water = 4oz Turkey (~$1.50) + 2 slices 100% whole wheat bread (~$.50) + handful spinach (~$.20) + 2 slices tomato (~$.19) + 1 slice cheese (~$.17) + 1 serving mustard (~$.01) + apple (~$.25) = ~$2.82

3)      **Dinner: 6oz chicken breast (~$.94) + 1 medium sweet potato (~$.45) + 2 cups broccoli (~$.50) = ~$1.87

Total for all three meals = ~$6.40

**For all of these meals I have actually over estimated the prices compared to what I usually pay for the products, then broke them down into the servings described. So in actuality the prices are probably cheaper!

So as you can see, when you really break it down you can easily spend up to $7.00 more per day for breakfast, lunch and dinner when relying on the “cheaper” options.

And of course someone will argue if you were to purchase grass fed meat, organic vegetables and fruit, organic coffee beans, etc you would pay a bit more…but then again you have another $7.00 to play with. And I can also hear it now…”But you can’t beat the price of convenience Kyle!”

Well, I will take your price of convenience and give it a holy beat down with the money you will save on health care, medication, and doctors’ visits. Not to mention the agony, frustration and utter depression you will prevent when you save yourself, your significant other and children from the diseases and illnesses that result from the accumulation of the lethal food (and all of the preservatives, trans fat, sweetners and god knows what else comprise it).

So the next time you are about to use the outrageous cost of a healthier meal (even a store brand of eggs, chicken and vegetables is healthier than fast / packaged food) as an excuse for consuming and/or providing garbage foods for yourself and family, remember this…not only are the healthier options less expensive, but the benefits of improved health, performance and fitness are in themselves priceless!

Suprised? Leave you thoughts below…

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