Published: Wednesday, Sept. 3 2014 5:15 a.m. MDT
It is absolutely untrue that it costs too much to eat healthy.Whole
grains in bulk and fresh potatoes are almost the cheapest foods you can buy.
Carrots are cheaper than dirt, and several other vegetables like celery,
lettuce, and tomatoes are always reasonable. Some frozen and canned vegetables
are cheaper than fresh, and often, just as healthy. Bananas are always less than
$1 per pound, and other fruit, especially in season, is almost always available
for less than $1.50 per pound. Chicken or pork a few times a week will not break
the bank. They're certainly cheaper than the junk I see in most
people's basket. And, nuts, though nice, are expendable.Really,
the problem is ignorance and laziness.
Belgie, do you live here in Utah? Those things may be "dirt cheap"
there, but not so here. And you have absolutely no idea that cooking involves
more than just those things. Fresh fruit and veggies are damned expensive here.
Chicken is incredibly expensive here. Your privilege is showing. Try actually
being poor to understand.
belgie is right. You can eat very cheaply if you buy bulk raw healthy foods.
That is how I made it through my college years. They only get expensive when you
insist on some fancy organic label at a specialty market.It gets
really cheap when you grow your own in a garden. It is a complete lie that poor
people can't afford healthy foods and must buy junk food instead with their
food stamps.It would be much better if the bulk healthy foods were
the ONLY thing you could buy with food stamps, but the grocery business will
have none of that kind of reform.
@Libilou - I spend plenty of time in Utah, I do the shopping, I cook, and
I've been plenty poor. I know what i'm talking about. I see lots of
canned/boxed drinks, candy, chips, cookies, and other processed, prepared foods
in the baskets of people paying for at least some of their food with food
You can argue about the absolute price of foods, but it is undeniable that
prepared foods--whether at the supermarket or your local grease joint--are more
expensive than basic staples. This is just yet another elitist making excuses
for obese people. There is plenty of cheap food in this country; what is needed
is people taking responsibility for their own health.
The rich have something additional, besides money, that the poor don't
have. That's time. A single mother trying to support her kids and keep a
roof over their head may be working two full-time nearly-minimum-wage jobs.
Someone living in the "two-fare zone" of a city like New York might need
to take a bus to the subway to get to work. That's maybe three or more
hours a day, just commuting. With lost time comes convenience food. It costs
more and provides worse nutrition, but it's all some people can manage
between trying just to survive and get a paycheck.For someone like
me, who lives in a vibrant area a shorter commute from downtown, with numerous
competing supermarkets and greengrocers, and additional specialty markets
serving thriving Asian and Hispanic communities, eating healthier is a cinch,
especially when you have time. They say time is money, but it's also
No doubt it is easier to eat cheap junk food. Unfortunately we have
too many who choose to be lazy and eat the garbage fast food. With a little
effort you can select healthier foods and there are some that are relatively
cheap especially if you pay attention to sales/deals and bulk when
possible/appropriate.I am not poor fortunately and I can afford to
eat but I just choose to eat healthy. Boneless skinless chicken breast can be
had for $1.49 to $1.99 a lb. Throw in some frozen veggies and that is a cheap
healthy meal for single person or family. Pop/energy drinks, chips, and a
chocolate bar are no cheaper and possibly more expensive on a per person
basis.People can choose but generally go with no
preparation=laziness.Money shouldn't be used as an
excuse/validation to con people into believing they can't eat healthy.
Like most things in life it is a choice.
To "belgie" it isn't that the fresh foods are so expensive. It is
the simple fact that the junk food and pre-packaged foods are always going on
sale. You also have the time factor for cooking a meal from scratch vs open the
box and microwave it.
I must admit I am very perplexed and disbelieving that poor people can't
afford to eat healthy food. I lived for a time in a very poor country in Asia
where real poverty was rampant, where millions of people struggled to eat
everyday. A native friend of mine used to tell me over and over he wanted to
move to America. When I asked him why he said, "In America poor people are
fat". There were no poor, fat people in his country, in fact they are
emaciated, frail and malnourished. Poor people are fat for two reasons, they
choose eat too much and exercise too little. And telling them its not their
fault, that they are just victims of poverty simply is not true!
Prepared foods are often cheaper if you calculate cost per calories. One would
have to eat a lot of raw carrots to the point of orange skin in order to get
enough calories and/or to be satisfied and not hungry. Several U.S.
legislators have tried living off a food stamp budget--and failed. Furthermore, the resulting daily grind and stress of just being poor makes it
harder for people to always make the "best" of the poor options
A bag of apples worth about 500 calories cost $4.50. That is 2000 calories worth
of mac and cheese. That is 4 things off the mcdonalds menu at at least 2,000
total. Paid for with cash since you can't use assistance to pay for those.
A person riding the bus can't buy 25 pounds of anything and bring it home.
When you eat so much refined food you always feel hungry. People run out of food
the last few days of the month. When they get food stores in its feast after
famine eating like our bodies are designed to do. Try eating cereal, canned
green beans and packaged potatoes for a week and see how you feel?
I once told my wife to buy whole wheat bread instead of white. She said it was
more expensive. I then asked her how much it cost to go to the doctor and to put
up with bad health.
I think there is some stereotyping here. The headline assumes both that
"poor people" eat less healthy foods and that those who are better off
financially eat more wisely. I'm not sure. I've seen obese people
who are poor and those who are not poor. it's the supersizing and the
"western diet" that seems to me to be the problem, without slicing up
the population of the nation one more way.I tend to agree, though,
with those that state that it isn't necessarily the case that processed
foods are cheaper but I think it generally true that people often can't be
bothered to cook a meal from scratch. You can make great bread when you get
past the initial cost of buying a wheat grinder.From a health
standpoint, even if you are relatively well off and eat processed (or otherwise
unhealthy) foods, in your old age you will very likely become poor when paying
your medical bills resulting from overeating, and unhealthy eating. Only the
super rich can afford a lot of "fine" eating that seems to included fish
eggs, snails and the lower limbs of frogs..
Fresh produce is expensive in Utah. Mac n cheese is cheap. If you're
poor, the choice is obvious.
Once and for all, the phrase "healthy whole grains" should be abolished.
Although whole grains are marginally better than homogenized white flour, they
really aren't all that healthy. Try eliminating all wheat products and all
sugar from your diet and you'll see what a healthy diet really is.
Thought I recently read an article about a free pdf cookbook on how to eat
healthy on $4 per day. I downloaded it and the recipes seems decent. That may
go against the poor can't eat well. I also agree that lost cooking skills
is a huge problem. I saw a program about a large family struggling to feed
their children. Huge choice of cold cereals at $3-5 per box. Why not hot
cereal for pennies a serving?
I'm scratching my head as to why people are saying fresh produce costs too
much in Utah. I've lived in and talked with people who have lived in other
parts of this country, and produce is MUCh more expensive in states where there
is not so much agriculture. But then, I tend a garden, so I get a
lot of my produce for literally dirt cheap...
Another thing to consider here is that the poor aren't just money-poor,
they are time-poor as well. Poor single mothers and poor parents are
usually working two low paying jobs each. They are what's called the
"working poor." No matter how much they work, they seldom escape
"poor-dom." Working two jobs is taxing on the body. I don't blame
them for not having the stamina to plan healthy menus based off healthy recipes
in healthy, whole-foods cookbooks; clipping coupons, hitting sales, and finally
taking time to actually make dinner. When they work as much as they do, they
just want to put their feet up at the end of the day and enjoy what precious
time they have with their kiddos. I don't know what the
solution is, but being time-poor goes hand-in-hand with being money-poor as
barriers to healthy eating.
I'm a firm believer in cooking from scratch and growing what you can.
Potatoes are powerful allies. But fruit is ridiculous to buy. It's absurd.
The caption on the picture says "Eating healthy is a luxury most poor
can't afford."Two problems:1. The word is
"healthfully", not "healthy".2. The picture shows
lots of veggies (good), slopped with salad dressing, whose calories are well
over 90% fat. That is NOT healthful eating.
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