How to Reduce the Cost of Healthy Eating

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The importance of eating healthy has not been lost on the general public, since a dramatic upswing in public health messaging about the importance of a balanced diet. Since the ‘obesity crisis’ began in the early 2000s, a great deal of funding has been poured into raising awareness of healthy eating, and the dangers of fast or instant foodstuffs. 

But the current cost-of-living crisis has made clearer one of the central issues facing this movement: its relative blindness to class, and money. In many cases, routes to healthier eating are gatekept with respect to both financial affordability and time. What is the healthy eating trade-off, and how can you navigate it to access healthier lifestyles without the price-tag?

The Healthy Eating Trade-Off

Claims are often circulated that healthy food is eminently accessible, and that any reliance on unhealthy diets in a family or household is purely the result of laziness. However, the facts demonstrate well the fallaciousness of this argument; indeed, according to a recent report by the Food Foundation, there are extreme disparities in the affordability of healthy diets between poorer and richer households. 

One statistic shows that the poorest 20% of the UK need to spend 40% of their disposable income to afford a recommended healthy diet, in comparison to the richest 20% needing to spend just 7% of their disposable income. Much starker, however, is the demonstration that healthier foods are, on balance, three times more expensive per calorie than unhealthy foods.

An often-overlooked part of the healthy eating debate is the time involved in preparing such foods. Many poorer households are also time-poor, on account of childcare, additional jobs or at-home duties, making less-healthy foods both cheaper and kinder to their schedule. But what can be done to tackle both of these elements?

Reducing the Cost of Eating Healthily

Meal planning is one of the more active ways in which you can set about reducing costs associated with healthy eating. While little can be done about the up-front cost of certain vegetables, buying and cooking in bulk according to a weekly meal plan can bring the cost-per-portion down considerably, as well as the time you spend in the kitchen.

In regard to reducing prices at the checkout, you may be able to make the most of special offers and discounts. As an example, a Morrison’s NHS discount can be extended to those who work in healthcare, while loyalty and points cards for other supermarkets (like the Nectar card) can bring exclusive discounts to your shopping bill.

On a fundamental level, shopping healthy does not mean shopping premium. In many cases, premium brands use marketing to appear healthier than supermarket- or budget-brand alternatives, despite having no health benefits whatsoever. A shrewd approach to shopping can help you cut through the advertising and shop according to your budget, without compromising your health in the process.

In Conclusion

There is no one solution to bringing the cost of eating healthy down. Instead, there are numerous individual ways to approach the problem, some of which may be more impactful than others in certain situations. In a world where food prices are rising across the board, though, every little helps to keeping a healthy diet on the menu.

The post How to Reduce the Cost of Healthy Eating appeared first on Wellbeing Magazine.

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