How To Make Healthy Eating Easier On The Wallet? Change The Calculation | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

How To Make Healthy Eating Easier On The Wallet? Change The Calculation

Play associated audio

If you're already a kale and lentils kind of person (we know there are a lot of frugal foodies out there) — you won't be surprised by this finding: According to a new study from some economists at the USDA, eating a healthy diet isn't necessarily more expensive than a diet loaded with sugar and fat. In fact, fruits and vegetables are often cheaper when you calculate the cost in a smarter way.

Cost is often cited as a barrier to eating well. But USDA's Andrea Carlson and her colleagues analyzed the cost of more than 4,000 foods using three different measures: Price per calorie (or food energy), price by weight, and price per average amount consumed.

By using this last measure — which is a good proxy of what actually makes it onto our plate — the news is good.

"We find that fruits and vegetables — especially vegetables — come out much less expensive than the less-healthy food such as potato chips, ready-to-eat cereals [which are] often high in sugar, [and] anything with a lot of fat like cookies and pies." That's because you get more bang — like vitamins and minerals — for the buck.

So how do you do it?

Well, for starters, when you're trying to get the most nutritional and economical benefit in the protein category, think legumes. Lentils and beans are very affordable, and a good alternative to meat.

Also, check sugar labels. For the purposes of this study, lots of foods people may think are healthful actually ended up in the "less-healthful" category because of added sugars. Think yogurts sweetened with jam, sugary cereals and granola bars.

And for veggies: Shop the frozen food aisle. You don't have to consume an entire package in a single use (frozen peas will last weeks). And frozen veggies are just about as nutritious as fresh — with a lot less work on your part.

For the full USDA report, click here.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Team America' Is Benched: Won't Return To Theaters, Reports Say

One day after some U.S. theaters vowed to screen Team America: World Police in the place of The Interview, whose release was canceled, word has emerged that Team America has also been pulled.
NPR

What The Change In U.S.-Cuba Relations Might Mean For Food

The decision to normalize relations is driving all kinds of speculation about American food companies opening up shop in Cuba. But analysts say: Don't expect to see McDonald's there anytime soon.
NPR

Two Of Colorado's Neighbors Sue State Over Marijuana Law

Nebraska and Oklahoma have filed a lawsuit against Colorado with the U.S. Supreme Court, saying that its law legalizing marijuana isn't constitutional.
NPR

North Korea Has Invested Heavily In Cyberattacks

American officials have concluded that North Korea was behind the hack of Sony Pictures Company. Melissa Block talks to James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.