What Is The Value Of Healthy Food?

November 18, 2012

My Great Uncle used to tell me all the time that there was a big difference between price and value, it was something that he really tried to meld into my moral fabric. Just because something was cheap didn’t mean it was not valuable and just because it was expensive, well that didn’t mean it was really valuable. Basically the moral of his stories were always that price does not determine value, this is especially true when it comes to food. I used to love submarine sandwiches because they were quick, cheap and mostly delicious, I never thought about their value and what I mean by value is that sure, I save some money and time but what did the sub sandwich do for me? Well the ones I liked had upwards of 600 calories with a lot of those from fat not to mention around 40 carbs with almost no fiber or vitamin nutrition. The meat used on it was always heavily processed cold cuts and the condiments were a-plenty. All of that before I added the chips and soda that I just had to have. Basically a whole day’s worth of fat, carbs and sugar in one “meal” plus probably a couple of days worth of sodium. Cheap? Yes. Valuable? No.

As I continue my journey to getting healthier, losing weight and kicking diabetes in the teeth I notice this kind of stuff all the time. While I’m grocery shopping I notice that fresh produce is rarely on any sort of convincing sale. The junk food is always on sale, today I could’ve gotten 4, yes FOUR packages of Oreo cookies (basically about the lowest food possible on a nutritional scale) for $5.00, that is CHEAP! I suspect they were old or something because it was in the clearance section, anyway, no one should ever need four packages of Oreos, maybe in an entire lifetime but there it was. In the produce section meanwhile, the baby spinach was $3.59 for a pretty small container (pre-washed stuff). For about the same price I can get FOUR packages of old Oreos which is about 60 servings of 3 cookies (recommended serving size) or about two servings of healthy spinach… does that make any sense to anyone? Looking at that, is it any wonder why people (including me) are so confused about their health and what they should be eating? Eating healthy while looking at that sort of scale you could go broke eating healthy. It is cheaper to eat non-nutritional crap than it is to eat anything healthy, this is sad.

The conspiracy theorist in me thinks this is just a way to keep the populace too fat and lazy to care about anything else but eating. Eat some sugar, you usually need/want more so the trend just enforces itself. Eat a carrot? Not so much unless you really like carrots. It is great that our country’s food companies have found a product (sugar) that basically makes sure their customers keep coming back for more over and over. It seems like any industry that is truly bad for you (tobacco anyone?) has similar products that do this. Essentially get them hooked young and the product does all the work for you. Like I said though, that’s the conspiracy theorist in me and I don’t listen to him much. I’ve heard reasonable-sounding arguments that we couldn’t feed our population with just healthy food that is grown out there here, that we have to use created foods that don’t really rely on food but chemistry for manufacturing. I hope that’s not really true.

Anyway I don’t have a point to all this other than eating healthy can be more expensive but doesn’t have to be. If you cut out the restaurant trips (like I’ve done) and learn to grocery shop (like I’m trying to do) you can do it. It is tricky but it can be done. If I were smarter I’d start a service that shows people how to do it after I learn how first of course. The economics are against you but I think that with a little effort and focus you can cut through the confusion and eat better. I’m not perfect at it yet but I can tell you from what I’ve learned so far, it is completely worth it. Speaking of economics, check this out:





Look at those prices! Two horrendously bad for you energy drinks for $3.00, that’s only $1.50/piece! What is the real cost though? I suspect a few hundred calories and probably very sugar loaded. You then get to have two bags of combos (I didn’t know those existed anymore) for $4.00 so a little more expensive but you get a bunch of pieces so I suppose that counts for something. Finally, my personal favorite, buy one bottle of Nesquik chocolate milk (340 calories, 58 grams of carbs) and, get this, you get a DONUT for free! A glazed donut has around 400 calories with half from fat and about 40 carbs, at least according to Dunkin’ Donuts . I was never a big donut fan but wow did I enjoy my chocolate milk. Chocolate milk and pop tarts was my favorite “breakfast” when I was in high school, wow do I wish I knew then what I know now and I wish I cared as much as I do now. I ask you now dear readers, how valuable do you think those junk food deals are?



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