“Unhealthy people are poor people… and vice versa.” This is a title of a 2002 report from Columbia University. There are many reasons that poor people are unhealthy, but the number one reason is that they can’t afford and don’t have access to healthy food.
Let’s face it. A 2 liter bottle of store brand soda costs $.69. Meanwhile, a gallon of orange juice costs $3.69. A large bag of potato chips cost $2.00. A small bag of banana chips cost $3.00. A Donut costs $.35. A mango costs $1.00. A coffee cake costs $3.69 and a fresh fruit salad costs at least $5.00. You can get hot dogs for $1.00 a pack, and an equal amount of steak costs $4.00. A poor person is more likely to purchase the less expensive item that will fill tummies than buy less health foods that will be nutritious but leave behind stomach pangs.
Unfortunately, frugal people make the same mistakes as poor people and tend to purchase inexpensive boxed foods instead that they can get for next to nothing with coupons, and bypass more expensive and more healthy options.
So what exactly started this rant? I took a trip to Trade Joes today with a new acquaintance and came out surprised that I hadn’t really spent that much money. I had stopped buying organic foods when the economy and our budgets hit rock bottom a couple of years ago. As I remarked my happiness about the reasonable prices, my friend mentioned a story she had heard about a professor who was teaching med students to eat healthy.
The students had been challenged to buy food for 5 days with only $17.00 while making healthy choices, and they were actually quite successful. As I pondered over this idea, I had to agree. You could spend $1.00 a day of fresh fruit, which would give you a few pieces a day, plus make a large pot of very low cost-high impact meals like beans and rice, and chicken soup that would last an entire week.
Yes, it can really be done!