Obesity is sometimes blamed on the high price of healthy foods compared to junk food.
But it may be time to stop complaining.
The USDA’s economic research service has put together a handy presentation showing the cost-per-portion of everything you’d ever want to munch on — and how to max out your healthy snack bang per buck.
To our surprise, muffins are the costliest food on the list:
The USDA offers some examples of how cheap it can be to replace unhealthy goodies with healthier ones:
- a 1-ounce chocolate chip cookie with ¼ cup of dried raisins saves 14 calories and costs an additional 3 cents;
- 4.1 ounces of ready-to-eat pudding with ½ cup of baby carrots saves 130 calories and 19 cents;
- 1.1 ounces of potato chips with ½ cup of strawberries saves 142 calories and costs an additional 14 cents.
But here’s what they really want you to know:
Substituting a fruit or vegetable for another type of snack food could increase fruit and vegetable consumption and help reduce childhood obesity. The Produce for Better Health Foundation reports that most mothers are aware that their families do not consume enough fruits and vegetables and are interested in new ways to incorporate these foods into their children’s diets.
The perception that fruits and vegetables are expensive may be a barrier to replacing foods and vegetables for other snacks. But the reality is that many fruits and vegetables are no more expensive per portion than many popular snack foods. For any given household, the actual impact on both calories and food costs will depend on the snack foods consumed by children, the fruits and vegetables used as replacements, the amounts consumed, and prices paid for each food. The results of this analysis, however, show that replacing less healthy snack foods with fruits and vegetables does not have to compromise a household’s food budget.
No more excuses, guys.