The Economic Research Service (ERS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released a report examining the costs of a healthful diet and the authors found eating well may not be as expensive as previously thought.
Earlier research has shown that healthy foods cost more when broken down by cost per calorie; in other words, an apple provides less calories than a bag of candy, but if both were the same price, the apple would appear to be more expensive in that you’d pay more per calorie for it than the sweets.
What’s different about the new report is the authors measured food costs in a novel way – they looked at the cost of food per portion usually eaten and found this changes the picture dramatically. In fact, the report shows healthy foods are indeed less expensive than less healthy options and it may be less costly than assumed to meet MyPlate guidelines.
Additionally, grains were shown to be among the most affordable of the food groups. The authors found that meeting the daily MyPlate requirements for grains, fruit and dairy costs less than meeting the protein and vegetable requirements.
This is clearly wonderful news for anyone trying to eat well on a budget and the report debunks a commonly held misperception that healthy foods cost more. As you go about planning your balanced diet, be sure to check out all the affordable, healthy recipes available on our website.