The Real Cost of Eating Good Food
The real cost of food; how eating cheap food affects your nutrition, health and budget.
Every time I hear the comment, “modPALEO is kind of expensive,” I have to chuckle a bit. While I can understand the initial thought, I find it funny because those uttering the statement have clearly not priced out their other options.
As a very busy mother of a family of four, I know we have to budget not only for the countless day to day expenses (field trips, new cleats, braces), but also simultaneously save up for the whopping expense of college (200k per kid – are you kidding me??!!). Needless to say, I am all about cost analysis and trying to get the best deals possible.
As such, I tend to bounce between Costco, Trader Joe’s, Harris Teeter and Whole Foods in my weekly shopping - depending on prices, and the quality of meat, produce, and other pantry staples that I need to buy.
What I have found is this – eating healthy is a bit pricier than following the Standard American Diet (SAD) – shocking, I know. For example, not including specialty cuts, just buying organic chicken breast or organic ground beef will run you between $8.99-13.99 per pound. The prices on the lower end of the spectrum reflect meats that are “generic” organic meats (i.e., you don’t know the farm the animals are from and they are not pasture raised or grass finished), while prices on the higher end reflect meats that are grass fed and finished on a local farm. You get what you pay for.
But that’s just for the meat! Just think about opening a cookbook and buying all of the ingredients for a recipe that you don’t have on hand – various spices and organic produce can really add up. Plan on cooking with coconut oil? That will run you about $10 for a 16oz jar!
Now factor in the time that you will need to plan, shop and cook for your meal. All of the sudden, the dinner that you were planning for Wednesday night got a little pricey and time consuming…just for one meal!
Which brings me to the other thing I don’t think people factor into their cost analysis - the amount of time pre-made meals can save on a daily basis.
In an ideal world I would have time to cook gorgeous and healthy meals for my family every day of the week. And I try – two mornings a week are devoted just to food prep and cooking. But the hairy truth is that sometimes work, and the plethora of kids’ after school activities sometimes get in the way of me being June Cleaver. Far from the apron and pearls, I’m usually a hot mess scrambling to get some nutrition in my family in between Tae Kwon Do and softball games.
This is where modPALEO meals come in - and they are glorious.
The beauty of modPALEO meals is that they are pre-packaged for on-the-go goodness. They are perfect for travel or to take to work – just grab them out of the fridge or freezer to take with you and heat and eat. All you need is a fork and a napkin!
Of course, you could opt for a “cheaper” fast food option, but keep in mind, aside from being the healthier option, the price of a modPALEO meal is right on par with many fast food chains. For example, not including sides or drinks, Subway’s footlong sandwiches average $6-8, a regular sized burger at Five Guys go for $6-8, the whole sandwich offerings at Panera Bread run over $8, and you can expect to pay $6-8 for a dish at Chipotle as well (not including guac, which will run you an extra $2). It’s kind of eye-opening to really look at the cost of fast food because many just assume it’s the cheaper option. But more so than price alone, the real benefit of a healthy modPALEO meal is that you know exactly what the ingredients are and where they came from.
So while spending around $10 a meal may sound a little pricey, if you are someone who prioritizes eating healthy, it’s actually a really good deal. Especially when you consider the fact that eating quality, whole foods can help to keep you healthy – saving you from the various costs associated with sickness and disease.
$4 for coffee at Starbucks on the other hand, now that is expensive!