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Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Price of Healthy Food

I stopped at the convenience store a couple of nights ago.  I needed gas for the car and there’s a convenience store right on the site.  I needed milk and the price for 4 l of milk (if you are Canadian, you know the bag of 3 smaller bags of milk) is cheaper than what I find in the grocery store. 

As I was waiting to pay, there was a bunch of displays for what is often called ‘impulse buys’: chocolate bars, candies, chewing gum, as well as a very large freezer full of frozen treats: ice cream bars; frozen juice bars; etc. The luxury ice cream bar (premium ice cream covered in thick milk chocolate) costs the same price as my 4 liters of milk.  What? I could drink milk for more than a week for the same price as one ice cream bar that would be gone in minutes?!  This is crazy!

This is just one of many examples where healthy food, if bought carefully, is cheaper than unhealthy food.  Compare the cost of a bag of apples (about $4) with two large bags of chips (about $4); the apples are much healthier and will last longer than the bags of chips (if both are eaten every day).  Another easy one is a dozen eggs (just over $2) compared with toaster pastries (about the same or slightly less): the eggs pack more protein and vitamins than the sugar-iced carb-loaded pastries; the eggs will last longer than the pastries if both are eaten for breakfast at the same frequency.

So what’s the catch? Well, apples can often seem less fun than potato chips; it’s easier to put two pastries in the toaster than to cook eggs.  An ice cream bar is WAY more appealing than 4 l of milk on many days!

So, is there a moral here? Yes, of course!  When going food shopping, buy all the healthy food you need for the week first; if there is any money left, then buy a treat, not the other way around!

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