Does anyone remember the debate that was raging last summer about how and why underprivileged families could not eat healthy? I am a pretty avid news hound, so to me, this topic was EVERYWHERE!
Below is an info graphic that I posted on my facebook back then, and I believe it was gleaned from the NY Times
This was a topic of hot debate between many of my friends. It ALWAYS struck me as a bit outlandish to say “Poor people can not eat healthy”, but, I always like to be fully informed, so I started doing some digging. First and foremost, the above is a prime example as to how it can be affordable to eat healthy.
I grew up in what would probably by most, be considered middle, middle class, but when I was very young, we definitely had some money issues. (Note, I think so so fondly of my childhood, so I never knew we didn’t have much when I was really little. I thought my parents were awesome and that we were always having the best time!). But, I remember growing black eyed peas, corn, strawberries, and some other miscellaneous stuff in our backyard. I thought it was so cool, and I would routinely go pick stuff off the plants and eat it raw! True story! (did you know you could eat black eyed peas raw??? I ate my little toddler weight in them raw….just popping them right out of the pod!).
So, growing your own produce can be one way to take control of your diet, but seriously, if you WANT to eat healthy, you can. That is my God’s honest opinion, and no one could change my mind on that.
Is an all Organic, hormone free diet probably out of the realm of possibilities for “poor” people? Yes, probably so. But hey, I don’t even stick with that. I’m too frugal….and again, have done a TON of research on where it is wiser to spend your money on organic stuff and where it is pretty much a waste!
One article I came across just now, entitled, 3 Reasons Why The Poor Can’t Eat Healthy, states the following:
1. Junk Food is Cheap.
2. Food Deserts are Real.
3. Less Money Can Mean Less Leisure Time.
Here is what I have to say about the above:
Junk food CAN be cheaper, but the price per ounce is not always so.
In Houston, I really can’t think of anywhere that would be considered a “Food Desert”, I have been all over the city, and I have been in shit hole grocery stores (I lived very close to downtown before and would pop into a crazy and sort of gross grocery store occasionally….mainly because they had the best produce, wouldn’t you know?!), all areas of town, and just don’t know of somewhere that wouldn’t have produce!
Yes, if you have 2 jobs, your cooking time is probably very limited. But fo real….cooking a big ole pot of red beans (and even throwing in some onions, carrots, celery), takes almost NO TIME! I do it all the time…I LOVE home cooked beans.
This is a great graphic too, but I could not get it larger!
I do think what is unreasonable in many articles you find on this topics, is cost per calorie. Of course you’ll get more calories for your money when you are talking about high calorie, processed junk from a fast food joint. But there are definitely healthy choices to be had that are affordable.
MSN has a great slideshow with some of the options located here, and below is a list of what I think personally are some of the greatest options that are, HEALTHY, CHEAP, and QUICK/EASY!
1. Bananas (average $.60/pound)
2. Eggs ($2.00/dozen – great source of healthy protein)
3. Dried beans ($1.40/pound – great source of low fat protein and carbs)
4. Iceberg Lettuce (.90/pound= 1 head)
5. Brown Rice (approx $1.75 a bag, $.18/serving)
6. OATMEAL (I know a ton of your bloggers live on this! $.13/serving, $3-4 per container)
7. Frozen Edamame (protein and vitamins, $2.79/bag)
8. Water from the tap – FREE (I drink almost nothing but water! No soda, no juices, no pre-made drinks, occasional coffee)
9. Apples ($1.40/pound
10. Low Fat Yogurt or Cottage Cheese (both approx $2.50-3/32 oz container.
Much of the prices above came from the US Govs website here.
Some of the other information came from WebMD here.
The fact is, there are a lot of people in our country or are just lazy, and don’t care to think about what is healthy, or care to fight the urges of what they WANT over what they SHOULD eat. Any socioeconomic level can eat decently well if they so choose.