Most people think it's cheaper to eat prepackaged convenience foods than it is to eat healthy food. "It's expensive to buy good food" is a common complaint. But is that really true?
Probably, if you're comparing cost per calorie, but if you're comparing cost per nutritional value, there's no contest. Healthy food is the better value every time and lets face it, most of us and our kids are not lacking in calorie intake, but getting all of the nutrition we need can be a challenge.
Let's compare two common snacks - a peanut butter cookie and an apple.
Let's say a single cookie and an apple bought in a convenience store both costs about a dollar. You get about 120 calories from the cookie and only 100 calories from the apple so it seems like you're getting a little more for your money with the cookie, right?
Not so fast. Let's compare the nutritional value.
The cookie provides zero vitamin A and zero vitamin C, less than a half a gram of fiber, about 6 grams of unhealthy fat and over 15 grams of added sugars for sweetening.
The apple, on the other hand, provides 75 IUs of vitamin A, 8 mgs of vitamin C, over a gram of fiber, less than half a gram of fat and about 20 grams of natural, healthy, energy-producing fruit sugar (among many other vitamins and nutrients).
It's easy to see the apple provides a lot more nutrition and a lot less unhealthy fat and sugar than the peanut butter cookie, for the same amount of money. And, the apple will provide just as much, if not more, relief from hunger pangs.
Healthy snacks, such as fresh fruits and vegetables or unsalted nuts and seeds, bought in bulk and divided into convenient snack portion sizes make great nutritional and financial sense. Just store them in your refrigerator and pack them into reusable cotton snack bags to take with you whenever you venture away from home.
Buying in bulk saves you money. Doing your own preparation and packaging of snacks saves you money. Packing snacks in reusable snack bags saves a small fortune in plastic baggies and helps to also protect the environment. But that's not all.
According to the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health, the standard American diet of fast, fat and fried foods is responsible for killing three out of every four Americans every year. The American junk food diet greatly contributes to our national epidemic of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and certain forms of cancer.
By packing healthy snacks for your eco-friendly lunch products, you'll be taking care of your own health and pocketbook while also contributing to lower health care costs for you and your family well into in the future.
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