NEW YORK (WPIX)—It's no secret, for years now obesity has been a big problem plaguing Americans, especially children. Growing food prices, lost jobs, and reduced work hours (perhaps all affected by the recession) certainly don't help the problem.
According to a recent survey conducted by Mintel, a leading market research company, 32% of men and 42% of women think healthy eating is expensive. Open any New York City area grocery circular and there's plenty of reason to agree. For example, a major Long Island City grocery chain has frozen dinners on sale for 99 cents each, a frozen 27 slice cheese pizza (enough to make three meals for a family of four) is $7.99.
Buying produce may never be as cheap as the value menu, or the frozen pizza you throw in the oven. But, there are ways to keep both your stomach and wallet happy.
1) Switch to whole wheat bread and pasta, as well as brown rice . Whole grains are comparable in cost to white bread and white rice. The added advantage is whole grains contain more fiber, which makes you feel fuller.
2) Buy frozen vegetables. They cost much less than fresh and organic vegetables..and the nutritional value is practically the same. The jury is still out on whether organic fresh vegetables are worth the considerably higher cost. Most vegetables are frozen immediately after being picked, which retains both their vitamins and flavor.
3) Eat less meat. Meat is generally the most expensive item on any grocery list. Making just one night a vegetarian night, can have several benefits. Vegetables are low on calories and saturated fat. Just a day or two of a vegetarian diet can also help clean toxins out of your system, and "jump start" a diet if you are looking to lose a few pounds. Tofu, cottage cheese, yogurt, egg whites, and beans are good alternatives that provide protein.
4) Watch soda and other sugary drinks. Next to meat, soda may be taking another big chunk of the average grocery bill. Water is free , and even tea can be a low-cost alternative providing anti-oxidants.
By making a few simple changes to what you buy, your wallet and your health will both thank you.