Scott from Straight to the Bar asked on his website whether or not a healthy diet is expensive. My answer to him is that it depends, but generally no, it is not.

This morning I stumbled upon a map indicating the states of the US which have the largest obesity problems. These states, not coincidentally, are also home to a large percentage of the country’s poorer families; who have developed an inexpensive, high fat diet over the years.

It seems to be a commonly held belief that healthy diets are automatically more expensive than others […]

As Scott is discovering, I believe that a healthy diet is generally less expensive, despite the commonly held belief that he is referring to. A healthy diet is going to be heavier on fruits and vegetables than a high fat diet, and the foods that are eaten on a regular basis will have been refined and processed less and so should be available at a lower cost. Healthier foods also lend themselves to better portion control which will lead to less eating over all.

The example that Scott pointed out, where the states with the largest obesity problems are also the states with the poorer folks on average, is not due to the mean income. I have not done any sort of study, but my operating assumption there is that the problem lies with a lack of education about how to eat in a healthy manner rather than the fact that people could not afford to buy the foods.

I think that the misconception that eating healthier is more expensive is due to the organic food craze, where you can buy the exact same thing as “normal” food except for twice or thrice the price. A $1 bundle of broccoli might cost $3 if it is organic broccoli, for example. The thing is, though, that most of the time those foods are really necessary to eat a healthy diet.

I have previously posted some healthy recipes of foods that do not cost much to make and provide a good nutritional element to the diet. As of right now, I have talked about how to make ghoulash (which, coincidently, I am making for dinner tonight), beef jerky (which I am out of and need to make more of), and roasted vegetables (which Scott introduced to me and I have been making since). I really need to post some more recipes at some point in the near future.

The point, though, is that low-cost but healthy foods and meals can be worked into your diet. A healthier eating style can be more expensive, but not for a frugal shopper and somebody who takes a few minutes to learn what they are about.