Eating Healthy Without Breaking the Bank: a (non-scientific) CAFB experiment – the child-friendly edition
May 21, 2010 § 3 Comments
Last year, we conducted an experiment to answer the question, “Is it true that choosing healthier options is prohibitively expensive for low-income families?” With the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act in peril of losing full funding, and summer vacation from school just around the corner, we decided to do this experiment again with a child-friendly twist. This time, taking many of the comments from last year’s experiment into account, we worked with our Nutrition Education department to come up with a list of foods. We’re also including an organic column when those items were available for purchase and the items met the healthy criteria.
1. The shopping had to be done at a grocery store in a low-income neighborhood, easily accessible to public transportation.
2. The low-cost food was the lowest cost available for that item, regardless of nutrition.
3. The healthy food was the lowest cost for that item. When possible, the item cannot contain artificial ingredients, high fructose corn syrup, or nitrates or preservatives. Grain products must be 100% whole grain or multi-grain.
4. The food must be easily prepared by a child or be child-friendly foods.
|Hamburger Buns||.86||$2.79 (whole grain)|
|Flour Tortillas||.89||$2.78 (whole grain)|
|Sliced Bread||$0.88||$2.50 (whole grain)|
|Waffles||1.39||$2.38 (whole grain)|
|Rice||$0.64 (white)||$0.69 (brown)|
|Spaghetti||$0.82||$1.17 (whole grain)||$1.98|
|Mac & Cheese dinner||$0.50||$1.14 (whole grain)||$1.98|
|Fruit Drink||$1.97||$3.98 (100% juice)|
|Peaches||$0.89 (canned)||$1.97 (fresh)|
|Strawberry Preserves||$1.60||$1.60 (no HFCS)||$2.59|
|Corn||$0.72 (canned)||$0.66 (fresh)|
|Microwave Popcorn||$1.19||$1.19 (low-fat)|
|Hot Dogs||$0.78 (pork)||$3.48 (turkey)|
|Ground Meat||$1.88 (beef)||$3.49 (turkey)|
|Deli Meat Slices||$1.28 (bologna)||$2.99 (turkey breast)|
|Peanut Butter||$1.36||$2.32 (salt and peanuts only)||$4.39|
|Milk||$5.96 (dry non-fat)||$6.19 (skim)||$10.98|
|Bacon||$1.50 (pork)||$2.46 (turkey)|
|Catsup||$0.88||$0.94 (no HFCS)||$2.28|
|Margarine||$0.64||$2.88 (Smart Balance)|
|Healthy and Organic when available||$58.44|
The extra cost of eating healthy: $20.97, or 3.20 hours of minimum-wage work ($6.55 per hour).
The extra cost of eating healthy and organic when available: $31.81, or 4.86 hours of minimum-wage work.