Here’s the article I have been waiting for: Is Junk Food Really Cheaper? For years I have been hearing the same old argument – people can’t afford to eat well. The argument is: fast food and junk food is cheaper, and, who is going to buy a head of broccoli when you can feed the whole family at McDonald’s for the same price? Because this idea has been so well represented in the media everyone just assumes it it true. Even people that don’t eat fast food have swallowed this myth and all of its unsavory implications.
The article above is not the only voice busting this money myth. Slow Foods USA is one of many organizations working nationwide on this issue. Just a few weeks ago they offered a challenge to their members – cook a slow food meal for under $5 per person, for friends, family, and community. Visit their blog and read about the challenges and successes they encountered. Slow food is the opposite of fast food: it’s good for you, good for the farmer, and good for the whole planet. In the words of Josh Viertel, president of Slow Food USA, “Slow food shouldn’t have to cost more than fast food. It’s time we take back the ‘Value Meal.”
I know from my own experience that whole grains, beans, veggies, and fruits are the most cost effective way to eat. Whole foods also fill you up and don’t leave you craving more high calorie, sugar, fat, and salt laden, disease causing fare. I dare you to find a fortified, processed, packaged, “fast “ food that costs less and supplies the same nutrients, phytochemicals, and fiber as a normal head of broccoli.
So now what? Let’s say the excuse of cost is taken off the table. What is keeping us from buying healthier foods? To sum it up – change. Most of us don’t want to be unhealthy, out of shape, sick, or fat. But when faced with what we need to do to educate ourselves and relearn how to cook, eat, and live, we wimp out. And no doubt, these are big shifts in our individual lifestyles and social conventions.
So keep it simple and build up. Next time you go to the grocery store buy something fresh that you would normally pass up because of price, and take a pass on something processed and “convenient”. Do that every time you go to the store and let me know what happens :)