The cost of eating healthy

Screenshot 2017-04-20 19.29.54Obesity is a major problem in the United States. More than two-in-three adults are overweight or obese, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and more than one in 20 adults are considered to be extremely obese.

Recovering from being overweight or obese is hard enough without financial barriers, but for Americans without much financial support, it can be almost impossible.

According to Politifact, 43.6 million people are on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps. SNAP benefits can be broken down to about $4 per day to purchase food, or $136.40 per month. What can $136.40 per month buy you?

I went shopping on Stop and Shop’s website and made a grocery list with a SNAP budget. My list, including prices, is below.

This list includes enough chicken and ground beef for 59 meals. It includes enough pasta for 40 meals. With four heads of iceberg lettuce, you could make 16 salads (eating a quarter of a head per salad, but even more if you want less lettuce). The frozen vegetables will last about 52 meals.

Are you wondering about breakfast? Well, with $15 left in the budget, you could buy 15 gala apples at $0.99 each, two or three packs of a dozen eggs at $1.59 each, a bunch of bananas for two dollars each, or any combination thereof.

On the other hand, on the McDonald’s Menu, $4.40 can get you two Chicken Ranch Snack Wraps, four Grilled Onion Cheddar Burgers, four cheeseburgers, three McDoubles, two Bacon McDoubles, or four BBQ Ranch Burgers, all off the Value Menu. If you’re in the mood for a meal, $4.40 could get you two 2 Cheeseburgers Value Meals or one BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich Value Meal. That’s barely one day of eating.

When you break it down, eating healthy (or at least semi healthy) is, more often than not, cheaper than going out for fast food. My list includes plenty of vegetables and healthy proteins. It’s just a question of following serving sizes. Then, too, Stop and Shop is one of the more expensive grocery stores. If you shop at local farm stands or less expensive grocery stores like Aldi or ShopRite, you can get even lower prices.

Moral of the story, even on SNAP, eating healthy and losing weight is possible.

By Lindsey Allen

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