The Cost of Healthy Dieting

As a personal trainer I have come across many people who make countless excuses as to why they haven’t, or in their opinion, can not succeed in terms of living a healthy lifestyle. Not enough time to workout, not enough money to afford a gym pass, not enough energy to be active, the list goes on. One of the most common excuses I hear is that related to healthy dieting. When I speak of healthy dieting, be mindful, I am referring to dieting in terms of making healthy eating choices and not starving yourself or getting on a celery diet for a week. Many people say that the reason they can not eat healthier foods is simply because healthier foods is significantly more expensive than unhealthy foods. They claim that the cost of eating healthy is too much, therefore they are forced by finances to eat unhealthy. I decided I would do research on Louisiana State University’s campus in order to see why this may be.

I began my research by creating polls that asked four questions pertaining to what the participants were eating, where they were eating and what they thought about eating healthy. The results of my poll of 100 students showed that 64% of them agreed that healthy foods were significantly more expensive than unhealthy foods. On the other hand 36% disagreed and thought that healthy dieting was not significantly more expensive. This made me realize that according to my sample many people believe this statement to be true that healthy foods are just too much to afford.

Question two asked the participants what played the most important role in their grocery shopping decisions. The results of this showed price to be the biggest role for 45% of people. The taste of the food was the most important for 30% of people. The healthiness of the food was most important for 18% of people and convenience was most important for 7% of people. These results showed that although people believe healthy food is more expensive, they base what they buy on the price and the taste of the food before looking at healthiness. Question three asked the participants how often they ate fast food in a week. The results showed that 40% of people ate fast food 3-5 times per week, 7% of people ate fast food over 6 times per week, and 32% ate fast food 1-2 times per week, and 15% ate fast food less than 1 time per week. This information told me that the majority of people ate 3-5 meals from fast food places per week. The last question I asked played a huge role in my research. I asked participants how often they cooked their meals that didn’t include instant foods. The results of this question showed that an overwhelming 55% of participants only cooked 1-2 meals a week. To add to this 34% of participants only cooked 3-4 times per week, 3% cooked 5-6 times per week, and 11% cooked over 7 times per week. These results showed me that the majority of participants did very little cooking other than instant foods such as Ramen Noodles or Kraft Easy Mac.

From my data I collected I was able to determine that based on my participants, although the majority claimed that healthy food was more expensive, the healthiness of the food came third in the list of importance when grocery shopping. Also I was able to determine that the majority of the participants didn’t cook their own food and ate fast food 3-5 times per week. With the majority of people not cooking and eating fast food 3-5 times per week the cost of eating healthy would be more expensive. If you do not know how to cook trying to find healthy instant food would be a challenge in itself much less trying to find healthy instant food at a good price. On the other hand, if you know how to cook, it is much cheaper to buy grocery and prepare meals that are healthy and save money in the long run with left overs.

Many people get caught up in the gimmick that is Whole Foods and believe that the only place to get healthy foods is a place called Whole Foods. You don’t have to shop at Whole Foods in the organic aisle to be healthy, despite what many people think. Eating healthy is a matter of making good decisions over poor ones. For instance a 21 oz box of Cheerios is $3.98 and a 20.5oz box of Lucky Charms $4.18, one is a healthy choice the other is not. Another example would be Quaker’s Instant Oatmeal over Poptarts. PopTarts are $3.68 for 8 packs of 2 and oatmeal is $3.65 for 22 packets. I could literally do this all do. A McDonald’s Big Mac combo is approximately 7$ while a 4lb bag of chicken breast is the same price. A Hot N’ Ready Little Caesars Pizza is $5.45 but a rotisserie chicken from Walmart is $4.95. We have healthy choices all around is if we are willing to look for them. A bag of frozen vegetables is $1.98 while a bag of chips is $2.00. The only time unhealthy foods are more expensive is when you are eating out and because that seems to be where the majority of people are eating their meals, they blame their poor eating habits on price. You can find healthy foods almost anywhere and you don’t have to be rich to do so. In some instances healthy foods may be more but not as significant as people claim they are.

In conclusion I think that people believe that healthy foods are more expensive because they are not preparing the food themselves. With health not being a top priority when it comes to eating, people probably won’t be inclined to eating healthy. If you enter a grocery store and first look for cheap food, then look for what is good and cheap that you do not have to cook. Chances are you won’t find very healthy foods in that aisle, and you probably won’t throw away your first two criteria for the third which is healthiness. People are buying what is cheap, good, and instant. This is the source of the problem that can only be adjusted by the actions of the consumers.

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A Short Healthy Eating Guide For A Healthier Life

Eating healthy foods can help lengthen lifespans, decrease risk of chronic diseases and increase physical and mental well-being. Foods for healthy eating can be really delicious, and there are plenty of simple food recipes out there for a good, healthy diet. If you’ve got specific dietary condition, you should see a doctor for a healthy food list tailored to your needs. This healthy eating guide presumes no special dietary requirements.

Try to match your calorific intake to the energy you use. While the odd exception won’t be problematic, you can’t eat Christmas recipes every day. Normally women use about 2000 calories a day and men use 2500.

Healthy recipes use less saturated fats and more unsaturated fats. Roughly speaking, saturated fats are fairly solid at room temperature and unsaturated fats are liquid. Seeds and nuts are great for healthy nutrition party because they contain healthy oils: similarly oily fish can be a starting point for healthy, easy recipes.

For a good healthy diet try to eat complete proteins. Animal proteins are usually complete, but also contain a lot of saturated fats which people keeping healthy foods diets should avoid. To get complete proteins from plant sources pair a grain (such as rice, wheat or oats) with a pulse (such as beans, lentils or chickpeas). A more comprehensive healthy food list for pairing can easily be found in an online or print healthy food guide. This combo is so good it’s used in simple food recipes around the world, like Jamaican rice ‘n’ beans and Indian dal with rice. There are Middle Eastern healthy, easy recipes combining wheat (in couscous, bulgur and bread) and chickpeas (e.g. houmous, falafel) which make great diet foods for healthy eating.

A healthy foods diet avoids sugary foods and drinks. Even too much 100% fruit juice can be bad for you, because simple sugars are less healthy than carbohydrates like starch. Diet foods and healthy snacks tend to be low in sugar, so that can be a safer bet. Instead of processed foods, eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, which can be used in healthy, easy recipes from any good healthy food guide.

It doesn’t matter how many meals you eat a day: this differs between cultures and time periods. However, consistency is important to avoid feeling hungry and if hungry between meals eat healthy snacks. Avoid missing breakfast too, because slow-release energy helps get you through work or school.

Speaking of school, it can be hard keeping track of kids’ healthy nutrition. School dinners might not always use healthy recipes, but healthy kids’ snacks are out there. With a lunch-box and a healthy eating guide they’ll be eating healthy foods in no time.

Promote a Healthy Diet for Your Children at Home and at School

Children are likely to eat the same as their parents. As parents, you can be a positive role model for healthy eating. By purchasing and preparing nutritious balanced meals, you can establish a healthy diet at home.

A healthy environment at home is a good start, but the kids take most of their meals at school. By sending your kids to school with nutritious lunches and encouraging healthy choices for school events, you can also help to create a healthy nutritional environment in schools.

The offering healthy foods at school improves student learning. Research shows that children who have a healthy diet are:

• more willing to learn; 
• more likely to achieve better results at school; 
• less likely to have chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer.

The government is working with schools, educators and parents to encourage healthy eating at school. In April 2008, the Act on Healthy Food for Healthy Schools was passed to make schools healthier learning environments. By working together and making all our part, we can help our children to make healthier choices.

Create a healthier school environment

The idea supporting the Act on Healthy Food for Healthy Schools is to help children make healthier food choices. This means that healthy and tasty foods should be made available to children in schools.

In September 2011, the Ontario schools will implement the policy on food and beverages in schools. It provides guidance on the types of foods that can be sold in school cafeterias, vending machines and at school events. Policy helps schools determine which foods they can or can not sell.

Your children need YOU

Wherever possible, try to participate in the school life of your child, making sure that the foods offered in the school are healthy. Make your voice heard. Here are some ideas:

• Talk to your child and tell him why healthy foods are important in school and why some food he could buy during the previous school year are no longer available. 
• Prepare lunches and healthy snacks to school with your child. 
• Join a parent / teacher committee to help make good decisions on proposed school food. 
• Opt for healthy recipes at bake sales and fundraisers with the proposed ideas Bake it Up!(English only).

What can you do to encourage healthy eating?

The Policy on food and beverages in schools covers only food sold at school. It does not apply to meals from home. Does this mean that you should not put anything in any lunch box for your child? No, especially if you encourage healthy eating! It is important to be consistent and to provide healthy meals for your children at home and at school. This will allow them to learn to make healthy choices for food.

At the grocery store:

Choose products from the four food groups of Canada’s Food Guide.

Go shopping with your children to teach them to make good choices. They can learn the value of food, provenance and revenue opportunities.

Teach your children to read food labels. Watch these videos on nutrition labeling with your children.

During the preparation of lunch:

Involve your children in the selection and preparation of food. When children are involved in meal preparation, they are more likely to consume.

Get creative! Use cookie cutters to make sandwiches fun shapes, make fruit kebabs and pastries offer whole grain low fat. Read the FAQ Prepare lunches and healthy snacks for students for more ideas.

During the meal:

Eat together as often as possible. Children who eat with their parents (at least four times per week) tend to eat more fruits and vegetables, have a higher fiber intake, eat less fried foods and drink less soda.

They are also less prone to being overweight or obese.

Be a good role model. When you make healthy food choices for yourself, you teach your children to eat healthily.

In conclusion:

Promote healthy eating by helping to feed your children at school and at home. Bring the kids to the grocery store, prepare healthy meals and encourage healthy activities in school. As a model for your children, you must teach them healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime.