01/25/2016 03:20 pm ET Updated Jan 25, 2017

Is Eating Healthy Really More Expensive?

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"Care for, nourish, and love your body. It's yours for life. ~Margaret Marshall

It's expensive to eat, but it is more cost effective to choose your food wisely.

Your eating affects everything from your health to your level of success. What you choose to eat can dictate moods, relationships, and lifestyle. So why do people complain about the cost of healthier, nutritious, options?

In my years of presenting training or seminars and workshops, and working with my clients, this question or comment always arises: "Why is the price of lettuce so high, and have you seen the price of tomatoes, bananas, etc?" I grocery, shop too. I see the prices and I make choices from available food items. But as I walk through the grocery store I also notice others' shopping carts. Some carts are loaded with cookies and sugary boxes of cereal. The carts hold ice cream, boxed cakes, individual drink pouches, or chips. I watch people walk up and down an aisle just grabbing items from the shelf. I'll also see others who can barely walk, due to their size, filling their carts with this type of food, and I think...those poor eating patterns are just too expensive, in so many ways:

  1. Eating and drinking food that is loaded with sugar and artificial sweeteners will cause you to eat more. You'll continue to eat because this food does not nourish you. Not only are you paying the high sticker price on these items, but because you eat large quantities you purchase them more frequently. Much of the high priced, so called diet food also contain artificial sweeteners, leading you to eat more.
  2. Eating high-priced, processed, or sugary food can cause a multitude of illnesses leading to time off from work, or costly health care bills.
  3. Eating these food items add excess weight. As you pack on the pounds you could retreat from an active life, sever relationships, and never achieve your full potential, resulting in lost income.

You may say, "This sounds extreme," or "This is not me," but I've watched this happen to others. There are no guaranties in life, but while we're here, why not be the healthiest we can be? If that means you pay a higher price for lettuce or tomatoes at certain times of the year, then that's what you do.

My definition of healthy eating, as stated in Body, Mind, & Mouth...Life's Eating Connection is: "Eating food that is enjoyable to you, in the quantity that is good for you." This means the fruit and vegetables you find enjoyable can be eaten in a larger quantity than the chocolate cake you find enjoyable that should be eaten in a much smaller quantity. It means that you don't deprive yourself but you learn to make choices congruent with your desired results. It also means your grocery cart is full of the food that nourishes you, and less or none of the food with no nourishment. In the grand scheme, it cost you less.

  1. When you eat food that is nourishing, you eat less because you are giving your body the nutrients it requires and you are satisfied with smaller portions.
  2. When you eat smaller portions, you eat less, and need to purchase less.
  3. The cravings for sugary items will subside and there will not be a need to purchase them often.
  4. You'll find you have more energy and stamina to fulfill your daily tasks and reach your full potential.
  5. You may even find you can live medication-free, saving money at the pharmacy.

This list can go on, and I'm sure you can add to it. I would ask you to. The more you realize that choosing your food wisely is preventive medicine, the healthier you can be.

If the price of fresh, nutritious food in your grocery store upsets you, learn to shop seasonally. I ask my clients to shop for what's in season in their part of the country. Those items will have a lesser price tag, and be fresher than items being shipped a long distance.

In conclusion, when I am asked by an attendee at my seminars or workshops, "Why is the price of lettuce so high?" I have to respond with, "What is the price of your favorite box of cookies?" What's amazing is, the answer is always, "I don't know." Funny how people can complain about the price of lettuce, yet have no idea about the sticker price on other items, nor have they considered the long term effects of these items, and the cost of an unhealthy lifestyle.