Why it pays to eat healthy
For many Americans, eating “healthy” has become a priority, whether for weight loss, disease control or prevention, or just doing right by your body. But often the cost of choosing to buy organic, making healthier menu choices, or just taking the time to read labels and cook at home can feel like a big job, and take a financial toll. Yet eating healthy can be helpful in the long term by reducing your healthcare costs.
Obesity costs the US healthcare system nearly $173 billion a year, and healthier people tend to pay less.1 A good diet can help reduce the need for frequent medical visits, lower pharmaceutical bills, and help eliminate sick days away from work. A strong bill of health can curtail insurance premiums, too.
Furthermore, it doesn’t have to cost your whole paycheck. Here are five simple ways to help develop a diet that trims your waistline and healthcare costs.
Eat at home
Even when the cost of many grocery items is rising, it’s still generally more affordable to eat at home than go out. Restaurant bills have been increasing, largely due to higher labor costs and supply chain issues resulting from the pandemic.2 Additionally, when you cook at home, you’re in control of the amount of butter, oils, and other weight-inducing ingredients in each dish. Plus, you can control the size of your portions.
Don’t shop while hungry
We’ve all been there, right? You stop by the grocery store at the end of a long day, and your cravings for all things sweet and salty take over. It’s understandable, but filling up a shopping cart under the influence of hunger adds unnecessary costs and calories. Instead, grab a yogurt or a piece of fruit before you dive into the aisles. It’s also good to stick to a grocery list while you shop.
Go to the farmers market – and negotiate
At the farmers market, behind the towering piles of beets and carrots, you’ll find a local farmer who grew everything on the table. Not only is eating fresh produce in season great for your health, it’s kind to your wallet, too. The changing harvest reflects the simple principle of supply and demand. For example, when the tomatoes come in, they’re plentiful. As a result, prices are typically very reasonable due to the ample supply. Also, farmers are motivated to sell their produce; it’s perishable, after all. See if you can negotiate a deal that works well for you and the grower.
Join a CSA (Community-supported agriculture)
Another great option for your health, and for your local farmer, is to consider purchasing a share in a CSA. Here’s how it typically works: Customers pay for months of farm-fresh food before the harvest season begins. (The pre-season price usually comes at a steep discount.) Then, as seasonal foods become available, the farmer delivers a weekly harvest box to CSA members. For farmers, selling CSA shares is a way to crowdsource funding for the year’s planting. For healthy eaters, buying a CSA share brings a bounty of amazing food to your home every week. And if it proves to be too much for your household to consume, you can share with friends and neighbors.
Drink water. All the time. And then drink some more. If you live in an area with good quality tap water, this can cost you zero and be one of the biggest factors in helping to improve your health. Not to mention if you chug H20 instead of high-priced, high-sugar alternatives, your weight will likely decrease while your bank balance increases!
Eating well is fundamental to healthy living. Just like in our financial life, it takes a plan, but it’s worth the effort. When we eat better, we look better and feel better. A good diet can help improve our long-term financial outlook, too, as we go into the future with greater confidence.
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2022-144759 Exp. 10/2024