Spending a maximum of 60 euros a week and still living a healthy life, that was the challenge that Brussels MP Hannelore Goemand (SP.A) set himself last week. This as a result of the news that one in three people in Brussels have to make ends meet with that amount for all expenses – from food to relaxation and extra costs. But is healthy eating really more expensive than junk food?
Is It More Expensive To Eat Healthy?
To empathize with the one in three Brussels residents who have to pay 60 euros per week for all expenses, SP.A politician Hannelore Goemand tried the same for a week. Difficult and confronting, the politician told Het Nieuwsblad. “I underestimated it.” In order to save enough money to pay for all the costs, she mainly went back to canned foods and prepared meals in the store. The perception is that healthy eating is simply more expensive. The result: poorer health among people with a low income, the politician suspects.
“Healthy food not unhealthier”
Yet healthy food does not have to be much more expensive. A study by the British Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) about which De Standaard writes shows that healthy food should not necessarily mean an attack on your wallet. For example, skimmed milk is cheaper than full-bodied milk, and the healthiest cereal is often the cheapest because no sugar or special flavors are added to it, so it sounds. The researchers even conclude that healthy food is generally cheaper.
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Pumpkins, carrots, and chicory from the market
How can you lower the price of healthy food? Goemand received a tip from followers on Facebook to buy fresh fruit and vegetables on the market, instead of buying stereotyped cans and frozen preparations in the Aldi. Winter vegetables such as pumpkin, carrots, and chicory were also tipped, which are now the cheapest. Carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, and potatoes are not very pricey, the IEA writes in his research. Meat and fish are more expensive, but you better consume them in moderation.
Poverty and health
The fact that people from lower social classes who have to live with little is unhealthy does not necessarily have to do with the price of healthy food. The IEA does state that it takes a lot of effort and energy to know what is healthy, while those living in poverty already have a lot of stress and headaches. It is therefore very difficult to generate the energy to find out what is healthy and what is not. Going back to prepared food because it saves time and is easy, just a little faster. Also for sports, there is little budget left for lower social classes, resulting in a healthier lifestyle.