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15 comments

My Opinion

Is eating healthy only for the wealthy?

I don’t believe I have ever seen a television commercial for broccoli. We have commercials for eggs and milk, but not broccoli, carrots, spinach or any vegetable. Why?

Is eating healthy only for the wealthy?Foods advertised during prime time television are mostly junk. And, although the government has taken steps to educate, by changing the confusing Food Pyramid, why are Nutrition Labels still touting “serving size” and not portions, or fractional “plate” amounts as shown in the new MyPlate image? How much — roughly — is a serving size, anyway?

Eating healthy should not be this mysterious. It does make you wonder, is America anti-healthy eating? And why is healthy food so not easily accessible? How can middle income families afford to feed themselves — and their children — healthy food?

Is eating healthy only for the wealthy? I asked the following for their opinion

Jay Blotcher: Publicist, The Culinary Institute of America
Problem: Education
This is a myth that only shortchanges our health. Vegetables still cost less than the big bags of over-processed potato chips or Cheez-Whiz or other gustatory insults perpetrated on Americans by food companies. And if you think that the price tag on junk food seems reasonable now, think about the price tag for your triple bypass down the road after decades of eating processed food! Alas, we are less educated about nutrition these days and reach for shiny packages and large-sized portions. Yet healthy fruits, vegetables and meats are within our reach, no matter what our income level is. It just takes time for seeking out these options. The payoff is better tastes and better health.

John Wetmore: Producer, “Perils For Pedestrians
Problem: Accessibility
The shortage of full-fledged grocery stores and other places to buy fresh fruits and vegetables in low-income neighborhoods has been a concern for a number of groups promoting physical activity and good nutrition. look at the WalkScore map of Washington, DC. for example. The neighborhoods east of the Anacostia, which are low income neighborhoods are heavily dependent on walking and transit, have fewer things within walking distance than many other parts of the city. This includes a lack of good grocery stores. So, how much of the problem is affordability? How much is access? How much is poor education as to what constitutes good nutrition? Or a tradition of eating fatty fried foods rather than fruits and vegetables? Each one of these causes requires a different strategy. [Note from Stefan: John is referring to what is commonly called “food deserts.”]

Christopher Anderson: Chef
Problem: Education
People in today’s society are confused about nutrition, especially with all the diet trends and products people are exposed to. Most people work a 40+ hour work week and find it hard to find time to fit shopping and cooking into their daily routine and look for convenience. Cooking has become a lost art to a lot of people thanks to fast food. If you asked a hundred people what swiss chard, quinoa, spelt or delicata squash is, how many people would be able to tell you what it is and how to cook it?  I’m sure I could count them on one or two hands.

Alisa Fleming: Author, Go Dairy Free
Problem: Education
The notion that healthy eating is expensive is a notion which seems to be largely perpetuated by the processed food industry. Many Americans attempt to define healthy eating as goji berries and expensive convenience foods. A dinner of baked chicken and steamed vegetables takes less than thirty minutes to make, and can be made in large quantities with ease to pack into lunches.

Andrea Torng: Blogger and author, LA Easy Meals
Problem: Education
Food can be expensive, but it is definitely more expensive to eat out everyday. In addition to my one poultry of the week, the rest of the grocery budget goes to fresh fruits and vegetables. Sometimes, if I’m under budget, I’ll grab a couple treats or allot the money to spend for the next week. I can’t live without greek yogurt, which is extremely costly, but I have found not making it a daily food can cut my costs down a lot. Instead, I buy two per week and find something else to eat as a snack. I treat them more as a special treat now that I don’t pile a whole week’s worth of yogurt in my shopping cart.

  • I don’t think it’s necesarily more expensive to buy produce, vegetables, and fruits at all. It takes a bit of diligence to make sure the supply is maintained, which is a bit more work than buying storable junk food or buying fast food. But, over time, really not more expensive, and yes, so much better health.

    Tim Swanson

    9:41 am
    22/03/2013

  • I am impressed with quotes of the Jay Blotcher. He said that eating food is now a days becoming unhealthy. This analysis gives Health Tips to the people to consume the healthiest food.

    Health Tips

    7:08 am
    14/04/2012

  • […] Is eating healthy only for the wealthy? « Fat to Fit by Stefan Pinto […]

    Jason fernandez | Indussupplies

    10:05 am
    03/04/2012

  • ***Great Article***

    Gilbert Cervantes

    1:27 am
    02/01/2012

  • Yes

    Rich Sobel

    3:32 am
    08/11/2011

  • This is thought provoking. Healthy food costs more if not in dollars in time. It takes time to find and learn how to prepare meals that are healthy. Even if vegetables are not as much as a box of Oreos it still will take the average American more time to figure out how to cook a healthy meal. We like our prepared burgers and our healthcare benefits.

    Jameson

    3:31 am
    08/11/2011

  • Hi Stefan. I’m a student at Miami Dade and would like permission to use some of the content from this post for a research paper. I will send you an email.

    Jason Fernandez

    8:45 pm
    07/11/2011

  • Clearly an education problem. Sad that so many schools are cutting back. Is there even a nutrition class in high school anymore?

    Michael H

    3:51 pm
    05/11/2011

  • I think people have a habit of grabbing bad food choices. Fruits and veggies are as easy to grab as chips and cookies. However fruits and veggies must be eaten within a timeframe whereas packaged food can sustain a longer shelf life. Grocery stores do not want produce to go to waste, so they more than likely stock longer shelf items. I feel eating fruits and veggies takes more of a conscious choice because people are so use to mindlessly eating junk food while driving, watching tv, hanging out with friends, etc. People also do not realize or care how the chemicals in some of the processed foods harm their bodies. They do not relate to the fact that they may feel fatigue, suffer from headaches, have lower immunities, etc. from this. Even though I believe in nutritional education, many people will not change unless they have desire to do so. Often that desire comes with a life threatening health issue that is the final wakeup call.

    Barbara

    1:34 pm
    04/11/2011

  • It feels better when you eat healthy food. Maybe it doesn’t have to be as much as you eat but I know when I don’t stick to my healthy diet I don’t feel the same. I know how you eat healthy and I admire you for sticking to your meals. But you don’t have to be anywhere as healthy as you to still eat healthy. It is not difficult :-)

    Simone Cruz

    8:49 pm
    03/11/2011

  • Great article Stefan! I’ve been feeding my family a healthy diet for the past two years. Yes, times are getting tough and what I used to get for $100 in groceries is probably half the amount. But I don’t think I could feed my family if I were stocking up on expensive sugary breakfast cereals and eating out at fast food restaurants and theme places. It takes work, but I think once you get the hang of it, it really isn’t that hard. Thanks for your great articles.

    Mackenzie

    8:47 pm
    03/11/2011

  • If you want to eat healthy and never have you will have to learn how

    Ben Raworth

    8:34 pm
    03/11/2011

  • Whatever is easy is how people operate. It’s a psychology thing. Education is important for people to know what options are avaialble.

    Xavier Levy

    8:32 pm
    03/11/2011

  • I think it’s clear that eating healthy is more about education than budget. Even if the argument about time being a factor it all boils down to planning which really is education. If you want to do something you find a way to do it. If you don’t know how, you learn.

    Janice W

    8:30 pm
    03/11/2011

  • Hello cuz!
    You probably are unaware but I have been attempting to master this daunting task for years! Ryan and I have four growing boys, one of which has been diagnosed with adhd. We made a concious decision years ago that medicating anyone under the age of 18 that does not harm themselves or others, was not an option.
    By educating myself about the modern american diet, or as i like to call it the donut and cheese burger diet, we have made the following changes.
    Being a stay at home mom has enabled me to have the time to feed my family well (and I’m not just talking about feeding their bodies). Ryan is in wisconsin hunting right now and will return with about 6 months supply of free range venison. We keep chickens and will no longer need to buy eggs or poultry. I prepare recipes out of Ryan’s 92 year old Grandmothers’ cookbook as most of the recipes have less than 6 ingredients and do not call for any “food like chemical substances”. I stay away from “white” food, preservatives and processed foods. We buy conventional and organic veggies. I have learned to buy and eat in season!
    Since the begginning of the year I have lost 15lbs and plan to lose a lot more but most importantly, my “adhd” child just made the honor roll for the first time! (I creid)
    We are not rich. We are not even middle class. I refrain from using the word “poor” not out of pride but out of a global awareness. I am grateful that my whole family understands and appreciates the important benefit of healthy diet and lifestyle!

    terrella pinto van ryzin

    8:04 pm
    03/11/2011

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