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?
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
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”
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
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
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
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.