This meme has been going around on Facebook and it has gotten a lot of attention.
According to this whiny Tumblr post, it is cheaper to eat fast food burgers than salads. It also implies that food prices are the root cause of obesity in America when that is simply not the case.
If people were truly worried about the cost of their meals, they would put the effort into looking into alternative places to grocery shop. Of course, you can make the case that buying healthy foods are expensive if you go to stores like Target, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. If you really wanted to buy affordable healthy foods, you would look for Farmers’ Markets and local grocery stores. If you can’t find a local Famers’ Market, most grocery stores accept coupons for the type of food you are looking for. You can buy a head of lettuce for 62 cents to $2.44. You can get a pound of eggplants from $1 to $5. You can get a 4 pack of low-fat yogurt for $3. Most fresh fruits are priced between $1.50 to $3.00 per pound, this applies to most vegetables as well.
You may feel as though you are spending more when you are at the store, but if you actually tally it up you notice that buying the healthy food from the grocery store is cheaper than a fast food store. Let’s use myself as an example, some weeks I am too lazy to actually make it to the grocery store and eat out instead. When eating out each meal can cost anywhere from $5 to $14. So in a 7-day week that means that I have spent $105 to $294 in food alone (three meals a day). If I wanted to be fiscally conservative with my money, which happens occasionally, I would go to the grocery store and buy enough food for one or two weeks. An ideal grocery list for a college student would look like this.
You can buy chicken from $2.96 to $8.99 per pound, chickpeas 9.03 for 16 oz, and a pound of salmon for $4. A carton of eggs hovers around $2, 32 oz. tub of Greek yogurt costs $4.00,and a carton of Almond milk ranges from 2-4 dollars depending on brand. Zucchini is $1 to $2 a pound, lettuce for 62 cents to $2.44, frozen broccoli is $2-4 per bag, and it's $2 for a pound of Asparagus. Carrots are 69 cents a pound, rice ranges from $1 a pound to $6, $4 for 42 oz. of oatmeal, and $5 for Olive Oil. A pound of Apples for $1.40, 3 pounds of bananas for $1.48 and frozen berries are between 4-8 dollars. If we add all of this up using the most expensive prices it comes out to $51.56. This grocery list could last for at least a week, maybe even two. That is at least $50 dollars cheaper than eating at the cheapest fast food places for a week.
Not only is buying healthy food from the grocery store cheaper, it also keeps you away from the doctor and your wallet away from your co-pay. Being overweight and obese and once you decide to eat better, your body will begin changing and you’ll lose a lot of medical risks. You’ll also save money while buying clothes, since larger sizes tend to cost more, due to more material being used.
So remember that next time someone tells you that it’s cheaper to eat fast food junk, that they are just lying to themselves. Sure it’s easy to get and it definitely tastes good, but it is in no way cheaper. Food prices are not an excuse for the American Obesity Epidemic, it’s just pure laziness.