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Why You Pay More For Junk Food Than You Know

If you have just a few crumpled bills in your pocket, the odds are higher that you’ll turn to fast food or processed junk as a quick meal. That burger from the drive-through or that packet of cookies, after all, is much cheaper than it would be to buy vegetables and chicken and cook up a healthy meal. Although there is no doubt that junk food can be downright cheap, that doesn’t mean that it is actually the best investment in the long run. We already all know that unhealthy foods like fast food, crisps, sodas and chocolates aren’t good for the waistline, but they are also bad for your wallet.

Why Fast Food and Processed Treats Are So Tempting

When you look at the costs and convenience of junk food, it’s easy to see why these processed and unhealthy treats are so tempting. Rather than heading home to whip up a healthy meal, it’s much easier to swing by a drive-through and order a few mega meals with burgers and fries for the whole family. Of course, we know that these foods are not healthy to consume on a regular basis. But at these low prices, who can stop you? Of course, that’s no way to live. The most affordable junk foods are often chock full of calories, sugar and saturated fats, and they can lead to obesity and a range of health problems down the road.

The Real Costs of an Unhealthy Diet

Stop looking at your receipts to determine how much an unhealthy meal costs. Next time you want to know the real cost of that processed meal, take a look at your last health insurance bill. If you are overweight, if you smoke cigarettes or if you are inactive, you might be paying more each month just to be covered by your medical insurance policy. In addition, your diet might be preventing you from efficiency at work. If you are struggling to get ahead in your career, an unhealthy diet could be the culprit. Too many fats, a high-sugar diet and too few vital nutrients might be affecting your focus and concentration at work, which will naturally lead to lower productivity and even more sick days where you can’t show up to work at all.

Eating Healthy Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

Those people who spout off facts saying that junk food is a lot more affordable than healthy food don’t understand the real costs involved. Even if you are just looking at the issue from a financial standpoint, there are plenty of healthy foods that you can enjoy on a tight budget. Instead of ordering a pizza, cook up some whole wheat pasts with jarred tomato sauce. Skip the unhealthy and fat-laden potato chips, even if they are on sale, and dig into plain non-fat tortilla chips or even rice cakes. Take advantage of sales at grocery stores to stock up on skimmed milks, lean proteins and seasonal fruits. If fresh vegetables are pricey, buy the affordable frozen versions instead.

Reduce Your Health Insurance Premiums by Living a Healthier Life

Unhealthy junk food is a lot more expensive than you might want to believe, and one of the biggest related costs is that of health insurance. Employers are increasingly catching on to the fact that unhealthy employees cost them more money to insure, and they are beginning to offer health insurance discounts for people who don’t smoke, who exercise and who eat healthy diets. Overall, people are on board with this. Recent surveys prove that the majority of adults agree that eating junk food and smoking should result in higher insurance premiums.

There’s nothing wrong with the occasional fast-food meal or late-night junk food snack. We’ve all been there! The key is not to fool yourself into thinking these so-called “cheap foods” are actually a smart choice in the long run. They can affect your health, but they can also affect your bottom line when it comes to increased health insurance premiums and medical costs.

14 Comments

  • Beth

    That’s a really good way to look at it… that you pay more in the long run. I’ll have to remember that next time I’m thinking it will only cost me a dollar!

  • Jeanine

    I rarely ever eat fast food but I must admit, I do love my snacks- especially the salty ones. I do make most meals from scratch and we eat a good variety of foods. Thanks for the tips!

  • md kennedy

    I rarely eat fast food since I starting my journey towards veganism. do realize how hard it is though: what to eat on a several days-long road trip with no kitchen available?? But if you try hard enough ,you will also find you save explicit cash and your tastebuds adpat very quickly to a whole food plant based diet!

  • kathy crenshaw

    It just seems that the fast food places are every where you turn, They have the dollar menu’s and so you get what you pay for. Too bad they really don’t care about what we eat. As long as we buy it from them. All they want is our money and repeat business. Thank you for listening to me and my complaining.

  • cheryl lister

    I have found an economical way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my diet is by shopping at the 99cent store! another idea is by price-matching at Walmart with my local (but not conveniently located) Superior aGrocers.

  • lisa

    I need my weekly candy bar and occasional fast food fix. Beyond that I do pretty good. I generally don’t like putting junk into my body.

  • Becky Schollian

    We just recently stopped eating fast foods. My daughter has Gull Stones and has to eat healthy. My 5 yr old G’son loves fast food, but we also stopped his fast food intake too. This is a wonderful post. So informational. healthy living, longer life!!

  • Malea Cooper

    I think most people buy junk food out of habit, and also out of lack of knowledge about alternatives. Most people are in a hurry, and just want to feed themselves and their families quickly and reach for the quickest, easiest thing. We need to be teaching ourselves and more importantly, our children, healthier alternatives.

  • Sandy Cain

    Fast food and outright JUNK food is everywhere. The saddest part of this is that there is so much marketing of this aimed at little kids, through commercials. I think these commercials should be OUTLAWED, just like they did with cigarette commercials. Surely an unhealthy diet is as bad as smoking!

  • Karen H in NC

    Some good, sound and logical information in your post. Need to get the word out that eating healthy need not be expensive!

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