Still think you can’t afford to eat healthy? Think again! Hands down one of my greatest pet peeves is when people say they can’t afford to eat healthy. Whether it’s choosing a $1 candy bar in lieu of a 17 cent banana or buying a $3 coffee instead of a 50 cent low fat yogurt, people make food choices every day that don’t make nutrition a priority. But would you ever think that salmon, which is rich in omega-3 healthy fats to promote heart health and brain health, would be cheaper than hot dogs made with who knows what?
Check out this table that cost-compares sources of protein. Salmon comes out well above hot dogs, ground beef and ham for “cost per pound.”
Note that the cheapest protein (soy) is also the “greenest.” Soy, along with other plants, is easier on the environment because it doesn’t unleash methane gasses that animals do. In addition, a lacto-ovo-vegeterian (milk, eggs permitted) diet has been evaluated and found to be more sustainable than meat-based diets because it requires less energy, land, and water resources than meat-based diets. (Am J Clin Nutr 89: 1699S-1703S, 2009). Soy contains no cholesterol and very little fat which makes it very heart-friendly as well.
When compared as providing cost per gram of protein, low quality meats are among the most expensive items; not to mention they contain far more fat and saturated fat – which is less heart-healthy. So do yourself a favor, pick up some salmon and grill it. Enjoy salmon over a bed of greens and some red skin potatoes. Buy some soy crumbles and use them in pasta sauce with crushed tomatoes for an inexpensive and affordable meal.