As the economic times seem to get leaner, it’s getting more difficult to afford the groceries we need to keep up with the nutritional guidelines. Whether the cost of food has gone up or the income of the average American has dropped, shopping for optimal health isn’t as simple as it once was. There are options and ways to avoid throwing in the towel in the battle for better health.
The numbers were crunched and the cost of meeting the recommended daily requirements of “My Plate,” the new U.S. nutritional guideline, will cost an extra $7.28 a week. This dollar amount is factoring in that “My Plate” calls for more consumption of potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin D, and calcium rich foods.
Most of these nutrients can be obtained from healthy foods that tend to cost more at the grocery store. Let us help with some easy cost-cutting suggestions that do not cut the quality of your food.
For years, we’ve heard that the way to stick to a budget at the grocery store is to avoid paying with credit and go to a cash only system. Now, a new study has shown that paying for groceries with cash may be good for the waistline as well.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Consumer Research, found that shoppers were more likely to buy items considered “unhealthy” when they paid with credit or debit cards than if they paid with cash. You might think that a person who paid with a debit card would be as conscious of spending as a person with cash, due to the fact that a debit card drafts money from your account immediately. The study showed the opposite, even when the subjects completed their shopping in a computer simulated task.
When you are trying to eat healthy, sticking to a budget and a well planned out grocery list can be one of your greatest tools. Grocery stores are designed to part you from your money, and the areas that are on eye level are often full of the foods that are the least diet-friendly. Companies often pay extra for the “prime real estate” and they place the foods with the greatest income potential in those sections.
Can you afford to be fat? Tune in to Dr. Oz today, March 14 to find out. Financial expert Suze Orman and Dr. Oz explore the link between high levels of debt and unhealthy weight gain. According to Dr. Oz, people with extreme debt are twice as likely to be overweight. They offer guests and viewers a plan to get honest, lose weight and create a debt-management plan. It seems that some of the guests are in denial about both their health and their pocket books.
Plus, Dr. Oz will share his best go-to metabolism boosters, which can help give you a leg up on any weight-loss plan.
Yifan Zhang and Geoff Oberhofer are working to create a new system of gym memberships. Gym-Pact is a membership program that charges members higher fees if they don’t workout regularly. Zhang and Oberhofer are testing the theory that people are more motivated by short-term consequences than long-term rewards. It also creates a sense of accountability.
Gym-Pact has negotiated pilot programs with gyms in Boston. Their first partnership was for first-time customers at Bally Total Fitness, and now they’ve negotiated a group rate at Planet Fitness. Instead of a high up-front cost, the members of the Gym-Pact deal at Planet Fitness get a free membership if they workout four times per week. If not, they must pay $25.00.
Because many of us are strapped for cash these days, it makes sence that when we go to choose a weight-loss program, cost is a factor. Sure, you can’t put a price on your health, but wouldn’t you like to drop the weight in the most cost effective way possible? Recently there’s been a lot of talk about how much different diets cost, but what about if you set out to lose 20 pounds on your own? How much does that cost? Well, we did the math!
While many commercial diet programs cost upwards of $100 per pound lost, you can do things much cheaper on your own, assuming that you are losing two pounds a week over the course of 10 weeks:
After the success of several trail programs, the British government announced that it will be using financial incentives to get its citizens to be healthier. They will be offering £50.00 vouchers (about $78 US dollars) that can be exchanged for healthy fruits and vegetables.
“We will be expanding programs that use financial incentives for healthy behavior where the evidence supports it,” said a Department of Health spokesman who did not want to be named, in line with government policy.
Critics of the program worry that health department funds would be better spend elsewhere, and that the government’s efforts aren’t enough to change people’s bad habits and reverse the obesity epidemic.
In 2009 the U.S. Department of Labor reported that the average American family of four spends $8,513 per year on groceries. That’s a lot of trips to the market and probably a lot of empty calories purchased each week.
While some people can afford to splurge on premium ingredients and brand names, the grocery store is also one of the most common places where people overspend.
“Take your grocery list to the store when you shop,” said Teri Gault, CEO of TheGroceryGame.com “Don’t buy groceries that you don’t need. If you have a list of everything you’ll need for the next few weeks, you’ll gather all the ingredients you need while saving money and avoiding the panic of the last minute rush.”
Follow some of our tips to keep your grocery budget to a minimum – and your grocery list full of healthy food.
In response to rising health care costs, numerous U.S. companies offer corporate fitness and wellness options to employees. “The most important thing a company can offer employees to advance wellness is a willingness to meet employees needs no matter what stage they are at in their wellness journey,” says Marianne Jackson, senior vice president of human resources at Blue Shield of California. “By keeping the healthy well, companies can lower health care costs and increase employee productivity.”
Weight-Loss Programs: Obesity is one of the greatest public health challenges of all time, and the annual medical costs associated with obesity are estimated to be as high as $147 billion in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data for 2009, more than 1 in 4 U.S. adults were obese. Obesity is an important driver of costs in the workplace, so companies offer programs that help employees lose weight. Lopez Negrete Communications, a Houston-based marketing agency, sponsored a weight-loss contest in 2010 in which the winner was awarded $1,000.
A recent study showed that people who use their credit cards to buy food make poorer nutritional choices than those who pay with cash. The New York Times reports that using a credit card decreases the “pain of payment,” but also seems to make consumers feel less guilty about purchasing junk food.
“[W]hen consumers encounter vice products — such as cookies, cakes and pies — the emotive imagery and associated desire trigger impulsive purchase decisions,” the authors write. But “pain of payment can curb the impulsive responses and thus reduce the purchase of such vice products.”
A study conducted by researchers at George Washington University found that a woman’s obesity costs her $4,879 annually. Obesity will cost a man about half that amount, $2,646.
The New York Times reports that the study is one of the first to calculate the financial burden of obesity. It considers both direct costs, like medical fees, and indirect costs, like lower productivity and lower wages. The study found that obese women earn $1,855 less that women of normal weight, but that obese men do not have significantly lower salaries than non-obese men. However, obese men may encounter other forms of weight discrimination. The study did not consider many personal consumer costs, like clothing, because the researchers did not have reliable means to collect such data.