The real cost of healthy food

Last updated 15:53 15/06/2012
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NO EXCUSES: Getting your 5+ a day is easier - and cheaper - than you think.

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The price of fruit and vegetables may be increasing, but nutritionists say it's still cheaper overall to eat healthily.

Charitable trust 5+ A Day, which aims to get New Zealanders eating at least five servings of fruit and vegetables daily, compared prices and nutritional values of dozens of common foods.

They found healthier snacks like oranges, chopped vegetables with dip and banana smoothies were significantly cheaper than high-fat, processed alternatives.

They also calculated the cost of groceries for a family of four and found they could save up to $55 a day - and meet their recommended fruit and vegetable quota - by making healthy food choices.

Here are their findings, based on average Auckland prices in April 2012.

COMPARING SNACKS

Replace a 50g milk chococolate bar ($1.24/5 tsp fat) with an apple or orange ($0.39/0 tsp fat) = Save $0.85/5 tsp fat

Replace a 110g muffin ($2.33/2.5 tsp fat) with 150g low-fat yoghurt ($0.65/less than 0.1 tsp fat) = Save $1.68/2 tsp fat

Replace instant noodles ($1.47/1.5 tsp fat) with banana on toast ($0.60/less than 0.1 tsp fat) = Save $0.87/more than 1 tsp fat

Replace 150g jellybeans ($1.72/22 tsp sugar) with one slice of pineapple or orange ($0.90/4 tsp sugar) = Save $0.82/18 tsp sugar

Replace a milkshake ($3.40/1 tsp fat/25 tsp sugar) with a banana and fruit yoghurt smoothie made with low-fat milk ($0.94/less than 0.5 tsp fat/2.5 tsp sugar) = Save $2.46/0.5 tsp fat/22 tsp sugar

Replace 300g hot chips ($2.00/6 tsp fat) with a baked potato with baked beans or creamed corn ($0.62/less than 0.5 tsp fat) = Save $1.38/more than 5 tsp fat

Replace 150g potato chips ($1.99/10.5 tsp fat) with chopped veges and low-fat dip ($1.56/less than 1 tsp fat) = Save $0.43/9.5 tsp fat

BULK SNACKS

Replace a box of six muesli bars ($3.54/6 tsp fat) with 1kg apples ($2.99/0 tsp fat) = Save $0.55/6 tsp fat

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Replace a 200g packet of chocolate biscuits ($3.22/11 tsp fat) with 0.5kg oranges ($1.65/0 tsp fat) = Save $1.57/11 tsp fat

Replace 400g potato chips and dip for four people ($7.65/32.5 tsp fat) with celery, carrots, rice crackers and hummus for four people ($5.53/4 tsp fat) = Save $2.12/more than 28 tsp fat

SAVINGS FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR

Breakfast option 1: Fried bacon, egg, one slice toast and spread

Fat per person: 8 tsp

Cost per person: $2.77

Cost per family: $11.08

Breakfast option 2: Two wheat biscuits with low-fat milk, sliced kiwifruit

Fat per person: 1 tsp

Cost per person: $1.22

Cost per family: $4.88

Fruit/vegetable servings: 1

Morning tea option 1: Cream-filled donut

Fat per person: 6 tsp

Cost per person: $1.80

Cost per family: $7.20

Morning tea option 2: Apple

Fat per person: less than 0.1 tsp

Cost per person: $0.39

Cost per family: $1.56

Fruit/vegetable servings: 1

Lunch option 1: Pie, potato chips, fizzy drink and chocolate bar

Fat per person: 14 tsp

Cost per person: $6.87

Cost per family: $27.48

Lunch option 2: Tuna or ham salad sandwich, pear or orange

Fat per person: less than 2 tsp

Cost per person: $2.31

Cost per family: $9.25

Fruit/vegetable servings: 2

Afternoon tea option 1: 300g hot chips

Fat per person: 6 tsp

Cost per person: $2

Cost per family: $8

Afternoon tea option 2: Microwaved/baked kumara with low-fat cottage cheese and chives

Fat per person: less than 0.1 tsp

Cost per person: $1.11

Cost per family: $4.44

Fruit/vegetable servings: 1

Dinner option 1: Fish and chips

Fat per person: 12 tsp

Cost per person: $4.50

Cost per family: $18

Dinner option 2: Pita-based vege pizza

Fat per person: less than 1 tsp

Cost per person: $3.30

Cost per family: $13.20

Fruit/vegetable servings: 2-3

TOTALS FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR

Less healthy options

Cost: $75-90

Fat: About 48 tsp per person

Fruit/vegetable count: 0

Healthier options

Cost: $35-$40

Fat: Less than 8 tsp per person

Fruit/vegetable count: 8

- Stuff

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