If You Can Afford Junk Food, Then You Can Afford Healthy Food!

The most common reasons for eating crappy food are that (1) it's cheap, (2) it's convenient, and (3) it's addictive. In this myTake, I will show you that only Number 3 is true. Number 1 and 2 are merely perceptions, probably caused by what people see in the mass media and advertisements. However, Number 2 may be true, if you live in a food desert and have no personal transportation. If you live in an area with more than 3 grocery stores with fruits and vegetables, then Number 2 is just plain false.

As a society, we need to have a cheapskate mentality. Like the Brothers Green. In the video below, the guy in the blue shirt with the "Everyone loves a Jewish boy" label was a poor college student. He didn't have any spending money in college, so he was not willing to buy prepared food. Also, he was not willing to copy his mother's cooking, because he firmly believed that his mother was a bad Jewish cook who made the same old boring Jewish meals. Instead, he would just go in a restaurant to see the food literally, get the idea, and make roughly the same thing for less money at home. I think he is a non-observant Jewish guy, because he does not observe kosher (i.e. consumption of bacon/pork). Cost-effectiveness has always been his priority in food preparation, and that's what I like about his channel.

But the weakness is that the channel doesn't really focus so much on the nutritional information. Personally, I believe that if one knows how to prepare food from scratch, using ingredients that one recognizes in elementary school and not in college-level organic chemistry class, then eating healthfully is not difficult. People just have to live cheaply and stop recognizing processed food as food. The only reason why people eat junk food is food addiction. Food addiction is a serious problem. It may be necessary to suffer through the withdrawal symptoms that occur in food addiction and accept the fact that it is better to suffer through the withdrawal symptoms than to stay addicted to junk food. The main goal is to develop a palate for simple, healthy food. (On the other hand, if one wants to live a happy but short life, then junk food is great!)


The Food, Inc. documentary illustrates the economic component of buying food very well. The working parents wake up early and return home late. They have no time to cook, so between the two jobs they juggle, they just buy some fast food at a Drive-Thru and spend more than $10 for the whole meal for a family of four. Fortunately, they have a car, and the father seems to be a pretty good driver, because that's what he does for a living. When the family goes to a real supermarket, the father says, "Look at the broccoli. So expensive!" Indeed, the broccoli head is expensive. But there are other vegetables. The prices of produce vary throughout the year. If one type of vegetable is a rip-off, then surely there may be other vegetables that are cheap during that time of year. We need to teach people how to become smart shoppers.

Just recently, I went to Meijer. When I reached the salad section, I noticed that the packaged salad greens were $2.50 to $5.00, depending on the brand, size, and type. If a family can afford a $10 family meal at a fast food restaurant, then a family can definitely afford to buy a family-pack of salad greens (pre-washed) for at most $5.00, one beefsteak tomato (about $1-2), and three avocados (about $1 each). The purchase covers vegetables, one piece of fruit (if you count tomato as a fruit), and fats. To save money on the water bill, the family can wash the tomato and avocado immediately after purchase in the grocery store's restrooms and wrap the produce in the paper towels.

If anybody asks or gets suspicious, the family can just pull out the receipt and prove that they have purchased the products, so everything is legit, even though what they are doing may be a little weird. In the car, while the father is driving, the mother may use a switchblade to peel a portion of the avocados and hand them to her kids. One avocado can supply 300-400 calories. Each kid gets one whole avocado to munch on raw. The mother and father share one avocado. The tomato is sliced on the cutting board and placed in the salad greens container. In my experience, many poor parents would make their kids have the first fill, so the kids are well-nourished. If the kids are stuffed, then the parents will finish whatever remaining food is available.

That way, the kids always get the best, freshest food, and there is no waste. On another day, the family may buy a pack of pre-washed baby spinach (yes, those pre-packaged ones may be more expensive than regular bunch spinach, but at least they are pre-washed and can be eaten immediately after purchase, assuming that they aren't contaminated), some whole milk mozzarella cheese with very simple ingredients, and some tomatoes -- and ding, they get a caprese salad for dinner! Well, if you disregard food presentation, then the family would just be eating the essential ingredients of caprese salad. The only problem with this plan is that meat is difficult to get and can be unsafe for raw consumption. It is possible to consume uncooked hot dogs and salami, but those are processed meats and may contain weird additives.

Also, if the woman is pregnant, it is not advisable to consume deli meats due to possible contamination in immediate foods (such as deli meats and ready-to-eat veggies). Listeria monocytogenes loves those kinds of environments, but the pathogen may be asymptomatic in normal adults. Maybe it is possible to get a whole rotisserie chicken for $6-10 and serve that for dinner. That may be a better alternative to the bucket of fried chicken at KFC. While the chicken may contain weird food additives and a lot of sodium in the seasoning, the rotisserie chicken is definitely not deep-fried and drenched in oil. I'd imagine that penny-pinching consumers would just buy the rotisserie chicken once a month. Besides, it is possible to eat a meat-free diet in the short term. In many cultures around the globe, meat may only be consumed monthly because of the high cost and status as a luxury good.

Although it is certainly possible to eat healthfully in a cheap and convenient manner, I think what matters most is education. More people just need to be educated on how to prepare easy, quick meals -- so quick that they can be eaten immediately after purchase. Understandably, some behaviors may seem a bit weird. Who would seriously use the grocery store's restrooms to wash produce? But then, when you're a cheapskate, your cheapskate ways kind of override your conscience.


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What Guys Said 11

  • 1mo

    that's not what makes eating clean expensive. first, those aren't prices for organic unless you live in the midwest. second, it's when you start to buy steaks, swordfish, tuna, salmon, halibut etc. etc. that the price skyrockets. since most people aren't vegetarians they'll need to buy those

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    • 1mo

      (1) It doesn't matter if you eat organic produce or non-organic produce, organic meat or non-organic meat. Eating whole non-organic/organic meat/fruits/vegetables is always better than eating processed foods (usually loaded with unwanted food additives).

      (2) Steaks, swordfish, tuna, salmon, halibut, and other types of fish and traditional animal products come from just a small part of the whole animal kingdom. Not to mention, animal-like microorganisms called fungi which exist in the form of mushrooms and yeast. If people seriously consider the resourcefulness and nutritional benefits of eating delicious worms or ants or termites or spiders instead of those big herbivores, then that can easily supply an inexpensive source of animal protein.

      (3) Beggars can't be choosers. If you are eating on a budget, then you have to shop for what is available and what is in season. People cannot think, "I can't eat this." They have to think, "I must eat this, if I want to survive."

  • 1mo

    Never trust a woman's math. Price of a burger- 1.29 at McDonalrds. Price of an apple? 1.99$ per pound.
    And an apple is not enough calories, but a burger is.

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    • 1mo

      Apples here are usually $0.99 per pound. Your apples are kind of expensive. Are you sure they aren't organic apples?

      Hass avocados here are also $0.99 each. Sometimes, I can find a 2 for $1 or 3 for $1 deal.

      One time, I saw kiwis at Andersons for 4 for $1 or $0.25 each. My fruits beat yours. :D

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    • 1mo

      and where is the calorie math from the burger? Once again a woman has left out an important variable. That $1.29 burger I'm talking about isn't region exclusive either, it's the typical McDonald's double cheeseburger which is around 500 calories. And I know you're magically pulling those fruit and potato prices out of your ass because where I live you can't get a 5 lbs bag of potatoes for a $1.50. A 5 lbs bag of potatoes is $5, so your math is null.

    • 1mo

      To be honest, I never went to a fast food restaurant that would sell a *double cheeseburger* for $1.29. Anything that cheap would be on the Dollar Menu. Everything on the Combo list is between $5-10.

      Where I live, a 5-lb bag of potatoes is nowhere near $5. The lowest it can go is $1. Price has risen to somewhere between $1-2.

  • 1mo

    I couldn't agree more. Organic fresh food is the way to go. Too many artificial ingredients in many junk food that are harmful when consumed in large amounts on a long term basis. Eating junk food every so now and then as snacks are okay for me.

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  • 1mo

    Exactly, great Take, very good advices.

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  • 1mo

    Great take - Lots of good tips for healthy diets

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  • 1mo

    If we have the money, then yes. Healthy food is the best alternative. But if someone lives off of welfare, they can't afford organic food.

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    • 1mo

      Organic food is the same in nutritional quality as regular, non-organic food.

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    • 1mo

      I speak based on facts and information. I acquire the information from peer-reviewed journals, documentaries, and YouTube videos. These people typically don't have ACCESS to fruits and vegetables, not because fruits and vegetables are any more expensive than candy and pop. As a matter of fact, water fountains are everywhere - free, which makes it a healthier and free alternative to soda pop. There is water even in gas stations and fast food restaurants. It's called a water fountain.

    • 1mo

      I should say LOCAL ACCESS. It is possible to get fruits and vegetables, if you live in a food desert. But one has to get on the bus and ride to the supermarkets. Also, based on the time of year and grocery store, people are stuck with a limited supply of fruits and vegetables. In reality, that can be resolved, if more people are aware that they should shop more smartly and stop recognizing processed food as food.

  • 1mo

    Not bad, or you could just go to the farmers market and get fresh fruits and veggies at much more reasonable price. The grocery stores tend to overcharge for produce. It makes the processed crap seem more affordable. As for not "having time" to cook, they are not "making time." I guarantee you they have between 20-40 minutes to go on facebook/watch TV/Play video games. If they can do that they can cook. Since when did cooking become this exhausting chore? Boil water, preheat oven, wait for oil to smoke. It isn't exhausting as many people in the media make it out to be. Although if people think it is exhausting that translates into more profit for the food manufacturers.

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    • 1mo

      I think food manufacturers are already aware of this and take advantage of people's perceptions and vulnerabilities. Often, you see commercials about a family gathering around a table for chicken dinner, and the ad presenter says, "Only $9.99" for the whole family meal!

      Mainstream grocery stores have weekly ads or circulars. If you compare the prices at several grocery stores, then you can always find something you want; and sometimes one grocery store may consistently sell at a cheaper price than other grocery stores. Also, some grocery stores may say in the name "Farmer's Market", but in reality, it's a grocery store. Fresh Thyme is an example of a grocery store that says it's a "farmer's market" simply because it sources locally grown produce. It only exists in the Midwest, though.

  • 1mo

    This is a very good point. Why buy a salad bag, though? You can buy a head of lettuce for much cheaper, wash and shred it yourself. Even romaine (iceberg is for chumps) isn't that expensive and you can get a huge meal of one of romaine heart.

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    • 1mo

      You have to understand the context that I made in the post. I used the family from the documentary. The family didn't have time to cook, so expecting the family to wash the lettuce head in the grocery store's restroom and cut it in the car (thereby making a mess) is not practical. Yes, the salad containers do cost more; but you have to keep in mind of a person's situation.

    • 1mo

      Chopping up raw fresh veggies to make a salad is not time consuming. You can do it faster than it will take you to eat the resultant salad. I have worked long hours and gotten home late and still managed to take the minutes necessary to whip up a taco salad or similar.

      I really don't know what to say, you're talking about them cutting up vegetables in a moving vehicle with a switchblade and it's hard to take that seriously.

    • 1mo

      To save money on water, you can still use the restroom's water supply and wash the veggies. Then, you take the tomatoes, leafy greens, and can of black beans to your car. First, you open the cans of black beans with a can opener. Then, you step inside the car. While one person is driving, other people will eat black beans straight from the can. The tomato and leafy greens will just be eaten whole straight from the container. No cutting necessary. No cooking required.

  • 1mo

    great take though im sure most will ignore it. have you tried going sugar free by the way? watcth 'that sugar film'. it was a revalation to me

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    • 1mo

      If you mean Sugar Coated (2016), then yes. I have watched the film. I have never really had a sweet tooth or sugar cravings before. But after watching the documentary, I became more aware of the contents in the food (that is, the hidden sugars) and decided to stop buying snack food.

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    • 1mo

      agree on eggs, milk etc but its meat i was thinking of but my choice on that is more ethical and a side issue but i will say back to our original conversation, sugar won't kill you but i can catagorically state that no sucrose, dextrose or excessive fructose in my diet is better than even having small amounts. anyway its all interesting stuff and nice to find someone else here that doesn't think mucky mcdonalds and haagan das is a well rounded meal

    • 1mo

      Many fruits contain sugar. Depending on the type of fruit, it may contain a lot of sugar or a little bit of sugar. By sugar, I mean sucrose, the disaccharide molecule used to make ice cream. Then, there's cellulose, the indigestible plant sugar formed from chains of glucose monomers and used to make the inedible or indigestible parts of the plants. Cows, on the other hand, can break down the cellulose in grain or grass and turn it into glucose (energy). Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that is sweeter than sugar, but is indigestible. However, when people think they can get away with eating non-calorie sweetener, they may eat more food and not really change the overall diet.

      I personally think meat is very subjective. I've even written a Take about the subjectivity of meat.

      www.girlsaskguys.com/.../a31246-meat-is-a-subjective-term

  • 1mo

    Im kinda addicted to healthy food which some friends laugh about😅 but I can't help it😂

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  • 1mo

    Damet you made me realize I forgot to cook lunch for tomorrow haha.

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    • 1mo

      Next time you forget, just grab a salad mix, a tomato, and some cheese. Then, for lunch the next day, you just have to bring the whole salad mix container with salad greens, sliced tomato, and sliced cheese. Quick caprese salad.

What Girls Said 10

  • 1mo

    ı eat clean but when my friend and ı go to the market she buys lots of things and pays little and I buy only a few things and pay a lot more.
    Natural things are more expensive but it worths

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  • 1mo

    The reason I can't eat well is because I really don't know how to cook or even make a meal, it's sad but true. I have tried to cook.

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    • 1mo

      "If at once you don't succeed, try try again."

      Have you tried cooking rice? You just need a 1:2 ratio. 1 part rice to 2 parts water. You don't need a rice cooker, but that definitely makes boiling rice easier as you just need to know how to read the text and press a button.

      Knowing how to use a can-opener (sorry, most can openers are for right-handers) is the key in obtaining canned goods.

      You can dig for edible treasure in garbage bins. Raccoons, rodents, and feral pets do this all the time. Sometimes, it is possible to find fresh, organic fruits and vegetables that are not even expired yet.

      I am just suggesting urban survival skills.

  • 1mo

    Great take! Healthy food is certainly ideal. But have you ever tried feeding little kids spinach leaves and avocado?

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    • 1mo

      The assumption that little kids hate veggies is a myth, based on culture. When I was a kid, I had no problem with eating leafy greens. And avocados taste fatty and creamy. If people had tried guacamole, then avocado is no different, minus the spiciness. When my parents were young, they were living in a 2nd world country. Food was scarce, so it was either veggies or starvation.

    • 1mo

      Well... for some people, it's an experience based on reality; not a myth based on culture. There are some 4 year olds who will refuse to eat spinach and avocado, no matter how much persuading you do. And where I come from, "eat the leaves or starve" isn't considered acceptable by the Department of Children and Family Services. I'm not trying to be a smart@$$. I am just saying that parenting can be a real challenge when it comes to feeding toddlers a healthy meal. There is a reason that Flintstone vitamins exist, and it's because those little heathens can be hard to raise. :) But I totally agree with you that if you budget properly, you CAN eat healthy. Junk food is the easy way out.

  • 1mo

    I only have a tiny grocery store here but I don't even have a restaraunt that you can buy food from unless you go to the bar. Some parents are always at work and never even see their kids so they think it's okay to throw a handful of peanuts at them and be on their way. I really think that there should be mandatory cooking class as there is where I live. They only show you how to cook rice and pasta and cookies but it's still very helpful to know. I'm not making any excuses for familys that don't WANT to cook for their kids, but there are some cases where the parent is gone all day and when he/she comes home at night, they are too exhausted and just plop into bed and sleep. My mother was like that, I had to learn to cook for myself, my big brother, and my little brother at only the age of 9. I could do simple things like make a pizza or cook macaroni and hotdogs, but I later learned to even make a full Thanksgiving dinner as I did this year :) if parents have no time then they should send their kids to cooking class and make them cook for themselves or their siblings, unless the kid is too young.

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    • 1mo

      Yep, I figure that children from poor families mature faster than those from rich families, because their families need them. It's great that you've learned how to cook at the age of 9 and continued improving your cooking skills.

      Without cooking skills, it is possible to eat healthy, cheap, uncooked but safe foods. Leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans from a can all can be eaten immediately after purchase.

  • 1mo

    Its really not about what people can afford, it has more to do with the fact that people are just far too lazy to cook something good for themselves. And tbh, I think junk food is more expensive when you really think about it, and the price is going up as well.

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  • 1mo

    So... having a candy bar for lunch is not healthy?

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    • 1mo

      If the candy bar is the only thing you eat for lunch, then it is not as healthy as a banana. A 100-calorie candy bar vs. a 100-calorie banana as a side dish. The banana should be more preferable than the candy bar. Maybe once in a while, you may have a candy bar as a rare treat. Candy should be just that: a rare treat, not a common commodity.

    • 1mo

      But what if I was like running late so I didn't eat breakfast and didn't have time to pack lunch so my friend gave me a mini coffee crisp... are you saying this is not a healthful thing to do on a nearly daily basis?

    • 1mo

      That's one reason why people get fat or skinny fat over time.

  • 1mo

    If a family can afford a $10 family meal at a fast food restaurant, then a family can definitely afford to buy a family-pack of salad greens (pre-washed) for at most $5.00

    Ya but let's not pretend like a salad bag is gonna keep a family full. I do agree tho, that eating healthy is cheaper than eating unhealthy. Realistically vegetables are calorie per calorie more expensive than junk food. Grains is where it's at
    You can buy 1 kg of brown rice for 0.99 (euro) and that feeds a family for a week. Throw some frozen vegetables and soy sauce on top and you have dinner made in a few min for a few cents. But the thing for most people is the price. Making food from scratch takes time and food that is fast to make normally has a more simplistic taste. Which is entirely normal in some countries. I spend three months in asia. I had rice and vegetables with mostly no sauce everyday, but not gonna lie I would have never been able to do it at home where I have more choices. Our sugar and butter conditioned taste-buds don't like the taste of plain foods

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    • 1mo

      There are individual-size salad containers (bags and boxes) and family-size salad containers. Leafy greens are composed of mostly water, fiber, and various micronutrients. While they can easily induce satiety, they may not be able to provide a lot of calories. A 15-oz can of black beans generates 390 calories. Add in one fatty avocado, another 320 calories. You're eating a whopping 710-calorie dinner and may just be paying $2. And beans are full of fiber, so they can easily induce satiety.

      I think one big thing to remember is that obesity is and has always been a sign of affluence. Processed foods are the result of high level of industry and production. Access to sugar, salt, and fat in high quantities is a sign of wealth, because those things are quite rare in the natural world. Some animals lick rocks just to get sodium in the diet.

  • 1mo

    I actually can not afford junk food

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  • 1mo

    well said. cheap, conveient and addictive too! love to have celery sticks all throughout the day and they are

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    • 1mo

      sorry for the disjointed comment above
      I love to have celery sticks all throughout the day and they are cheap, conveient and addictive too!

  • 1mo

    Well done!!! 👏👏👏

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