Healthy Food Doesn’t Always Cost More, According to USDA Study

The USDA’s Quarterly Food-at-Home Price Database compared prices among numerous grains, fruits, and vegetables giving some hope to those of us always looking to ensure healthy food is affordable for all.

The study found that although whole grains still cost more than refined grains, the gap has been narrowing in recent years.  (Locally, store-brand whole wheat pasta costs the same as white pasta).  Dark green vegetables still do cost more than starchy vegetables, however, orange vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes (I’m a huge fan) may actually be less expensive than starchy vegetables.  Low-fat milk may also be less expensive than whole milk.  And finally, much to the surprise of many I believe, whole fruits were 60-70% less expensive than processed sweets (comparing units equal to 100 grams).

I would also add that root vegetables in general tend to be less expensive (maybe due to longevity of shelf life, perhaps).  They make a great substitute for the usual refined starches at dinner, being both healthier and cost effective.   Try some butternut squash, turnips, parsnips, etc… chop them into cube size pieces, spray some olive oil on them, and add a little spice (rosemary or garlic seasoning, maybe) and bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes.  Great dinner side-dish!

About Kimberly Dawson, M.S.

Leave a Reply