Shoppers Believe Healthy Eating is Expensive, But it Doesn’t Have to Be

January 06, 2017

Don't let your shoppers believe they can't afford to shop for health and wellness.

Many Americans may find themselves holding on to their New Year’s resolutions for dear life, even just one week into the new year and particularly when it comes to diet changes and budgets. Despite the fact that we have been experiencing lower food prices in the supermarket, studies show that shoppers still expect healthy foods to come at a premium. And foods that are higher priced, are commonly perceived as having a healthier profile.

Some studies recently published in Journal of Consumer Research explored this theory that shoppers have been conditioned to believe that healthy means expensive across the board. And while this does hold true in some cases, eating healthy does not necessarily have to drain your wallet any more than eating unhealthy foods. 

As a retailer, and with the help of your store’s retail dietitian, you can point your consumers to some healthy, budget-friendly options, so they have a better shot at not losing hope on their new year’s efforts to improve their health. Here are some suggestions for foods with outstanding nutritional foods that won’t break the bank.

Bananas: High in potassium and fiber, bananas are a simple, portable and healthy snack. Plus, bananas may help support normal blood pressure, healthy bones, and gastrointestinal health and protect against atherosclerosis and heart disease.

Beans: Whether you choose kidney, pinto, black, lentil or garbanzo, beans are a high-fiber, high-protein food that is inexpensive and versatile. Dried beans will give you more for your money (and expand to three times their volume when cooked, turning three to four cups of dry beans into nine cups when cooked!) but canned varieties (choose low- or no-sodium versions) are still a great bargain. In addition to being high in fiber and a good source of protein, they are low in fat and sodium and have minerals such as iron, potassium, magnesium, copper and zinc, as well as folic acid, thiamin, niacin and B6.

Brown rice: The vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are some of the benefits, but one of the biggest advantages may be that the high amount of fiber in brown rice helps slow digestion and fill you up for a long time. Brown rice also helps to spread the food dollar because it’s a component of meals that can help you make a fulfilling dish.

Eggs: The yolk naturally contains zinc and vitamins D, E and A, and the white (called the albumen) is rich in riboflavin, magnesium, potassium, sodium, sulfur and niacin. Eggs are a great source of low-cost, high quality protein. A medium sized egg provides about 5.5 grams of protein (a little over 10% of the daily value) and a mere 68 calories.

Frozen vegetables: Buying fresh vegetables in season is an inexpensive way to get them, but frozen vegetables are a good option too. They're picked at the peak of freshness and their flavor and nutrition is at top notch. Choose leafy greens, such as broccoli, spinach and kale, which have lots of nutrients per calorie and help protect against inflammation and disease.

Nuts: Packed with healthy fats, protein, vitamin E, magnesium and other essential micronutrients - when eaten in moderation - can help lower your risk of heart disease. Great choices are walnuts, almonds and cashews. 

Potatoes: These versatile vegetables can be added to casseroles and used in a variety of ways, and they're every bit as nutritious as colored vegetables. They contain 45 percent of the recommended daily nutritional intake of vitamin C, 18 percent of fiber and 18 percent of potassium, a mineral that regulates blood pressure. They've been found to have the lowest cost source of dietary potassium.  But keep in mind that many of the nutrients are found in the skin. Choose smaller potatoes for more nutrition.

Tofu: Whole soy foods, including tofu, contain phytonutrients that can protect against cancer. An inexpensive alternative to meat, tofu provides B vitamins, iron and calcium, and is very versatile - use it in everything from stir-fries to smoothies.