Does a Cancer-Protective Diet Cost More?

Last week, a lot of headlines featured news about an analysis that found eating the healthiest of diets costs more per day – about $1.50 more – than the least healthy diet.

chart image link to full sized chart

Click on the image for a full-size version.

The analysis of research was published in BMJ Open and it’s important information for cancer prevention. Eating a diet with plenty of fiber, fruits, vegetables and other healthful foods plays a role in cancer risk and weight. A healthy diet and a healthy weight could prevent approximately 120,000 US cancers each year.

Doing the math, eating the healthiest diets on average cost about $550 more a year than the least healthy. That’s a barrier for many, as the authors point out.

But cancer – along with the other chronic diseases related to an unhealthy diet – has an expensive toll. Globally, cancer costs more than any other disease, such as heart disease, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS.

Continue reading


Finding Healthy Convenience Foods on a Budget

There’s been a lot of press lately on the cost of foods after a USDA report found that healthier foods are not necessarily more expensive.

But one reason people turn to less healthy options is because often, they are just more convenient. Take the time to make your own popcorn and you’ll get whole grain goodness with only 31 calories; microwaving a pre-packed bag saves time but runs about 85 calories. Cooking up brown rice, spices and veggies doesn’t cost that much, but sometimes it’s a lot easier to grab the box. Those packaged, boxed meals or convenience foods are…convenient. They are also typically heavy on the calories, sodium, and fat.

But they don’t have to be. There are ways you can get all the convenience of those packaged foods, save money, and eat a cancer-protective diet. In my last blog I wrote about a study to promote healthy purchasing in a low-income area of Baltimore. Here are some budget-friendly tips we used:

1.     Snack seasonally.

Rather than grabbing chips or cookies, take a piece of fruit or a vegetable that you can have on the go. The cost of fresh fruits and vegetables changes with the time of year, and when they are in season you can buy them for a lot less money (and help support local farmers, too!). Peaches are in peak season right now, and packed with vitamin C. Continue reading


Fruits & Veggies: Get it Cheap

Let’s face it, healthy eating has an expensive reputation. But what if you can get all your servings of fruits and vegetables for about $2 a day?

You probably can, according to a government report by the Economic Research Service (ERS). The report, which was released a year ago, estimated average prices for 153 fresh and processed fruits, vegetables and legumes.

Today’s issue of Cancer Research Update highlights the cheapest of the lot: beans. Pinto beans came in at 13 cents per cup of cooked beans.  About half a cup is considered a serving. Continue reading