Is junk food really cheaper than healthy food?
“Blueberries are so expensive!” my friend says.
“Yes. Seven bucks a punnet is a lot,” I say. “But how much is that ice-cream?”
She snaps her wallet shut. We shuffle away from the ice-cream counter muttering about how expensive everything is and casting backward glances at the piles of shiny sugar.
Ah, junk food. So delicious, yet so poisonous.
Just about every person I know has selective stinginess when it comes to food.
We don’t even think about the six dollars it costs to get a scoop of peanut-butter-pretzel flavoured ice-cream, possibly because we’re so blinded by the kilojoules. So why not swap that treat for those exorbitant five dollar blueberries? They’re also delicious, cost around the same – but the berries have significantly less sugar and don’t leave you feeling gross.
Oh, that’s right, because we’re all in the habit of being selectively tight. Dragging home a $3 bunch of celery is so much more of a drag than dragging home a $3 packet of potato chips.
(For one thing, the potato chips won’t go off! Whereas celery might just sit there, taking up space in the fridge, making us feel guilty, slowly turning brown …)
Top 5 awesome ways to be a tightass
1. Refusing to pay for parking is a fraught enterprise in any city but driving in circles for 40 minutes then walking seven blocks to pay $9 for a smoothie may be the awesomest way to save $1.70.
2. Buying eggs cheap when they’re past their use-by-date and then storing them in the FREEZER til needed (a friend’s grandma actually does this -) will save heaps but don’t invite me for breakfast.
3. Going to a wine bar and ordering tap water is both low-fat and legendary. Because – P-Plates.
4. Pretending to be a child on public transport to get an 80c discount on the fare while heading to a festival that cost $135 and then getting slugged $170 for fare evasion is also awesome. (I HAVE NOT DONE THIS, STOP LOOKING AT ME.)
5. An elderly woman in New York was such a tightass she used to read the stockmarket section of the newspaper at the library rather than buy the newspaper herself and by the time she died she’d amassed US$1M to donate to girls’ education – um, awesome.
Look, if there are two things that will make you miserable in life, those are counting kilojoules and being forced to be tight with money. But for the sake of illumination, let’s pretend to be rich, put money aside and please allow me to show you this comparison chart*:
WHERE THE HEALTHY, MORE FILLING SNACK COSTS MORE:
Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby scoop, $5.50 – 1512 kj
Blueberries 125g punnet, $6.99 – 298 kj
28g Emmental Swiss cheese, $1.17, 441 kj – 24 large Kalamata olives, $2.00, 441 kj
22 Jelly Belly jelly beans, $1.00, 378 kj – half a rockmelon, $2.29, 252 kj
1.5 cups white rice, $0.31, 1344 kj – 1.5 cups cauliflower, $0.71, 189 kj
WHERE THE HEALTHY, MORE FILLING SNACK COSTS LESS:
1 serving vegetable tempura $12.00, 1596 kj – 2 servings of edamame $3.50 each, 790 kj
Two cm cube of low-fat cheese $1.00, 420 kj – 1 banana $0.80, 420 kj
1 croissant, $2.00 1680 kj – 1 light English muffin $0.72, 420 kj
1 Honey Nougat Log $2.00, 823 kj – 1 cup/170g white grapes $1.00, 475 kj
2 slices pizza, $6.60, 3780 kj – 1 cigarette, $1.00, 0 kj
Okay, so I just put the cigarette in there to see if you were paying attention – but the point of the comparison is, food is yummy. Good food is yummy, and often much yummier than bad food. So get your head around the options to take the sting, and the stinginess out of choosing healthy.
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