The most recurrent comment i get online on my posts or videos, is people complaining about how expensive eating healthy is, which is why they resort to fast food and unhealthy eating options. This always really confuses me. All you need to do is take a trip to your closest market and you will see that locally grown produce is actually not that expensive and to say that a fast food brand is cheaper than buying and cooking your own food at home is absolute bullshit.
Yes, you may be able to get a sandwich, a drink and a dessert for about 150pesos (3 dollars) at M (hint). That compared to a 200 pesos whole chicken does seem like a better deal at first, only because people don’t realise that with a whole chicken you can actually cook 4 meals (with meat) and one soup.
That’s 5 meals at 40 pesos ++ per meal. Come on. Ok, fine you still need to add vegetables and maybe some starch, but honestly if you portion these down to one meal, the cost will be really low.
To give you an idea, 1 kilo of rice goes for about 40 to 60 pesos (organic, local varieties – about 1 dollar). 1 portion of rice is 1 cup cooked, which translates to 1/2 cup uncooked, about 180 grams. So how much is one portion of rice at the end of the day you ask? about 7.2 Pesos per portion.
Just to hit my point home, 1kg of tomatoes is more or less 65 pesos. One portion is about 200 grams (if you’re hungry). That’s 13 pesos per portion.
So we have a meal made of organic rice, tomatoes and chicken (garlic, onion, salt, pepper, etc. These ingredients don’t really represent much because we use such small quantities of them – let’s peg it at 5 pesos for seasoning), for a total of 65.2 pesos (1.5 dollars).
Now use this logic before approaching every meal and you will realize that is actually not expensive eating healthy at home. Of course we are not talking about imported goods here. Also out of the mix are all the items branded as healthy and good for you, because while some of them actually are really good for you, you are also paying for that branding. My point is that if you go to the wet market and prepare food based on a diet of locally produced and found ingredients, you will be able to do so on a low purse. If you can afford a meal at a fast food chain, you can definitely cook yourself a more nutritious meal at home for the same amount or less.
I like using this site for my price comparisons: http://magkanopo.com/ad-category/food/produce/vegetables/
Here are some tips on how cooking at home and eating healthy can be more accessible:
– If you want to buy protein, stick to local varieties or buy cuts that are not hugely popular but that are just as tasty (chicken thighs, beef rump, canned tuna, fresh market fish, etc)
– Buy in bulk. If you are just going to be eating at home all week buy in bulk. Even for vegetables this can still apply, just make a massive pot of stew for example, that you can freeze and keep for rainy days.
– For some good Fat, things like Olive Oil and Coconut Oil are widely available and while they might see expensive at first, do remember that you are consuming it at 1tbsp at a time, so it’ll take you a while to go through that bottle. – For your vegetables and fruit just buy whatever is available at your local market and grown locally. Ingredients such as herbs and leaves are not expensive and can be used to add taste anywhere. For your other starchy carbohydrates that you might look for there are some well priced brown rices out there, so you don’t need to resort to white rice and honestly the more we buy brown rice, the cheaper it’ll get because the more people will keep farming it locally.
Here is a list of ingredients that are not expensive when you apply them to scale:
– Rolled Oats
– Sweet Potatoes
– Leaves (camote tops, chilli leaves, ampalaya tops…)
– Brown Rice
– Coconut Oil
– Canned Fish
– Fresh Fish from the Wet Market
– Kangkong (Water Spinach)
– String Beans
– Dried Beans and Lentils
– Okra (lady fingers)
– Chinese Cabbage
– Ampalaya (Bitter gourd)
– Baguio Beans
– Mung Beans
– Winged Beans
etc… Seriously the list goes on.
So, now can i ask you, is eating healthy expensive?