How much does a shopping cart full of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables cost? Let’s see:
Oranges (4.25 lbs @ $1.28/lb): $5.44
Bananas (2.66 lbs @ $0.48/lb): $1.28
Grapes (2.50 lbs @ $2.78/lb): $6.95
Green Onions (one bunch): $0.66
Asparagus (1.00 lbs @ $1.47/lb): $1.47
Apples (2.79 lbs @ $1.46/lb): $4.07
Nectarines(1.53 lbs @ $1.98/lb): $3.03
English Cucumbers ($1.78 each): $3.56
Tomatoes (1.37 lbs @ $2.78/lb): $3.81
Strawberries (1.00 lb @ $1.37/lb): $1.37
Bag of carrots (1 lb): $1.48
Mini sweet peppers (2 lb bag): $4.98
That’s $38.10 for 21.1 pounds of fruit and vegetables. That’s $1.80 per pound. Interestingly, that’s cheaper than just about everything else you can buy in a grocery store whether it’s boxed, canned, processed, fresh or frozen. It’s also interesting that this is what you’ll pay for the right to eat fast food. Go to any McDonald’s and you’ll spend about $5 for a value meal, which I suspect doesn’t even reach 3lbs of weight.
The fact is, fruits and vegetables are no more expensive on a pound for pound basis than everything else we eat. And they cost less despite the lack of government food subsidies to warp their market prices. The difference is, fruits and vegetables are far less densely packed with calories. America thrives on calorie density. Three pounds of fast food carries a far greater calorie punch, and sense of feeling full than does three pounds of fruit. Most of that has to do with the higher density of calories in fat, something you won’t find much of in fruits and vegetables.
You can eat the same weight of food in fruit as you can in fast food and still consume 1/2 to 1/3 the calories of fast food. And you will never starve to death. Our bodies are so used to packing in calorie-dense food, and for those folks who try to make the switch it can be a shocker. But given time, your body will adjust. And not only will it adjust, it will thrive in the nutrient-dense, low-calorie foods.
*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*