Cost of Plant Based Food



written by Amy Howton an associate professor from Kennesaw University.

Last month we looked at why it could be a good idea to move closer to a plant-based diet. The

rumors are that it is much more expensive to eat a nutritious plant-based diet than the SAD—the Standard

American Diet.

But let’s look at the realities. The diet recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture

(USDA) on its Choose My Plate website says:

Go lean with protein:

  • The leanest beef cuts include round steaks and roasts (eye of round, top round, bottom round, round tip), top loin, top sirloin, and chuck shoulder and arm roasts.
  • The leanest pork choices include pork loin, tenderloin, center loin, and ham.
  • Choose lean ground beef. To be considered “lean,” the product has to be at least 92% lean/8% fat.
  • Buy skinless chicken parts, or take off the skin before cooking.
  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts and turkey cutlets are the leanest poultry choices.
  • Choose lean turkey, roast beef, ham, or low-fat luncheon meats for sandwiches instead of  luncheon/deli meats with more fat, such as regular bologna or salami.

The costs for these choices at Publix Supermarket on March 14, 2016, in metro Atlanta, GA,

included $6.69 per pound for chicken breast, $6.99 per pound for sirloin steak, and $9.99 for

roast beef. A pound usually serves 2 – 4 adults.

Contrast these prices with the 12.5 ounce can of Black Beans at metro Atlanta’s Kroger. The

can also serves 4 adults, and costs 85 cents. If a splurge is warranted, a pound of organic tofu

sells for $1.50 at Publix, and serves 4 – 6 adults. None of these choices contains cholesterol

or saturated fat.

Fresh fruits and vegetables in season can also be cost-effective. Food purchased locally in-

season is less expensive, and less costly for the environment, because it is not shipped long

distances; it is more nutritious due to being picked when ripe rather than when green, then

ripened in transit.  On March 15, 2016, in metro-Atlanta, a ¼-pound serving of fresh

strawberries cost 50 cents, and a similar portion of zucchini or yellow squash cost 43 cents.

Enough salad blend to serve four could be purchased at Publix for 35 cents on a BOGO offer.

Even high-end asparagus sold for only $1.99 per pound at Kroger, enough for 4 – 6 people.

Of course, it takes a little more time and effort to track down those bargains, but the extra

nutrients are worth it.  Most grocery stores will post their weekly specials on line, saving

time and money. Instead of making a special trip, plan a shopping excursion on the way

home from work or other errands to further protect your pocketbook.

Then look for an exciting new recipe or an old favorite using the items available this week.

Prices sourced from:

istingid=0 accessed Mar 14, 15,2016. accessed March 14, 15, 2016

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