What costs more, veggies or packaged snacks?

It seems fruits and vegetables are easier on the waistline and easier on the wallet, according to a new report through the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest.  The urban myth was put to rest with a research project.

The group analyzed 20 popular snacks and 19 side-dish items, and half of them were fruits or vegetables.  It turns out, the price per serving was cheaper for produce.

The group found that the average price per serving of the fruit or vegetable snacks was $0.34, while the packaged snacks cost double that, at $0.67.  Healthy side dishes cost $0.27 per serving and less-healthy packaged side dishes cost $0.31 per serving.

Some examples:

  • a half-cup serving of apple cost $0.26
  • one Fruit by the Foot roll cost $0.45
  • half a cup of grapes cost $0.46 (50 calories)
  • a package of M&M's cost $0.75 (230 calories)
  • a half-cup serving of Stovetop Stuffing cost $0.38 (150 calories)
  • a serving of sweet potato cost $0.31 (110 calories)
  • an ounce of Lay's Potato Chips - about 15 chips - cost $0.27 (160 calories)
  • a half cup of sliced cucumber cost just $0.14 (and only 5 calories!)

"The notion that healthy fruits and vegetables are expensive and that packaged snacks are cheaper is an urban myth that deserves to be put out to pasture once and for all," said Margo G. Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "Very few Americans are actually eating recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables—and most of us would do well to consume fewer packaged convenience foods and snacks, which are often higher in calories, salt, and sugars."

Government guidelines suggest the average person on a 2,000 calorie-per-day diet eats two cups of fruit and two-and-a-half cups of vegetables every day.


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