POSTED: Saturday, May 19, 2012 - 11:30am
UPDATED: Saturday, May 19, 2012 - 11:34am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — The most common reason people skip the produce section while at the grocery store is they think it's too expensive, but a new study from the USDA finds healthy food is actually one of the cheapest items on your list.
It's all in how you do the math; researchers found calculating the cost of healthy food by how much it weighs and the typical serving size, rather than by how many calories it has, makes it more cost effective than unhealthy food.
That's because heavier fruits and vegetables, like potatoes, broccoli and bananas are going to keep you full longer than potato chips.
Experts say frozen vegetables, beans, legumes, cucumbers, carrots, apples, oranges, bananas and watermelon were all found to be less expensive than soft drinks, ice cream, french fries and ground beef.
"If you eat a donut, you're going to eat a lot of calories, but you're not going to feel full all day,” stated Dr. Andrea Carlson with the USDA. “If you eat that same number of calories in the form of a vegetable, you eat it several times throughout the day."
They also say one of the biggest mistakes that consumers make is that they only spend between 20-25 percent of their food budget on fruits and vegetables, when in reality they should probably be spending 40 percent.