Healthy, inexpensive food should be a right for all. Without a healthy diet, our mental acuity, physical health, and mental health deteriorate. But what is a healthy diet? A healthy diet is considered to be a diet that has either positive health benefits or no negatives in regards to health. In the US, the highest obesity rate of any country in the world by far, the average nine-year-old ingested more than three times the recommended amount of added sugar per day. Not only does this cause the mid-day crash that requires more sugar to supplant energy, it leads to long-term heart issues, as well as other diseases. And people know this. So why aren’t people eating better?
Because healthy foods are notoriously way more expensive and less accessible in comparison to unhealthy options. In the United States alone, tens of millions of people live in food deserts without easy access to healthy options they can afford, as the large majority of these people are low income. It’s been found that there’s a higher density of fast food restaurants in these lower-income areas, in comparison to more affluent neighborhoods (Hilmers, Hilmers, and Dave, 2012). While convenience stores and other more affordable options, like Costco, Target, and Walmart, offer healthy options, like canned beans, some fresh produce, and fresh or frozen meats, there’s still an incredible disparity. Stores like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and other higher-end grocers with vast selections of healthy options from fruit snacks to plant-based frozen meats often don’t exist for millions of people.
So what can we do? Let’s create a culture of smarter food. We need to gear research and development efforts to create lower cost, sustainable methods of sourcing foods, so we can create better foods from these ingredients for less money. Blockchain technology allows us to be more critical about where our foods come from, so it’s easier to support sustainable, ethical practices. For consumers, shopping strategically to get the most out of the money spent on organic or healthier foods will make it easier to get the better-for-you nutrition everyone deserves. Shopping more often, if you have time, and focusing meals around beans, frozen veggies, and what’s on sale makes it easier to get the healthier options at lower prices. Even though Trader Joe’s isn’t as prevalent as larger chains, like Jewel, Kroger, or Safeway, their prices are low and the pre-made, frozen, and plant-based options are plentiful.