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Comparing Apples to Doritos… 

November 22, 2023

Whenever we talk to groups about our nutrition education program, one of the most common questions we receive is “Isn’t it more expensive to buy fresh produce? Are the families you serve able to afford it?” 

There is a common misconception that buying healthy food is expensive, but that’s not exactly true. If you shop right, there are plenty of affordable healthy options for snacking.

Let’s compare apples to Doritos… really.

Based on approximate average prices as of Nov. 21, 2023…
A box of 42 snack-sized variety bags of chips is $20, or 48¢ ea.
A 3 lb. bag of gala apples is $4.50 with approximately 8 apples, varying based on weight, 56¢ ea. 

While that is a higher price, it’s a difference of 8¢, which is still comparable. If you bought 5 bags of apples (approx for $22.50 you would have 40 apples). Yes, that is still $2.50 more for potentially 2 less snacking opportunities, but the nutritional benefits outweigh the cost difference. And you have to take into account that many fruits and vegetables are cheaper when they are in season, plus any special grocery store rewards pricing, and that most people will want to buy a variety of snack options – and you can still come out on top in the end. 

Let’s price compare a couple more produce items… Bananas are 30¢ ea., and $2.50 for a 2lb. bag of carrots, both provide a versatile ingredient for cooking meals as well as a nutritious snack by itself. There’s about 10 carrots in a 2 lb. bag. That comes out to 25¢ each. Assuming you’d eat 2 carrots in a traditional snack, that’s 5 snacks for $2.50. Celery stalks are $2.92 ea. and contain approximately 8 stalks. If you cut up and eat 2 as a snack, that’s 37¢ ea. 

We could go on with more examples and combinations that equate to a bag of chips, but the point is, it’s time we make cents out of our grocery shopping, and focus on affordable healthy alternatives where we can. It IS possible. 

While on our recent field trip to visit our new friends at Nevada Youth Network in Sherman Gardens Annex, we toured their facility and saw that they have a food pantry for the local residents, and it really got us thinking…

Most donation drives for food-insecure families focus on non-perishable boxed/canned products that have a longer shelf life. With longer shelf life, typically comes higher calories, less nutrients, more carbohydrates, and/or salt to preserve the food. Even canned fruit, while healthier than some other options, can be heavy in sugars and some nutrients are diminished the longer the fruit stays canned.

Of course when it comes to food insecurity some food is better than no food. And many food banks rely on non-perishable items for logistical reasons. This is where it’s important to have a community of individuals that care and prioritize healthy eating habits. Because Chefs for Kids is a smaller, grass-roots, non-profit, we have the ability to augment the good work our food banks and pantries are doing by providing healthier options in the communities we serve. 

As we continue to do these outreach programs if we want to instill permanent change, we need to model what affordable healthy eating looks like. This next year our goal is to supplement the Sherman Gardens Annex pantry on a regular basis with healthier snacking options including fresh fruits and veggies. 

Giving Tuesday is one week away, and if you think your contribution is too small to make a difference… Think about Sherman Gardens’ food pantry. Think about how for $22.50 you could provide 40 apples for food-insecure kids. As little as $5 plus tax provides 16 bananas. Our recent class had 24 students in it. A small gift of any kind can easily go far to provide them with healthy snacks. 

Make your donation today, and make a difference in the diet of a child!

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