For decades people have debated what is the best diet, but what about the cheapest diet?
That’s a question researchers from the Miriam Hospital and the Rhode Island Community Food Bank recently investigated for a study made public earlier this month, and, not surprisingly, meat-laden diets didn’t fare well.
So what did? As it turned out, it was a vegetarian diet.
Comparing both meat-based and meatless diets, researchers found that a vegetarian meal plan reduced a person’s grocery bill by over $14.00 per month–and, per year, by a whopping $746.46.
Both findings were based on the MyPlate (MP) economical meal plan model, which selects food choices based on prices and sustainability.
“Healthy diets are perceived to be expensive due to vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat animal protein,” write researchers in the online version of the Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition. “An economical version of MP costs $746.46 more per year while providing fewer servings of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.”
Why You Should Go Vegetarian
Typically, healthy diets, such as a vegetarian diet, are considered to be more expensive, due to the rising cost of fruits and vegetables. In addition, some perceive organic produce to be the healthiest, which are often more costly.
Researchers wanted to explore this myth, so they designed two seven-day meal plans based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s My Plate meal plan, which emphasizes the intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats.
One meal plan emphasized the intake of animal-based products, whereas the other was completely vegetarian.
When studying both diets, researchers found that the meat diet often contained fewer vegetables and fruits. Because meat can be very costly, this also drove up the weekly price of the meal plan to $53.11.
The vegetarian diet, on the other hand, emphasized a higher intake of cheap produce and other protein-providing vegetable products, increasing this intake by roughly 25 percent. A bag of beans, for instance, can cost around $2.00, whereas a 8 oz. bag of meat can cost as much as $12.00.
Naturally, the weekly cost of this diet was low, clocking in at $38.75.
Over an entire year, it racked up over $700.00 in savings.
“The cost for a 7-day meal plan for an economical version of MyPlate (MP) and a plant-based olive oil (PBOO) were calculated,” write researchers. ” MP cost $53.11, and PBOO cost $38.75. Lean animal protein contributed $11.20 (21%) of the total costs for MP. PBOO had more servings of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.”
Naturally, scientists recommend this plan. And, if you too want to save money on groceries in a healthy way, your best bet is to go vegetarian.
Readers: Would you try a vegetarian diet? Why or why not?
A Vegetarian Diet Can Save You Around $750 Each Year When Compared to a Meat-Eating Diet – MedicalDaily.com
Economical Healthy Diets: Including Lean Animal Protein Costs More than Using Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Study) – TandF.com