The Homo-Sapien tradition of feasting for winter is an understandable one; logic and instinct guide our minds to eat to keep warm by building an extra layer of fat. Survival does not, however, come to mind when summer comes around as so many attempt to starve themselves and spend an increasing amount of time in the gym to make their bodies look skeletal… or at least “shapely”.
There is of course a difference between dieting and healthy eating, though the line is fairly fine at times; one could go so far as to say that “Healthy Eating” is a form of diet. Alas, losing weight both takes away body fat as well as ‘wallet fat’. A quick scan of the internet will tell you that a healthy diet will consist of eating food like avocados, brown rice and numerous beans and pulses. If you were to then try to create an ‘exciting’ meal using such ingredients you are going to struggle… And spicing it up or making it actually tasty in some other way could mean spending a large amount for something which may still leave you craving more.
On the other hand, take the sugary, fat-filled Snickers Bar. You can buy 4 Snickers for £1 in certain stores, which would supply four generous snacks. A healthy, yet light punnet of Strawberries could cost you £2. If said punnet were to last 4 days (before growing a not so tasty furry coating!) it would mean an average of around 5 individual strawberries are being eaten a day – not exactly a filling snack.
Of course, some culinary minds may have managed to come up with cost effective methods of creating healthy meals. But the fact remains that healthy eating is not as rewarding as it should be. It often requires cooking from scratch, dealing with short sell-by-dates and buying in bulk (to keep costs down), thus repeating meals. Eating unhealthily may make you feel bad about yourself, maybe put on a little weight, but at the end of the day it can be cheap.
Snack foods like crisps and chocolate also tend to come in relatively uniform quality, but buying fresh fruit or vegetables may mean that you are spending hours of your life rummaging about in a crate full of mouldy veggies looking for the Holy Grail that is a perfectly round onion.
Dieting may well be the best way to a healthy heart, but the economy does not seem to encourage it too much. Some of the most delicious food in the world can be found fresh in your local supermarket, but it’s also some of the most expensive food in the world. Why have a bag of oranges for £1.50 when you can have a bag of mixed-fruit flavoured Starburst for £1? Healthy food is fighting an uphill battle and sometimes it costs a bit too much to get to the top.