Preparing and eating fresh fruit and vegetables is a convenient, cheaper and healthier option than eating fast foods, according to health experts.

Although many people think fast food is convenient and good for your wallet, the ‘Real Cost of Healthy Food report card’, released recently as part of the ‘Go for 2 & 5 campaign’ shows preparing and eating healthy food is indeed the cheaper and healthier option, the North Coast Area Health Service says.

The report card reveals that despite a serious drought and recent floods, fruit and vegetables and other healthy foods were less than one third the price of junk food alternatives.

According to Jillian Adams, from the North Coast Health Promotion, the current third phase the ‘Go for 2&5’ campaign aims to dispel the myth that healthy food is costly and time-consuming.

“A lot of us tend to think that we live such a fast lifestyle where we cannot afford to eat healthily without spending too much money,” she said.

“We often resort to snacks and fast foods that tend to be higher in fat and sugar and contain fewer nutrients. When you combine this food habit with our inactive lifestyles, your body will pay the price.

“With half of our adults either overweight or obese and an increase in childhood obesity in recent years, it is important we keep our weight under control to avoid chronic disease, such as diabetes and heart disease.

“Maintaining a healthy diet that comprises two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables is an easy way to tackle this problem without blowing the family budget.”

The Go for 2&5 campaign provides a range of practical and innovative solutions such as tips, recipes to help people incorporate more fruit and vegetables into their diet while making sensible savings along the way.

When comparing a healthy daily menu with a less healthy menu, the savings can add up to $851 per person each year.

The report card can be accessed on line at www.gofor2and5.com.au

Example:

Less healthy foods (price per kilo) Healthy alternative (per kilo)
Banana muffin-$12               versus         Banana -$4.72
Chocolate -$17.90                versus         Dried sultanas -$6.45
Fruit bar -$25.80                   versus        Apple -$4.29
Potato chips -$19.90             versus        Popping corn -$3