Our View: The true value of healthy food

By Herald Editorial Staff
On April 14, 2014

Ramen noodles have long been a staple in the college student’s diet, but at what cost?

With the realization that processed foods contribute to the growing obesity epidemic, several advocate for change. However, the current food prices catch many people in a contradiction.

Many people have a limited amount of money to spend on food, leading them to choose quantity over quality to get the best value. While this may help their budget, the low-quality processed foods that are available for cheap do harm to their bodies overtime.

Meanwhile, figureheads from medical professionals to Michelle Obama encourage everyone to eat healthy, natural foods, so much so that health initiatives start at a young age. Yet the food options they promote do not always match with the budgets of regular people.

College students feel the strain, as many do not have a steady income while in school. Even those students with jobs are often strapped for cash due to the financial strain of paying for a college education.

No matter how much students are encouraged to eat healthy in elementary school, monetary restrictions keep many from a healthy lifestyle in their adult life.

It’s no secret that people are unhappy about current food prices, especially when matched up against low wages for employees. Videos and infographics circulate about large profit margins for big corporations, as well as how little prices would raise if employees were paid an actual living wage.

The common theme is to blame big corporations for shady business practices, but there is a deeper problem than that: the fact that consumers are willing to let it happen.

The best way for consumers to change any industry, especially one as vital as food, is to change what they buy. This can be difficult, however, due to the fact that some people just don’t have enough money to vote with their wallets.

Add this to the staggering unemployment rates, the increase in people on welfare and the inflation of the dollar without the raising of minimum wage, and it can seem impossible to change such a big industry.

No matter how big a business gets, it is still dependent on the habits of its consumers. This is no different with the food industry, no matter how much they may try to convince consumers of the contrary.

The best way to combat the problem is to start buying better food. While it may be more expensive, the more healthy food is purchased, the bigger the demand will be long term. Simple economics can help drive down the prices of healthy foods, making them easier to purchase.

Perhaps it’s time for students to begin changing the way they think about food. While it is hard for students to eat healthy, extra budgeting can solve this with the added benefit of preparing for life with a steady income after graduation.

Giving up the time or occasional comfort food provides benefits for everyone’s health, not just the individual.

 

“Our View” is written by the editorial staff. The opinions are not necessarily reflective of the student body, faculty or administration of ASU.

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