Beat Inflation: Eat plants

January 15, 2022

by Nancy E. Roman, President and CEO of Partnership for a Healthier America

There’s one way to battle inflation while also building health and supporting our planet: eat more plants.

As we all know, soaring costs are impacting families across the country. Food prices in particular are rising so fast they jump between weekly shopping trips. Over just this past year, the price of eggs jumped 11 percent, meat rose 15 percent, and the price of milk jumped 8.4 percent to $3.66 per gallon.

 A graph of rising food prices

*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

But there could be a silver lining here. High food prices may just be the nudge we need to get us eating the things that are best for our health and our planet – namely fruits, vegetables, and beans. According to the Produce Blue Book, the average cost of fruits and vegetables are still just 64 cents per pound. Now granted, some fruits and vegetables are much higher in price (and some much lower.) But in total, a three bean soup will cost you a lot less than steak, and significantly less than burger. For example, serving of pinto beans costs just 15 cents compared to a serving of steak which costs about $2.50)

We could fill 10 computer screens with data about the power of food to build health. We know that just 10 foods – eating too much or too little – are at the root of nearly half of US deaths from heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes each year.

Vegetables, beans, and fruit are also beneficial to our planet because they have a low carbon footprint, relative to any animal protein source.

A bean-based meal in lieu of a beef-based meal would save you about $1.85 per serving. That means replacing animal protein with bean protein just once a week could save you $200 per year.

An image of soaring costs due to inflation Soaring costs impacts each family differently but they impact families who are already struggling to put good food on the table the most. At PHA, we believe that every family in every zip code deserves access to the food that promotes human and planetary health.

Our work at PHA bridges the gap in our two-tiered food system so that everyone has the opportunity to eat good food as a way to boost their health, protect the planet, and save money.

So if you won’t do it for your health, and even the future of the planet doesn’t motivate you, do it for your own wallet.

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