Is eating vegetables and fruits really expensive?
Lisa D. Jordan, UGA Cooperative Extension, Chatham County
Have you eaten a fruit or vegetable today? The next time you eat a meal look at your plate. The recommendations are for half your plate to be filled with fruits and vegetables at each meal or eating occasion. Most Americans do not consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day, many people do not even eat one fruit a day. The cost of the produce is often stated as the reason for preventing them from eating more.
As you may know, whether the food is fresh or processed makes a big difference in the cost. For example, fresh apples cost an average of about $1.07 per pound. Applesauce costs $.85 per pound. However, when you measure out a cup of each, the fresh apple only costs $.28 cents per cup eaten, while the applesauce costs $.46 per cup. This is because the fresh apple takes up more space in the cup with its texture and fiber.
The most expensive fruits are fresh raspberries ($2.06 per cup) since they are so perishable while the least expensive is watermelon ($.17 per cup).
For vegetables, canned and frozen versions tend to be the cheapest. For example, green beans that are frozen or canned only cost around $.34 -$.37 per cup, while fresh costs $1.03 per cup. Most vegetables are around $.30-.60 per serving. The most expensive vegetable, canned artichokes, is $2.01 per cup.
The Economic Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture has recently published charts detailing how much different vegetables and fruits cost per pound, pint or cup. There are 26 common fruits featured and 40 vegetables. Many items are listed in a variety of formats from fresh, canned, frozen or dried. If you are interested in figuring out the cost of your favorite vegetable and fruits, go to
You may be surprised how reasonable healthy eating can be.
Food choices are shaped by food prices, along with taste, convenience, income, and awareness of the link between diet and health. Did you know…..fruits and vegetables are:
• Nutritious in any form – fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice, so they are ready when you are!
• Naturally low in calories.
• Rich in vitamins and minerals that help you feel healthy and energized.
• Provide fiber that helps fill you up and keeps your digestive system happy.
• Available in an almost infinite variety….there is always something new to try.
• Easy to grab for a quick snack.
• Add color, texture and appeal to your plate.
I look for what is in season and what is on sale when purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables. There are Farmer’s Markets that carry a variety of fresh products at quite reasonable prices. A visit to a local market is a great outing for your family. You can also let your children help choose items. They will often try new items if they are included in the food preparation. I challenge you to try a new fruit or vegetable each week. Many grocery stores have recipes on how to prepare products.
If you would like to learn more about fruits and vegetables, nutrition, how to prepare recipes or stretch your food dollars, contact your local Cooperative Extension. Free nutrition sessions are available in Spanish or English in Chatham, Appling, Wayne, Jeff Davis, Bacon, and Tatnall counties. For more information contact Carmen Martinez at 912.652.7994 or email@example.com or Fani Orellana at 912.367.8130 or firstname.lastname@example.org.