The Economy of Food by Andrew Castillo
Have you ever heard someone say that healthy food is too expensive? Well I’m about to show you how I personally calculate the cost of my own food – in this example, my favourite breaky: eggs!
Eggs contain the highest quality of nutrition of all protein sources, and as many as 11 different vitamins, minerals and even contain Omega-3 fats for heart health.1 They are also a valuable source of folate for pregnant women. All great reasons to eat eggs!
I’ve been eating eggs every breakfast for as long as I can remember. That’s at least 33 years! But it never dawned me to figure out how much I really need and how much it was costing me until I learned the metabolic value of food. So here is my break down:
Dietary science says that males between 19-50 years old should consume on average 64 grams of protein per day (0.84 g/kg of body weight/day)2. For strength/power training athletes like myself, a little more protein is required for repair and growth, at approximately 84 – 119 grams of protein per day (1.2 – 1.7 g/kg of body weight/day)3.
Since I weigh 91kg, I choose the higher value of 1.7g, so 91 x 1.7 = 154.7g of protein I need a day. If my daily meals consist of five per day (three meals including post workout protein shake plus two snacks), this means I should eat 30.9g of protein per meal (154.7 / 5). I’ll round my value up to 31g per meal to make it easier.
Now for a very important question: How much protein is in an egg?
To find this answer, I usually refer to the label on the food packaging or to the following website link: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-products/120/2
(NutritionData uses the American USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference3)
According to this website, one large egg contains approximately 7g of protein. So 31g per body weight divided by 7g per egg = 4.42 eggs that I need for breakfast. (I’ll just round that up to 5 eggs.)
Now, I personally buy a 30-egg tray of free-range eggs from a local egg farm for $7.00 a tray. So one tray will give me 6 breaky’s at a whopping $1.16 a serve! If I eat eggs for breaky 30 days a month, that’s 5 trays I need costing me $35.00. A year’s worth would cost me $420.
Does $1.16 a serve or $35.00 a month seem too expensive? Not when you compare it to the average cost of eggs benedict at your local café, or a bottle of wine, slab of beer, or pack of cigarettes! Imagine if you did the maths for the carbs and fats you need from all the foods you eat? Only then could you accurately determine whether healthy food is too expensive to buy for yourself and your family.
If you would like to learn to calculate the cost effectiveness of your groceries, come and see me or one of PARC’s Personal Trainers today!
1 http://www.eggs.org.au/facts-and-tips/ Australian Egg Farmers Consumer Site
2,3 Understanding Nutrition, Australia & New Zealand Edition (2nd Ed.) Cengage Learning.