Photovoice Project: Healthy Eating Information and Affordability

For my project, I decided to compare the price tags of two foods and two beverages that I considered to be healthy and unhealthy. For my healthy food/ beverage I chose spinach/green mix and Blueberry Monster Odwalla juice. For my unhealthy food/beverage I chose Animal Crackers and Mtn Dew Black Label. I chose foods and beverages that were not on sale and were sold at my town’s most attended grocery store. I set out to answer these questions: “Do I really know what I need to make a healthy choice?” and “Why is it so difficult to be healthy/ easy to be unhealthy?” Here’s how I used my project to answer each question:

Do I really know what I need to be healthy? 

To answer this question, I wrote down my preconceived notions about each item and nutrient on the chosen nutrition labels (Calorie Count, %DV, nutrients). Then I researched the FDA’s recommendations on how to use nutrition labels in order to make healthy eating choices, and what each listed nutrient did for my body. I compared my preconceived notions to my post research in order to educate myself and figure out if I know what I needed to know in order to be healthy.  I found that I did have some of the knowledge that I needed, as I was right about the purpose and function of many items on the nutrition labels. However, I didn’t have much knowledge about the functions of different types of vitamins, the difference between saturated and trans fat, sodium, and carbohydrates. Thanks to my research I am now better informed I now know more of what I need to know in order to be healthy.

Why is it so difficult to be healthy/easy to be unhealthy? 

To answer this question, I compared the price tags of each of the chosen food and beverages. I did this in order to determine whether the unhealthy or healthy item would be the better deal. After converting both food prices to the price per ounce (and using the price-per-unit information places in the bottom left square on each price tag), I found that the animal crackers were 37.4 cents per oz and the spinach and green mix was about 59 cents per oz; therefore the animal crackers were the best deal by weight. Using the same method, I found that the Odwalla juice was about 19 cents per fl oz and the Mtn Dew was about 11.8 cents per fl oz; making Mtn Dew the best deal. In both categories, the unhealthier choice was the least expensive. This is why it’s harder to be healthy, because it’s less expensive to be unhealthy.

It took some of these photo’s while I was at the grocery store, and others while I was at home. I bought nearly all of the items that I used, in order to avoid having to take too many pictures in the store. It was slightly nerve-wracking taking pictures in the store, I felt like I looked suspicious. Which is funny because I don’t think I was doing anything wrong. I suppose I felt like I stood out in my environment, because I was doing something out of the ordinary. I think that approaching the Photovoice project in this can be valuable for someone that wants to know more about the daily choices consumers in this area of public health. It helped me learn more about how to read a nutrition label, what types of nutrients I should try to get a lot of and a little of, and figure out how to get the best deal when two products have different units of measurements. Not only have I learned skills that will help my be a healthier consumer when buying food in the future, I am also more informed of the choices that other consumers must face on a regular basis.

Odwalla

Animal CrackersSpinachMTN Dew

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