According to a survey conducted by University of Washington’s Center for Public Health Nutrition, in order to meet the federal guidelines for a healthy diet, King County residents may have to spend nearly $400 dollars more a year on food.
The increased cost is a challenge for many, including Jenny Meucci who enjoys eating fresh vegetables.
“It's the way I've always been raised, and I raised my family that way,” said Meucci. She’s noticed that prices on produce have gone up "on everything."
In fact, a University of Washington study reported that fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods may be getting too expensive for many families.
"Regular foods that we used to eat are slipping from the reach of the average consumer and suddenly they have become luxury goods," said Adam Drewnowski, a researcher at UW.
Drewnowski said that people wind up buying processed foods and items with a lot of saturated fat because they are cheaper.
Take snacks for example: A box of saltine crackers, high in sodium and fat, costs $2.49 and a bag of apples costs $3.75.
“The refined sugars, the fats, the quote 'bad nutrients', those diets were cheaper diets," Drewnowski said.
Drewnowski said consumers can find cheaper, healthier options, but they have to work a little harder to find them.
For instance, items that are in season usually cost less.
Rachel Cowenberg, a local shopper, is taking on this dietary challenge.
"Blueberries are lovely, but I only buy them two or three times a year because the rest of the time they're too much," she said.
Meucci said that she stopped going out for dinner so she can eat healthy at home.
"If you want to eat [healthier]," she said, "then you don't worry about the price. You pay for it."The study’s authors said if consumers are willing to spend the extra money on healthier food now, they could save a lot in health care costs down the line.