One of the biggest issues with “healthy” eating habits in low income neighborhoods have been the cost. More and more Americans eat out, order in or just pick up something pre-made on the way home because there are two adults working in the home and the convenience of ready made food makes a tremendous difference vs cooking every night.
A few years ago I read a book by Kathleen Flinn called The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How A Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks. That book really stuck with me. Flinn was appalled watching a woman and her daughter fill their cart with cheap processed food and she decided that she could teach this woman and others how to eat healthy for the same cost or maybe even less.
Then I was in Utah picking up some chicken thighs and broccoli for a simple dinner just for myself. The cashier remarked on how the cost of those 6 thighs I was buying and the head of broccoli wasn’t that expensive. I could literally see her computing the cost of that meal in her head vs the cost of a fast food meal. I know that because we had a conversation about it.
The importance of making sure healthy meals are brought to under served communities has long economic value in health care alone. Healthy eating makes for a healthier body. So how do you bring the newest fast food casual restaurants with healthy ingredients into poorer neighborhoods when the cost of a meal is pricey. You do what Everytable is doing. They are opening up restaurants in multiple locations and based on the neighborhood they are located in affects the price. The higher prices are in the more affluent areas and that offsets the lower prices in the less affluent areas. It is not a non-profit venture but the owners have learned from their non-profit experience that bringing healthy food into poorer neighborhoods works.
I just love what they are doing. I remember when Magic Johnson opened up a movie theater in Compton. I thought it was a genius move. Many thought it was going to be a bust but the reality is everyone goes to the movies. He knew it and it turned out to be a brilliant move. Just like the co-founders behind Everytable. I love what they are doing. It is a great mission; how to make good food available to everyone. I hope that others follow in their footsteps.