Two of the most common beliefs stopping people from eating healthily are today busted open as myths.

As we struggle with burgeoning obesity rates and rising cost of living, exclusive research reveals a good diet is neither significantly more expensive nor more time-consuming.

The two perceptions are often given as reasons for people not changing poor food habits.

Make sure you eat your fair share of vegetables and fruit on a daily basis. Photo / Getty
Make sure you eat your fair share of vegetables and fruit on a daily basis. Photo / Getty

However the research, conducted by as part of their Eat Real campaign, revealed that the average price difference per week between those who ate badly and well was just $9; and the time difference in meal preparation was just 3.8 minutes.


That's less than the time it takes to boil an egg.

The vast majority of those sampled — whether their diets were rated poor to fair or very good to excellent — spent almost exactly the same on groceries per person each week, falling into one of three bands: $100-$149 per individual week (32 per cent and 32 per cent); $150-199 per week (23 per cent and 24 per cent) or $200-249 per week (14 per cent and 15 per cent respectively).

"It's easy to get caught up in the marketing machine that tells us that healthy food is expensive," said Dr Nick Fuller, an obesity expert from the University of Sydney.

Man eating takeaways whilst working late. Photo / Getty
Man eating takeaways whilst working late. Photo / Getty

"We've convinced ourselves that buying kale is better for us than buying broccoli, but the truth is that all leafy green vegetables have similar nutritional values, and they are all good for us. You're better off buying whatever leafy green is in season or on special that day," said Dr Fuller, author of best-selling book, Interval Weight Loss.

"It's the same with buckwheat, it has a similar nutritional profile to rice, so why not just buy rice," he said.

"Not only are seasonal fruit and vegetables some of the most affordable foods you can buy, they also have greater satiety than your typical convenience foods, so you're also getting more bang for your buck," he said.

Experts agree the idea that preparing healthy food is difficult and time-consuming is another mental stumbling block that needs to be overcome.

The Eat Real data shows that those with a poor to fair diet spent an average of 36.4 minutes in the kitchen per meal, while those with a very good to excellent diet spent 40.2 minutes.

"Once again, we're getting caught up in the very convincing argument that our meals need to be complicated," said Dr Fuller.

What one will fix your sweet tooth in a healthier way? Photo / Getty
What one will fix your sweet tooth in a healthier way? Photo / Getty

"We don't actually need to spend our weeknights scouring supermarket shelves for obscure ingredients or making recipes with hundreds of steps. You don't need a lot of ingredients nor a lot of time to put together something that is healthy and enjoyable to eat."

Despite busy schedules, ex-MasterChef contestant and surfer chef Hayden Quinn and his American model girlfriend Jax Rayner, still manage to find the time to cook each evening.

"If you have time to wait around for food to be delivered, you have time to cook," Hayden said.

"Dinner takes us about 30 minutes, and we're not always in the kitchen for the whole time. We'll often put something on and then leave it to do other things," said Jax, who also has her own food blog, Model Turned Cook.

While some may imagine that Hayden and Jax spend their weeknights plating up Michelin-starred feasts, the truth is, they're more likely to whip up something quick and simple.

"We'll often just get a nice piece of fish, and do that with grilled zucchini and a small salad," said Hayden.

"I also like to get a whole heap of roasted veg — so eggplant, sweet potato, cauliflower and garlic, and just throw it all together with Greek yoghurt and flatbreads."

"These are just store bought flatbreads, mind you. We're not making our own flatbreads — no one's doing that."

While Hayden and Jax may know their way around the kitchen a little better than the average couple, it's simply a case of practice makes perfect, says Hayden.

"Both of us are pretty good cooks so we can speed things up, but even our housemate who's still building his confidence in the kitchen can still punch something out in 30 to 40 minutes."