Can you Save Money AND Eat Healthier?
Many news reports cite the top two New Year’s resolutions as losing weight and saving more money. In most years weight loss has been the most popular goal. Given the difficult economy in the past few months, saving money has doubtless topped eating healthier as number one. But can you save money and eat healthier?
After enduring almost daily intestinal pain and headaches for a year, I discovered that I had intolerances to a number of foods, including gluten, corn, soy and dairy. Since these items are in almost everything served in restaurants, especially fast foods, I started to cook at home much more often. In the process our family began to eat healthier AND save money.
A traditional New Year’s Day meal of ham, black-eyed peas, and collard greens in a restaurant would cost a minimum of $10 per person, so a group of six would eat for about $60. If you have younger children who prefer fast food, then plan to spend $30-36 for burgers, chicken fingers, fries and soft drinks for a family of six. Both of these options are significantly more expensive, and higher in fat and calories, than making a home-cooked meal. For our New Year’s celebration one year I bought a boneless pork roast on sale for $1.99 per pound and served it with rice, black-eyed peas, collard greens and iced tea. Instead of $60, I spent a total of about $10 for a meal that fed six adults.
My husband and I often go to Hilton Head Island for the weekend. A seafood meal in a nice restaurant for the two of us will cost about $60 including tip. Instead of going out for dinner, we often go to Piggly Wiggly and purchase local fresh shrimp, fresh asparagus, and potatoes. We spend about $15 for our gourmet dinner and are certain there are no additives or preservatives in what we ate.
Whether eating out for New Year’s or at the beach, I have found that home-cooked meals cost 25% or less of similar restaurant meals. Food quality, nutrition, and healthfulness of ingredients are also improved.
By shopping store specials you can save even more money while also improving the quality of the food purchased.
Boneless chicken is a staple in my household and is purchased when on sale for $2.99 per pound. I also often buy organic, whole chickens for $2.49 per pound or less. A pound of boneless chicken feeds three or four as compared with a KFC bucket of chicken for $8.00.
Organic, grass-fed ground beef can be found on sale locally for $5 per pound. This will make four excellent quality burgers for the price of one from a fast food restaurant.
I purchase good quality ice cream on sale for around $3 per carton. A carton supplies 8 servings, versus getting one scoop of ice cream in a local shop.
A bag of Starbucks coffee costs $6 in the sore and makes as many as 40 cups. Or I could spend that same $6 and get two servings at a local Starbucks store.
The monetary savings from careful shopping and preparing meals at home quickly adds up. Cooking at home also gives you control over ingredients. If you have health issues, then preparing your food at home is definitely the way to go.
Get recipes that are healthy And easy on my recipe page. Comment below with any ways that you have found to save money on healthy food.