Some people think that it costs too much to eat healthy, especially when you are fighting cancer or as a cancer survivor. You may think it costs more to buy healthy foods, but only if you shop the way you have always shopped. It’s time to explore new ways to plan meals and shop for food!
Over the years, the way we plan meals and shop for food has really changed. We now often plan our grocery list around coupons, special events, or to satisfy a craving. We think it’s easier and cheaper just to order takeout or fast food, but this doesn’t have to be the case.
Before fast food was so prevalent, many families planned their grocery lists around a weekly menu. They used leftover foods in meals and snacks later in the week. Let’s compare the cost and leftovers of a fast food meal for two versus a dinner prepared at home.
|Fast Food||Cost||Dinner at Home||Cost|
|2 Fried Chicken Breasts||$10.98 (Chicken with Sides)||3 Chicken Breasts||$6.54 ($3.99/lb)|
|2 Mashed Potatoes||Bag of Potatoes||$2.99|
|2 Green Beans||Canned Green Beans (No Salt Added)||$0.89|
|2 Biscuits||12 Dinner Rolls||$3.00|
|2 Regular Soft Drinks||$3.38||Gallon Tea||$1.50|
|Leftovers||None||Leftovers||Chicken Breast, Rolls, Potatoes, and Tea|
Prices are from a local fast food chain and local grocery store. Tax is not included in prices. Prices may vary by location and business.
With the additional food you have from your dinner at home, you can make additional meals. For lunch the next day, make baked potatoes. For dinner, try pulled chicken sandwiches on rolls with oven-fried potatoes and tea. Now the $14.93 cost for dinner at home just stretched to three two-person meals costing an average of $4.97 per meal. Compare the cost of the fast food price per meal to the dinner at home price per meal and, suddenly, fast food doesn’t seem like such a great deal.
Not only can eating at home be more budget-friendly, but it is also usually healthier. For example with the chicken meal, you can bake or grill the chicken breasts instead of frying them. You can also better control the sodium content of your food by choosing no-salt-added options. For even more health benefits, choose wheat or high-fiber rolls.
Need help with meal planning? Check out ChooseMyPlate,gov. Written by USDA nutrition experts, the information in the “Healthy Eating on a Budget” section can give you some great ideas on how to eat well while saving money.
Healthy eating is vital for cancer survivors, while going through treatments or during survivorship. Food is your fuel to improve your vitality, support a strong immune system, and fight fatigue. Explore planning your meals in a new way–you will probably find that you CAN eat well on a budget.