Skip to main content

Cancer Survivors, You Can Eat Well On A Budget!

By Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES September 17, 2014Pearls of Wisdom Blog

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
Total $14.16 Total $14.92
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.

Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES

Author Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES

Nutrition Educator Margaret Martin is a Licensed Dietitian and Nutritionist in the State of Tennessee as well as a Certified Diabetes Educator. Margaret graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics and received her Master’s Degree in Nutrition Science & Public Health from the University of Tennessee. With more than 10 years of experience in Clinical Nutrition, Margaret has also worked in the insurance industry with WellPoint Inc. and Blue Cross Blue Shield providing telephonic nutrition consultations, service assistance, and web-based nutrition education. In her free time Margaret volunteers with the American Lung Association’s annual “Lung Force Walk" in Middle Tennessee. She belongs to the Oncology Nutrition & Diabetes Care and Education Dietetic Practice Groups of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

More posts by Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES

Leave a Reply