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Posted on 05-09-2013

How to eat healthy on a budget.

budgeting for healthy foodsIn today’s fast paced world of on the go eating, people may have lost sight of what food actually is. Food is simply fuel for our bodies. Food powers our body to perform certain tasks throughout the day. As times have passed, many have forgotten this simple truth of this fact. Many people are concerned with taste of their food, but more importantly the price of their food in a tough economy. There is also a preconceived notion that “healthy eating” is expensive and grabbing a quick cheeseburger is the right answer.

Before this journey, it must be understood on a very basic level the facts about the three components that make up calories; Fats, Carbohydrates & Proteins. These macronutrients act as fuel and building blocks for our bodies. Fats and Carbs act as fuel sources for the body to use for energy and protein is used for building and repairing the body at a cellular level. Now that we have this quick refresher out of the way, let’s dive into a comparison of two meals: Mcdonalds Value Meal vs cooked meal at home.

Mcdonalds: Premium Chicken Ranch Wrap, Medium Fries & Medium Coke. *Calories are from the listings on their website.

Total Calories: 960

Total Fat: 40g

Total Carbs: 67g (mostly simple)

Total Protein: 29g

Price Per Meal: Average $5

Cooked Meal: Veggie Bowl containing; 1 Cup Brown Rice, 1/2 Cup Lentils, 1 Cup Carrots, 1 Cup Broccoli, 1 Ounce Sunflower Seeds.

Total Calories: 802

Total Fat: 16g

Total Carbs: 129.5g (mostly complex)

Total Protein: 40g

Price Per Meal: Average $1.62


The two meals as listed above are relatively close in total caloric intake. The Mcdonald's meal is heavy in simple carbohydrates & saturated fats which can lead to numerous health problems (we will cover in later articles). The cooked meal is high in complex carbohydrates and protein, which stimulate massive health benefits that we will cover in other numerous articles.

It is not the intent to break down the health related benefits and harms of each meal, rather to show the price per meal based upon total caloric intake. Again, these meals are close in total calories but show an extreme difference in price. The meal that is cooked at home is an extremely healthy meal, that if you consumed once per day, would give you huge health benefits. You would already have two servings of veggies down in this one meal.

Based upon these two findings, it must be agreed that there are healthy options for meals that are very affordable. Let’s look at a years savings by substituting this one cooked meal for lunch everyday, instead of spending $5 per day on lunch.

365 days X $3.38 savings = $1,233.7 per year or $102.8 per month.

Hopefully you now have that “preconceived” notion out of your head that eating healthy is not affordable or only for the wealthy people, when in reality, the fast food option is the most expensive and most unhealthy.

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