Posts Tagged ‘budget’

FoodNutritionPersonal HealthWeight Loss

Eating Healthy on a Budget

People have told me they cannot eat healthy on a budget. These same people think nothing of spending $13-20 for one fast food meal and get take out 2-4 times a week. This post takes portions of my grocery bill and splits it across the cost per meal.

Before the Store

This past week, we decided our meat-based proteins for the week would be chicken, turkey, and pork. Because we are two people wanting a variety in food instead of mass cooking the exact same thing for every meal, we go to the local grocery store. We also don’t have a deep freeze, so only purchase enough for the active week. If you are extremely budget concerned, look for deals in store and online. I would also recommend going to stores that sell in bulk, such as Costco if you are feeding four or more people.

For two people, we spent $28.70 to get: 2 small pork tenderloins (on sale for $6.55 total); 3 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts ($10.17); and 2 pounds of 99% lean ground turkey ($11.98). From a produce perspective, we bought one large can of diced tomatoes ($2.99), one package of mushrooms ($2.99), one large box of spinach ($3.99), a large bunch of asparagus ($5.79), and 2 broccoli crowns ($0.98). Other items we keep in the pantry include white rice ($3.99) and cans of veggies which we buy for as little as $0.69 per can.

Healthy Meal Planning

Sound familiar? It should. If you do not plan for meals, you are planning to fail yourself.

The three common meals I make are: chicken breast with a vegetable; ground turkey with veggies mixed in; and a breakfast base of scrambled egg whites. Here is a snapshot of my breakfast and lunch today:

Breakfast

Food Item Cost Purchase Quantity Meal Portion Meal Macronutrients and Calories Cost per Portion
Egg whites $4.99 32 ounces 6 ounces 19g protein
1g carbs
0g fat
88 calories
$0.63 (1 cup uncooked is ~6 ounces cooked)
Asparagus $5.79 1.5 pounds 1 ounce 1g protein
1g carbs
0g fat
6 calories
$0.24
Mushrooms $2.99 8 ounces 2 ounces 2g protein
2g carbs
0g fat
12 calories
$0.75
Ezekiel bread $4.49 20 slices 1 slice 4g protein
14g carbs
1g fat
80 calories
$0.23
Total calories: 186 Total cost: $1.85

Lunch

Food Item Cost Purchase Quantity Meal Portion Meal Macronutrients and Calories Cost per Portion
Boneless skinless chicken breasts $10.17 3 pounds 3 ounces 26g protein
0g carbs
3g fat
140 calories1 ounce is 47 calories
$0.63
Broccoli $0.98 1 pound 2.5 ounces 2g protein
5g carbs
0g fat
25 calories
$0.25
Long grain white rice $3.99 2 pounds 1/2 cup 2g protein
22g carbs
0g fat
103 calories
$0.28 (2.5 dry cups created 8 cooked half cup portions)
Total calories: 268 Total cost: $1.16

For dinner, I had the ground turkey mixed with diced tomatoes, spinach, half an avocado, and half a cup of black beans. This came to 308 calories (31g protein, 31g carbs, 8g fat) and $2.70.

My total meal spend today was $5.71 and 762 calories. While this is slightly on the low side, I have protein shakes around my workouts and this leaves me room for snacks, such as carrots or a banana. I also do meal prep for my husband who consumes almost double my portions. For him it is ~1500 calories and an $11.50 day. Total cost to feed the 2 of us is a little over $17 per day. Rounding up to $22 a day for coffee and the odd other item, this is a $110 work week for 2 adults. One person could spend this much on fast food in 5 days across 4-15 meals and consume 1310 calories in one meal alone.

Reasons or Excuses

  • Is it because you don’t plan when you go shopping? – write a list
  • Is it because you don’t measure portions when serving food? – buy measuring utensils and a scale
  • Is it because work keeps you busy? – make time…put time into your calendar if necessary
  • Is it because you have kids, who keep you busy? – make food time bonding time and pull the kids into the food prep and educate them on healthy eating choices

If you have kids, be the adult and shape the diet for the house. Don’t tell me that your kids will not eat (by choice not allergy) certain foods. If you need help with different flavors, find options such as Flavor God to mix things up.

Keli Hay is a certified personal trainer using her weight loss success to help others.

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