We seem to think that it’s cheaper to eat junk food than healthier options. In some cases the actual meal may be cheaper than if you buy all the items for that specific meal. For example if a fast food burger or slice of pizza can be as little as $1.99, that would be cheaper than if you had to buy ground beef and buns, pizza dough, cheese and pepperoni. But you can’t think of that as a comparison. Processed fast food usually has fewer nutrients than homemade and you’re feeding into the addiction to salt, fat and sugar. These foods over time can lead to obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes type 2, heart and stroke disease and certain cancers.
Think of health first and look at the long term effects of eating fast food on a regular basis. By menu planning it is actually cheaper to eat at home without all the processed ingredients. You can buy a pound of ground beef for under $3.00 and get 4 (4 oz.) burgers out of it. Each costing $0.75! A hamburger bun costs $0.33. A burger just over $1.00!
A family meal for 4 at McDonald’s including two Big Macs, a cheeseburger, six chicken McNuggets, two medium and two small fries, and two medium and two small sodas - costs just under $30. If you prepared this at home you would spend much less than $7.00 per person, but somehow we never seem to think in these terms. Our main objective is ease and speed, not nutrition.
At home, you can serve a roasted chicken with vegetables, side salad and milk for about $14, and feed four or even six people. That’s a healthy homemade meal for $3.00 per person.
Start by arming your kitchen with whole grains, beans, fresh or frozen vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, and natural peanut butter.
If you still think you’re saving dollars on junk food think of the long term effects of eating fast food such as your risk of disease; living a shorter life and the dollars you’ll have to spend on health care and medication. Separate the “forest from the trees”!