Have you convinced yourself that eating healthy is out of reach because it costs too much money?
This is the common complaint I was hearing over and over again from students in my science of nutrition course, so I decided to take their concerns to heart and prove that not only can you feed a family of four healthy foods on a budget, you can do it for less money than it takes to go through the drive-through at the fast food restaurant.
Here is how...
Like you, college students lead busy lives. Many juggle full-time work and family with their college classes. Most of them know they are eating unhealthy foods, but the thought of changing to a healthy diet seems like a road filled with obstacles, cost being at the top of that list.
I knew if I was going to make any progress toward convincing them that eating healthy was worthwhile that I would need to develop an eating plan that was not only easy to follow, but also saved them money.
I got input from my students concerning what they needed to see in order for me to prove to them that my theory was correct.
Here are the rules we agreed to:
1. The meals had to be kid-friendly. No trying to convince a 6-year-old that kale is yummy.
2. Prep time had to be quick. No time for complicated recipes or hard to find ingredients.
3. The meals had to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains.
4. Total cost for the entire day of eating health had to be less than $20. This was based on the fact that each family member could get 5 items from the dollar menu (1 item for breakfast; 2 items for lunch and dinner) for that much money.
5. Buying in bulk and using generic brands was allowed.
Here are the results - WOW!
The healthy eating plan blew the socks off of the fast food plan.
The healthy eating plan for the entire family of four came in at an impressive $14.76, leaving the students with an extra $5.24 in their pockets at the end of the day!
Total cost for each member of the family to eat healthy for one day = $3.69
Total cost for each family member to eat off the dollar menu for one day = $5.00
Total cost for family of four to eat healthy for one day = $14.76
Total cost for family of four to eat off the dollar menu for one day = $20.00
Not only did eating healthy save money, students could also feel good about serving these foods to their families. And, honestly, are five dollar-menu items in a 24-hour period really satisfying for anyone?
Here is the plan:
BREAKFAST: Quick and Easy Oatmeal made in the microwave using quick oats. The recipe includes heart-healthy cinnamon, and vitamin packed banana and raisins.
Cost per person = 79¢
Total cost for family of 4 = $3.16
LUNCH: Mexican Bean Enchiladas made with corn tortillas. The recipe includes cancer-fighting vegetables, beans and spices.
DINNER: Dad's Easy Chili made with four kinds of beans. The recipe gets its kick from chili powder, jalapenos and Tabasco that you can adjust to meet your family's taste.
Cost per person = $1.41
Total cost for family of 4 = $5.62
Cost per person = 75¢
Total cost for family of 4 = $3.00
DESSERT: Apple and Peach Delight prepared in 5 minutes. This recipe has an aroma that fills the house as it bakes in the oven.
Cost per person = 74¢
Total cost for family of 4 = $2.97
Would you like to give this one day diet a try? I made it easy for you to do. You can print the complete recipes used in this healthy meal plan from my site..
And, be sure to pick up a free copy of the. This simple plan saves time, money and calories by getting the sugars and processed foods out of your diet and the fruits and vegetables in.