Why Your Dollar Menu is Costing You Money

  • Possible Pat
  • April 9, 2018

I often hear people complain that eating healthy is too expensive and that it is much cheaper to pick something up through the drive-thru.

But have you ever compared how much money you spend on fast food and processed food from the store with how much money you would spend on the foods you should be eating?

I used to think that eating healthy meant spending a lot of money, but once I learned what I should be eating and how to show, I actually ended up saving money. I never realized just how expensive it was to eat the way I was and looking back, I am not sure how I could afford it.

Eating badly has its expenses in the long run as medical bills begin to pile up, but many of us don’t think of that long-term. Most people are just trying to make it through the week on the budget that they have, and for them and from their viewpoint, this is the cheapest way to eat.

And when you break it down, healthy food saves you money now, not just long-term, especially when you eat the foods we add to our Custom Meal Plans.

Keep reading to see:

  • > How expensive healthy food is
  • > Top 8 tips to save more money eating healthy
  • > The breakdown of a healthy meal vs the value menu


Save Money by Eating Healthy?


If you think fast food is really cheaper than eating healthy, then you have been sold a lie produced by the food industries pushing processed food. Eating healthy can be just as cheap as eating processed food or purchasing your meal off of the dollar menu.

When you eat off the dollar or value menu, the cheapest choices at fast food restaurants, you think you are saving money because everything is just a dollar, or holds a higher value than what you pay. But how often you do you eat an entire meal consisting of only one dollar menu item? I know when I used to eat this way, I would spend five to ten dollars on food from the value menu to fill me up.

When I started eating healthy, yes I spent more money at a time, but my food lasted longer and overall, at the end of the week, I was actually saving money.


Ways to Save Money While Eating Healthy


Eating healthy can be expensive if you don’t know how to shop right. Because the perception of eating healthy is that it is expensive some companies take advantage of this by hiking up the prices of the foods they sell because people believe they are better for them.

Ever been to a Whole Foods?

This store is perceived as the place you shop to eat healthy, and so the prices are often high. You don’t have to shop at whole foods to eat healthy. You can find healthy food at all grocery stores. I used to all of my healthy food at Walmart, the store that I used to walk to every day to get my meals.

If you know how to shop and what to buy, your meals will be inexpensive. Here are ways to buy healthy foods and save money:

  • > Buy your food in bulk – You can save a lot of money by purchasing your food in bulk, whether it is frozen vegetables or dry grains.
  • > Plan your meals – Planning your meals, like we do on our Custom Meal Plans, helps you save money by keeping you from wasting food. This way you don’t spend money on food you don’t need and you don’t need and you only spend money on food that you know you need.
  • > Cook at home – When you are eating healthy you are more likely to cook at home instead of eating out. This is especially beneficial if you are feeding an entire family, rather than just yourself.
  • > Cook large portions – While we want to reduce our overall portion size to keep us from overeating, it is best to cook large portions and save your leftovers for future meals. This is especially useful for meal prepping.
  • > Don’t shop hungry – You know how it is when you’re hungry and you go grocery shopping. It can make it very difficult to avoid temptation and stick to your grocery list. Not going to the store hungry will help you save money because you won’t be buying food that you don’t need.
  • > Buy whole foods – Stop buying processed junk food that doesn’t give your body the nutrients you need. You end up spending tons of money on empty calories. Buying whole foods instead of junk will fuel your body with the right nutrients, fewer calories and you will feel full longer. When shopping for whole foods you will end up buying less food overall.
  • > Shop generic and sales – Many stores provide a generic brand alternative to many of our favorite foods and most stores also run sales and specials on their food. Base your meals around the foods that are on sale or have a coupon for, and opting for the generic version.
  • > Buy frozen – When you buy frozen whole foods you can often get more for your dollar and store what you don’t use right away in the freezer. This includes frozen vegetables, fruits, and meats. Not only will buying in bulk results in more food for your dollar, but it can also make meal prepping a whole lot easier.


Fast Food Cost vs Home Cooked


Let’s break down how much you would spend at McDonald’s using the value menu vs how much you would spend making your own healthy food, and to take my own advice, here I will be using frozen food since it is easier to buy more of it for less.

Because our healthy meal includes a protein, potato, and veggies, I chose a meal that would be as similar as I could get at McDonald’s using their value menu, or cheaper items.

The meal includes a McChicken, medium fry, and a salad.
Price: $4.57 (depending on location)

Healthy food from Fry’s:
The meal includes 6 oz chicken breast, 1 cup of veggies and ½ a sweet potato.
Price: $1.91

The healthy meal here is more than ½ the price of the McDonald’s value meal. Even when you think that eating healthy is too expensive, when you break it down, it almost doubles your savings. Yes, you end up spending more at once, but with the healthy foods above, you can get 6 meals from that single package of chicken ($1 a meal), 2 servings from the pack of frozen veggies (62¢ a meal), and 2 servings from the single sweet potato (29¢ a meal).

Still think you can’t afford to eat healthy?


Healthy Meals that are Simple


On our Custom Meal Plans we focus on meals that are designed for you, but still simple to make so that you don’t have to waste money at the grocery store. You can apply most of the tips listed above when shopping for your meals so you can save more money.

And if you are not ready for a meal plan, check out my FREE Approved Foods List where I list all of the foods I used to lose all the weight that I did and the foods I eat to keep the weight off. Plus, you can also download my How To Lose Weight 101 Guide to help guide you through the process.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive and it is an excuse that I hear all the time. Everyone says that they can’t afford to lose weight because they just don’t have the money, but as you can see you are actually throwing away money when you try to get your food from the value menu. Not only does the value menu hold no cash value, but it also has no nutritional value and will only lead you down a road filled with expensive medical bills.

What to Read Next? 

💸 How to Eat Healthy On a Tight Budget 💸

About Possible Pat

Hi, I'm Pasquale Brocco and I've lost A LOT of weight. When I started my journey to lose weight, I weighed 605 pounds. After visiting the doctor, I realized I had to make a change. I started with a simple plan and within 60 days, I lost 100 lbs. So far, I've lost over 307 pounds. Now, I'm sharing a simple message with you, "Anything is possible." If you can put on the weight, you can lose the weight.

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