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Tips to eat healthier for under $10 a day

October 11, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
When you can get fast food for a couple bucks, it's hard to rationalize making a meal. Here are some ways to prepare meals - cheaper and healthier - at home. A recent Tufts University study found with the exception of snack time, eating meals at home is 43 percent cheaper and far healthier than eating out.

For example, for breakfast, grab a chocolate bakery muffin, a pre-made latte and an orange drink, and you'll pay $4.18 while swallowing a host of fat and sugar. Compare that against whole-wheat cereal with fat-free milk and a banana, a slice of whole-wheat toast topped with a bit of soft margarine and jelly, and a coffee; it costs$1.62.

For lunch, grab a 6-ounce Panini turkey club with a cola and a candy bar, you'll shell out $5.65. Stuff a whole-wheat pita with turkey breast, tomato, romaine, a bit of mayo and mustard, served with apple slices and a low-sodium tomato juice, you'll pay about a quarter shy of $3.

You'll put a dent in dinner dollars if you make it at home. A 5-ounce top loin steak with mash potatoes from scratch with a bit of margarine, a side of steamed carrots with honey, whole wheat roll and a cup of fat free milk will cost $3.60.

Compare that to a convenient freezer Salisbury steak meal with mac n' cheese and 2 slices of garlic bread and whole milk. You will pay two cents over $5.

At the end of the day, the healthy menu costs $9.20, while convenient shopping costs $15.98.

Only the snack proved more costly. A plain yogurt and fresh frozen berries costs ten cents more than a 100-calorie pack of chips and a cola.

Many studies says it's not worth the money to get your food faster because it doesn't take that much longer to prepare meals from scratch.

On average we spend about a half an hour making a meal in the kitchen no matter what we prepare. However, when you swap full fat to low fat, processed to whole wheat, it takes no time at all.


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