Healthy eating leads to smaller wallet

I’m sure more than one of us has asked ourselves at one time how much money it takes to eat. My mother is always saying that it costs more to eat at fast food restaurants than it does at home. This week I decided to find out how much money I had to spend to make healthy yet filling lunches.

I made a late-night trip to the grocery store on Sunday night, desperate to find a protein staple for my meals this week. With a little searching I found three pieces of frozen tilapia for $3 and a box of firm tofu for $2.50. I also bought a pineapple for $2 and decided to look for side dishes in my own kitchen at home. Each day I drank water from a bottle I filled at home.

Day One: Today I ate a filet of apple ginger tilapia and green beans on a bed of brown and wild rice. I simple sautéed the fish in the tiniest bit of extra virgin olive oil while grating fresh ginger over the fish. Next I sliced a fourth of an apple into tiny chunks and added them to the pan. I finished off with sautéing the vegetables in the same pan and adding a little bit of seasoned salt.

Total Calorie Intake: 334

Day Two: Today I ate teriyaki tofu and broccoli. I marinated the tofu overnight in an inexpensive teriyaki sauce I found in the pantry. In the morning I grilled the tofu on my George Foreman grill on the counter of my kitchen and lightly steamed the fresh broccoli.

Total Calorie Intake: 146

Day Three: Today I ate blackened tilapia, baked potato slices, and a pina colada dessert. I cooked the fish in a pan with extra virgin olive oil and black, white, and cayenne pepper. I also sliced and baked one small, red potato with chipotle seasoning. Lastly, I sliced part of a pineapple into small chunks and sprinkled coconut flakes on top.

Total Calorie Intake: 352

Day Four: For today’s lunch I made vegetable soup. Because I wanted to cook quickly, I started off with a premade stock – I used a can of chicken stock which costs only about 60 cents. Then I simply chopped up a variety of vegetables: potatoes, green onions, parsley, celery, and broccoli, all available at the grocery store for under $5. Finally, I seasoned it with just a bit of seasoned salt and a bit of black pepper.

Total Calorie Intake: 188

Day Five: For today I grilled a chicken breast on my George Foreman grill with light seasoning of salt. I also sautéed green beans, which cost about $1.50 a pound, and had two slices of pineapple.

Total Calorie Intake: 205

At the end of the week I was surprised at how well I ate. All of my lunches were delicious and under 400 calories. I also spent about $17 less than I would have at a fast food restaurant for the entire week.

Total Money Spent: $13.50