Wondering if eating out is cheaper than preparing healthy meals at home or having nutritious ready-made meals on hand? Find out the truth and ways you can still eat healthy on a budget!
If you're like most Americans living in today's busy world, you may be in the habit of eating out, whether your opt for fast food, restaurant meals or takeout. You may rationalize that it costs the same as cooking healthy meals or even having a meal-kit delivered. But here's the truth: eating out on a regular basis can harm your budget and your waistline, while eating healthfully might save you money in the long run.
Takeout is more costly than you think
- $40. 53 The average price for dinner in a full service U.S. restaurant per person in 2013.1
- $3.86 - $14.00 The average cost of a fast-food meal for one in 2015.2
- 61% of Americans state that they ate at a restaurant at least once in the previous week.3
Eating out can increase your waistline
- 92% One study found 92% of fast food meals exceeded typical energy requirements for a single eating occasion.4
- 200 More Calories Americans tend to consume 200 more calories per day when they eat out compared to when they eat meals at home.5
- 29 More Ounces Fast-food customers who refilled their soft drinks consumed 29 additional ounces of beverages and 250 more calories than people who did not get a refill.6
Tips to Eat Healthy on a Budget
Eating healthfully doesn't have to break the bank, especially if you cook your own meals at home or even outsource your meal planning.
- Save $34 Just by brown bagging your lunch, one study found you could save almost $34 a week.7
- Buy less-expensive fruits and vegetables. Apples, bananas, cabbage, carrots, dark-green leafy vegetables, green peppers and oranges are often more affordable than other types of produce.8
- Ignore the snacks at the checkout stand - they're usually less-than-stellar options including candies and other low-nutrient foods.8
- Make healthy choices. Load up on fruits, veggies and natural low-fat dairy products at the grocery store. Try to avoid purchasing (or do so in moderation) processed foods like baked good and chips.
If you still like the convenience of not having to cook you own meals, you don't have to resort to eating out. Jenny Craig offers around 100 healthy, delicious and chef-crafted meals, snacks and desserts ... all for about $25 a day.