Is it Cheaper to Eat Fast Food or Real Food?
In the movie Food, Inc. it shows a family going through the drive through of a fast food restaurant and being "forced" to feed their family fast food because they can't afford real food. Later it shows the same family walking through a grocery store claiming they can't afford the fresh food. One daughter wants a pear or something and the parents say they can't afford to buy it for her and pull her away. So is this true? Is it cheaper to feed a family a meal off the dollar menu or is it cheaper to buy real food at the grocery store?
As sad as this video footage was, I totally disagree with it. If this family of four buys dinner off the dollar menu, complete with sodas and fries, my best guess is that it is a minimum of $10. We don't really eat fast food, so I am not positive on the cost. Let's take that same $10 and head to the grocery store. You can buy a bag of carrots for about $.79, a five pound bag of potatoes for $2, a dozen eggs for around $1, a gallon of milk for $2, a loaf of bread for $1, a pound of pasta for $1 or less, a jar of tomato sauce for $1 and a tub of peanut butter for $1.
For the same amount of money I can feed my family breakfast, lunch and dinner with food items left over for another day. Simple, healthy, real food to nourish my family. You have vegetables, grains, dairy and protein. No this menu isn't ideal, but it is much better for you than fast food and it is cheaper. You get at least three meals at home for the same cost as one meal out.
Ten dollars isn't going to go very far if you want steak, but it will go far enough to feed your family healthy meals. And the next $10 you get you could buy some different items to go along with what you already have. Bananas are probably your cheapest fruit, and to get more vegetables in you can buy onions and garlic for minimal cost. You could buy those three items for around $2. Add in a roll of ground beef for $2, more pasta for $1, tomato sauce for $1, eggs for $1, two cans of green beans or peas $1, another loaf of bread $1 and you have spent another $9, but you have enough food for probably two more days.
Are you wondering what you would eat? I have thrown out a bunch of ingredients, but how would you put it together? Breakfast would be eggs. Cook them however you like them and drink with a glass of milk. Lunch would be peanut butter sandwiches and carrot sticks or baked potatoes. Dinner would be spaghetti and toast.
After the second shopping trip you can branch out a little because you should have peanut butter, potatoes and carrots leftover. You can split your ground beef into two meals. The first meal can be a stew of potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic green beans and ground beef. If you have any tomato sauce leftover this would make a nice addition to the stew. You can season with salt and pepper if you have it. You can also have spaghetti with a meat and tomato sauce for another dinner. Garlic and onions can be added to this as well. Serve with peas or carrot sticks. The bananas could be eaten with the sandwiches at lunch and onion can also be added to eggs in the morning.
If you keep to simple, nutrient dense foods, you can get a lot of calories and nutritional benefits from a very low cost menu. This is nothing fancy or exciting, but it will nourish your body and keep you healthy for much cheaper than eating your meals out - even if you choose from the dollar menu. Fast food, soda and French fries are not healthy. This isn't real food. If you are on a limited income please do not waste your hard earned money on junk. Soda does nothing for you. Yes it might taste good, but it isn't going to keep you alive. You can feed yourself and your family on just a little bit of money and it doesn't have to come from a box or a drive through. Eat real food for real health and it will save you money over fast food.