It just seems like a quick drive over to McDonald’s or Burger King is so much cheaper than trying to buy a ton of groceries, right? It’s so easy, the food is fast and cheap, and we’ll get back on that horse tomorrow and get a longer walk in or something to make up for it, no problem!
This is disastrous thinking. It’s incorrect on so many levels! Fortunately, I’m here to help you. I’m here to debunk this pervasive myth, and to show you just how easy it is to eat healthy and stay on budget!
Let’s continue building on the last two blog posts I’ve written. The first was how to NAIL your nutrition to the WALL and always be prepared with a meal no matter where you are. The second was WHAT to eat, the building blocks for a healthy nutrition plan. Let’s take that, those few simple building blocks, and show the reality of cost:
Protein. This is where the bulk of cost is. Meat costs more than any other basic ingredient, it’s just the way it is. However, when you pick a healthy lowfat protein, you’re getting your money’s worth. Let’s look at a basic chicken breast, say 8 ounces. If you buy a bag of chicken breasts somewhere like Sam’s or Costco, a single 8 ounce breast will cost around $1. No really, just $1. It will also run around 220 calories with about 50g protein.
Veggies. Go walk over to the produce section. It’s packed with nutrition, and most of the items are super cheap! At an average weighted price of around $1.00 a pound, 4 ounces of fresh green beans would cost around $0.25.
Greens. At an average price of $1.35 a pound, 6 ounces of spinach would cost around $0.65.
Let’s say you’re splurging with this meal, and including carbs. So let’s add some sweet potatoes in there! Again, average weighted price of around $0.60 a pound, so 6 ounces of sweet potatoes would cost around $0.25. It will run about 150 calories, 850mg potassium.
So that’s a healthy meal for around $2.15. Chicken breast with fresh spinach, green beans and sweet potato. Not too shabby. However, let’s splurge even more and say you want to season your food, and let’s round that all the way up to a whopping $3!
Not bad, not bad. Now let’s look at another healthy option. Let’s say you don’t have time to fix that meal, you simply want to down something healthy, so you select your Shakeology. Now for $4, $3 with the coaching discount, you are getting the equivalent of a $41 salad, with 70 different superfood ingredients to completely nail your nutrition for the entire day in one tasty filling meal replacement chocolate shake. Again, not bad at all.
Now let’s look at your fast food options that above seemed like the obvious cheap fast choice, shall we? First off, let’s look at McDonald’s:
Yes, I’ll take one Big Mac, with a side of fries and a medium Coke, yes make it the “Extra Value” meal, thanks! That will be $5.19. What do you actually get for that? You get 540 calories from the Big Mac (260 calories from fat), 29g of fat, 250mg sodium, 9g sugar, 45g carbs, 25g protein. You ALSO get another 380 calories (170 calories from fat) from the fries, 19g fat, 270mg sodium, 48g carbs, 4g protein. You ALSO get 210 calories from Coke, 58g sugar! Extra value, indeed! That’s 1,130 calories from one quick meal for $5.19!
So that’s either around 400 calories for the $3 chicken breast/green bean/spinach/sweet potato meal, or 140 calories for the $3 Shakeology meal vs 1,130 calories for the $5.19 Big Mac “Extra Value” meal.
THAT is the real truth out there, folks. The excuses for driving through McDonald’s are just that, excuses. They’re baseless and simply incorrect. It will cost you MORE and be MUCH worse for your health, and that decision will not be the only one. It’s a compound effect. You make that one choice, then another little one the next day, and so on until your body feels lethargic and you don’t even have the energy to do a workout or even go for a walk and you just spiral downward.
I’m here to show you a better way. I’m here to give you hope. Hope on a budget, how does that sound? What choice will you make tonight? Tomorrow? Can you justify it to yourself, to your family? What will you do?
About the author: John Hays is a super friendly web developer, photographer, and health & fitness coach using products like P90X, Insanity, TurboFire, and Shakeology to help people get in the best shape of their lives. His proven methods of personal accountability and constant support have helped people see major life changes. John’s photography has been seen in numerous publications, and he has worked with such web clients as Jack Daniel’s, Mission Tortillas, Joe’s Crab Shack, Conoco/Phillips and many more.