UPDATE 2: Please read the article, you will thank yourself. Do not just look at the table.
UPDATE: Our Nutrient Per Dollar list is now complete. This is the ultimate guide to saving money on food.
3 Years ago, my wife and I were starting Grad School, and we needed to save $30,000 a year. I remember in college I’d ask:
What Fast Food Item Will Feed Me Most Efficiently?
- Little Caesar’s 5 Dollar Pizza – 420 Calories Per Dollar, 21g Protein Per Dollar
- Panera’s Cinnamon Raisin Bagel – 430 Calories Per Dollar, 14g Protein Per Dollar
- Taco Bell Beefy 5 – 400 Calories Per Dollar, 15g Protein Per Dollar
Applying this to grocery shopping, I was appaled:
“Greek Yogurt only gives us 10g Protein Per Dollar but the Chicken we eat gives us 50g of Protein Per Dollar?”
“Instant Oats cost 5 times more than regular oats?”
“Canned foods cost absurdly more than fresh, why do people think canned meats are a good deal?”
That’s when I realized, we think we know what food costs, but we have no idea what nutrition costs. We needed a way to value food.
We graduated college, Masters and PhD. No Debt.
Want More Efficiency? I do the math for everything – you get the results, you save time and money. Get Efficient Tips:
“How can I use all of this data?”
Here is how we build a delicious and healthy meal:
- Pick A Low Cost Protein : Lentils, Beans, Chicken, some Pork, some protein powders, and some ground beef get you around 50 grams of protein per dollar
- Pick A Flavor : Spend 1 to 1.5 dollars on spices and veggies. Carrots, Garlic, Onions, Frozen peas, Frozen Green Beans, and bulk spices are delicious and healthy.
- Pick A Low Cost Carb : Rice, noodles, potatoes, tortillas, all add a base to the meal providing a median to deliver food to your mouth.
- Pick An Oil/Fat : Necessary to your life, you need to eat fats. Add some to anything you cook. Feel good about it too, filling, great calorie per dollar, and tasty.
- Search: (Protein)+ (Carb) + (Veggie/Spice) on the internet and follow a recipe.
30 million results? You will find a few good recipes in there 😛
You should aim for around 700 calories per dollar if your goal is to eat for about $1,000 a year.
“What do you eat?”
Combining high value foods with delicious recipes that are time efficient, we have developed 28 recipes that we rotate through.
- The most inexpensive fast food item is almost 2 times more expensive than eating at home – The 5 Dollar Pizza wins at 420 Calories Per Dollar. The cheapest food you can get is at home.
- Eating only white bread will cost you about $200 dollars a year in grocery bills but thousands of dollars of medical bills when you get Scurvy! Eat diverse foods for your health and sanity.
- In general, processed foods(ones that are usually boxed, and have a ton of ingredients) are more expensive than their homemade alternative.
- Canned food is very expensive.
- Cereal isn’t a value but is delicious with whole milk making it absolutely worth it… to me 🙂
- Most ‘Junk Food’ is expensive
- My ‘Super Food’ is (Pinto) Beans and Lentils. They are give between 80g-140g protein per dollar, give you 60% of your daily fiber in 180 calories, and are loaded with vitamins and minerals. I eat them minimum, a few times a week.