Calorie Per Dollar List – Eat For 21 Dollars A Week


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.

Lead Engineer-Michael Kirk:

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? (2015)

  1. Little Caesar’s 5 Dollar Pizza – 420 Calories Per Dollar, 21g Protein Per Dollar
  2. Panera’s Cinnamon Raisin Bagel – 430 Calories Per Dollar, 14g Protein Per Dollar
  3. Taco Bell Beefy Fritos burrito- 430 Calories Per Dollar, 12g Protein Per Dollar

Applying this to grocery shopping, I was appalled:

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.

The results:

We graduated college, Masters and PhD. No Debt.

calorie-per-dollar-formula
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Item Before Tax Price Calories Per Dollar Protein Per Dollar Cost If Eaten All Year Calories Protein
Flour $1.68 4,464 134 $163.52 7500 3
White Bread $0.78 3,333 103 $219.00 2600 4
Sugar $2.98 2,854 0 $255.78 8505 0
Rice $6.53 2,320 46 $314.65 15150 3
Plain Oats $7.89 2,148 72 $339.81 16950 5
Ramen $2.34 1,949 41 $374.61 4560 4
Angel Hair $1.00 1,600 56 $456.25 1600 7
White Pasta $1.00 1,600 56 $456.25 1600 7
Bread Crumbs $1.08 1,556 52 $469.29 1680 4
Peanut Butter $10.99 1,487 55 $490.99 16340 7
Whole Wheat Pasta $1.00 1,470 49 $496.60 1470 7
Pearled Barley $0.98 1,429 41 $511.00 1400 4
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 101fl oz. $19.28 1,245 0 $586.43 24000 0
Chocolate Frosting $1.48 1,230 0 $593.63 1820 0
Cheez-its $5.49 1,230 25 $593.73 6750 3
Instant Rice $2.44 1,148 29 $636.14 2800 5
Pinto Beans (10lbs) $9.12 1,026 80 $711.28 9360 7
Goldfish Crackers $7.99 964 28 $757.49 7700 4
Dr. Thunder $0.84 952 0 $766.50 800 0
Whole Wheat Bread $1.48 946 41 $771.71 1400 3
Lentils $1.12 929 116 $786.15 1040 10
Olive Oil (Costco) $25.99 923 0 $790.53 24000 0
Whole Milk $2.59 902 49 $809.38 2336 8
Flour Large Taco Shells $2.38 882 21 $827.33 2100 5
Bagels $1.48 851 32 $857.46 1260 8
Large Heavy Whipping Cream $3.78 847 0 $862.31 3200 0
Eggs (Costco) $3.59 802 70 $909.97 2880 7
Kraft Mac And Cheese $1.00 780 30 $935.90 780 10
Instant Oatmeal $1.68 762 19 $958.13 1280 4
Butter $4.28 748 0 $976.38 3200 0
Miracle Whip $6.59 728 0 $1,002.23 4800 0
Dry 15 Bean Soup $2.64 727 48 $1,003.75 1920 8
Crisp Rice $2.74 712 11 $1,025.74 1950 2
0.5% Milk $2.29 699 56 $1,044.81 1600 8
Quinoa $9.99 673 25 $1,085.22 6720 6
Poptarts(Chocolate) $3.68 652 7 $1,119.33 2400 2
Hershey’s Kisses $8.98 624 9 $1,170.61 5600 3
Sweet Baby Rays BBQ $3.48 624 0 $1,170.69 2170 0
Frozen Burrito $0.44 614 18 $1,189.63 270 8
Hamburger Buns $1.18 610 20 $1,196.39 720 3
Hamburger Helper $1.25 600 12 $1,216.67 750 3
Frozen Breakfast Sausages $3.98 588 23 $1,241.62 2340 7
Great Value Ravioli $0.75 587 19 $1,244.32 440 7
Frozen Pizza $2.50 576 27 $1,267.36 1440 17
Eggs (Walmart) $2.48 566 44 $1,289.46 1404 6
Velveeta Mac and Cheese $1.98 545 20 $1,338.33 1080 13
Great Value Waffles $3.97 544 12 $1,341.71 2160 4
Kidney Beans Canned $0.68 515 36 $1,418.29 350 7
Pasta Sides $1.30 508 14 $1,437.88 660 9
Ego Waffles $4.58 498 10 $1,466.40 2280 4
Crescent Roll $1.68 476 5 $1,533.00 800 1
Raisin Bread $2.59 452 15 $1,615.98 1170 3
Nutrigrain $12.99 443 7 $1,646.30 5760 2
72/27 Ground Beef $12.70 439 21 $1,661.08 5581.324219 17
Little Caesar’s 5 Dollar Pizza $5.30 423 21 $1,727.23 2240 112
Turkey Thanksgiving Sale $1.08 407 78 $1,791.82 440 21
Great Value Italian Sausage $2.58 407 23 $1,793.71 1050 12
Cream Cheese $1.98 404 8 $1,806.75 800 2
Taco Bell Beefy 5 $1.30 400 15 $1,825.00 520 19
Sour Cream $2.08 387 11 $1,886.21 805 1
Sausage McMuffin $1.00 370 15 $1,972.97 370 15
Bagel Bites $9.99 360 13 $2,025.75 3600 7
Frozen Peas $1.98 354 25 $2,064.86 700 5
Mackerel (canned) $1.38 348 48 $2,098.75 480 11
Hershey’s Chocolate $3.94 320 5 $2,282.70 1260 3
Cliff Bar $18.45 319 14 $2,290.56 5880 10.5
Great Value Southern Hash $2.00 315 9 $2,317.46 630 2
Evaporated Milk $0.64 313 16 $2,336.00 200 2
Organic Tomato Paste $5.99 311 10 $2,350.91 1860 1
Velveeta Slices $2.78 302 26 $2,415.95 840 3
McDouble $1.30 300 18 $2,433.33 390 23
Banana $1.34 299 3 $2,445.50 400 1
Muscle Milk $26.99 289 31 $2,525.99 7800 16
Quinoa $9.48 287 12 $2,544.26 2720 7
Speedway Maple Sausage Biscuit $1.05 276 10 $2,641.59 290 10
88/12 Ground Beef $3.19 264 28 $2,766.14 841.8584071 22
Costco Broccoli Cheddar Soup $7.49 256 10 $2,847.76 1920 9
Bagel Bites $7.97 251 5 $2,909.05 2000 4
Cottage Cheese(4% fat) $2.64 250 25 $2,920.00 660 11
Chipotle $3.30 248 17 $2,937.80 820 56.5
Chicken $2.09 239 50 $3,057.52 499 104.7
Lunchable $1.06 236 11 $3,095.20 250 12
Cytosport $45.99 228 44 $3,197.40 10500 27
Large Tomato Sauce Canned $1.24 210 10 $3,481.54 260 1
White Onion $0.88 206 6 $3,545.25 181.2 2
Pork Sirloin Tip Roast $1.99 203 45 $3,591.66 404.4642857 22
Bacon $5.48 179 10 $4,082.04 980 8
Applebee’s Boneless BBQ Wings $5.18 170 15 $4,292.90 880 79
Tilapia $6.98 167 34 $4,368.69 1166.344828 23
Greek Yogurt $3.48 161 16 $4,536.43 560 14
Costco Sushi $11.99 158 4 $4,631.06 1890 5
Cream of Chicken Soup $1.25 140 6 $5,214.29 175 3
Pollock $5.98 140 30 $5,224.36 835.5854922 38
Subway Footlong $5.00 138 6 $5,289.86 690 31
Frozen Chopped Onions $1.00 120 0 $6,083.33 120 0
Canned Chicken $0.98 115 23 $6,359.11 112.5 9
Albacore Canned Tuna $14.89 113 26 $6,470.06 1680 16
Frozen Mixed Fruit $8.47 107 2 $6,794.62 910 1
Egg Whites (carton) $2.36 106 21 $6,891.20 250 5
Beef Jerky $14.99 96 16 $7,599.10 1440 13
Salmon $1.42 85 14 $8,638.33 120 10
Sliced Turkey Breast(Jeanie O) $5.98 78 14 $9,353.21 466.7272727 6
Frozen Blueberries $11.48 70 1 $10,475.50 800 1
Organic Diced Tomatoes $5.99 65 4 $11,212.05 390 1
Frozen Raspberries $6.98 57 1 $12,738.50 400 2
Raspberries $4.98 13 0 $55,929.23 65 1.5

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“How can I use all of this data?”

Here is how we build a delicious and healthy meal:

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Search: (Protein)+ (Carb) + (Veggie/Spice) on the internet and follow a recipe.

 

How to google it

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?”

Recipes

Combining high value foods with delicious recipes that are time efficient, we have developed a free cookbook with 28 recipes that we rotate through.

Our goal is to educate everyone, keep everything free and support more studies by donating to our study of Life Industrial Engineering.

Other Tips

  •  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.

 

Want to find out if Dried Fruits have better Vitamins Per Dollar? Want to find out if Frozen Vegetables are healthier per dollar than Fresh?

We apply Industrial Engineering to life, to optimize time and save money.
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