This math will change your life.
There are two types of data presented. Nutrition Per Dollar and Nutrition Ratio Total(Sum).
A straight addition of nutrients would yield an unimportant number due to a wildly high amount of Vitamin A in carrots.
The solution was to remove the dimensions of each to find a Nutrient Ratio:
(Ingredient’s Nutrient mg/dollar) / Max Nutrient mg/dollar
This creates a scale from 0 to 1, where 1 is the best value for that Nutrient/$. By removing the dimensions, we can now add these up. If we decided we wanted to weight one nutrient over others, we could use multiplication.
The numbers below are an addition of 37 micronutrients I considered beneficial.
On Data Collection- I nearly always picked the lowest cost option, and obtained nutrition data from here.
Understanding and implementing top 50 ranked foods is valuable.
Nutrition Ratio Total = Sum of 37 (Nutrient/$ / Highest Nutrient/$). The original Nutrient/$ can be found below.
The Nutrition Ratio Total is good for understanding scale of value. IE: Oranges(1.57) are 3x more Nutritious Per Dollar than Lemons(0.51).
If you havent eaten a specific vegetable before, I’d toss the veggie into something you already enjoy. We started adding Spinach or Kale to our friend rice. After 10 minutes of cooking, it still tastes like my favorite fried rice in the world, but it has Kale.
Frozen food doesnt show up until #19, where Frozen Carrots are 2x more expensive than Fresh Carrots. The lesson here is to reduce/eliminate canned and frozen food. Fresh/Raw foods are typically cheaper.
One more cost saving tip- Replace a $1.69 Red Pepper with Carrots. Just as sweet.
Flour + Cereal- Apparently low fiber and enriched with vitamins help you score pretty well. Monster took a note from them. We sometimes use flour to thicken our soups/stews, but that’s about it.
Here is the Excel Data:
A half decade of studying this topic and having to cook for my ‘used to be picky’ wife, here is my ultimate guide to eating the most nutritious, healthy, low cost food ever. We aim to eat around 700 Calories Per Dollar and my ‘used to be picky’ wife now prefers our menu over restaurants.
Protein– Beans, Lentils, Chicken, Eggs, Milk, and potentially discounted meats(turkey,pork/ground beef).
Veggies– Leafy greens, Carrots, and in-season veggies
Carbs– Pick Bread, Rice, Noodles- Don’t buy premade boxed rice/noodles.
Spices– Reward yourself. By eating at home you can borderline go wild on spices, sauces, etc… I’ll stay within ~1$ on things like, cream of chicken, a variety of spices, dressing, BBQ sauces, etc…
Salt, Lemon/Lime/Vinegar, Sugar, Butter/Oil/Fats, and umami taste good.
Add each slowly and taste like you would testing saltiness. If you are unaware of these cheat codes to cooking, they are worth googling.
Play around with texture, how you cook each type of food. Mess around with timing when you add spices/sauces.
My preferred texture, usually uses this method to cooking anything- Cook chicken on medium-high ~4 minutes, flip, 4 minutes, (optional deglaze), throw in veggies, cook everything for ~8 minutes. Serve on top of the carb. Change around timing when you add spices and sauces, the order will slightly change the finished product.
Everything tastes good. There are almost 0 foul flavors. Just make sure you Salt, Add an Acid, Add sweetness, Fats, and Umami (the 5 things up top).
I go to the lowest cost store in my area with a printed out grocery list of what we are eating for the week(we cycle through 28 recipes).
Writing the list was a solid 1 hour job to type everything out and plan it. We even sorted by isle. However after 5 years of using it, grocery shopping takes less than 15 minutes including checkout.
Pick fresh veggies, chicken, eggs, milk. Our list is more specific but we often will grab low cost, in-season foods. When in doubt- You are still saving money not eating out, and all food will taste good.
Buy fresh instead of canned, frozen. Avoid processed rice/noodles.
Chicken Rice Peas
There will be a recipe for it. And since all food tastes good, it probably will too.
Avoid Fast Food, Restaurants, Boxed Food, Canned Food, Frozen Food, Processed Food. (sorry, I just really want to save you money.)
Even Clif Bars on sale for 1$ off were less than 20g Protein Per Dollar.
You were told, McDonalds was the cheapest, most nutritious food. How did that 440 Calorie Per Dollar propaganda spread? Today its 2-3x more expensive than anything we eat.
How much did McDonald’s pay The Telegraph to write the article “McDouble is ‘cheapest and most nutritious food in human history'” ?
You were told Prepared Foods are cheaper than fresh food.
Nice move Marketing Companies. You got away with it for, ~20 years?
After years of studying cost effective eating- Healthy, fresh foods are almost always cheaper than anything a company prepares and re-sells.
We understand the convenience factor of having food prepared for us. That has value.
However, Marketing Companies pushed the idea their foods are low cost. I thought I was saving money by eating canned veggies.
Data shuts the myth down.