Is The Dollar Menu Costing You More Than $1??

Steph Wagner

November 11, 2014

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I hear it all the time in my office: “I can’t afford to eat healthy foods.”


“All I can afford right now is the dollar menu.”


“I’m too busy to do anything else for dinner…I need to just grab it.”

I’ve heard every argument out there for the benefits of fast food. Rather than rant on how terrible fast food is for you (which I could do…) I instead like to discuss how the opposite could be true…

Could fast food be costing you more than eating healthy?

Could your dollar go much farther at the grocery store?

Could waiting in line for the drive thru actually be more time consuming than having food in the house?

Let’s take it from the top. Question #1:

Could fast food be costing you even more money than healthy foods options? 

Think about this – when you order off the dollar menu, how many meals does that order provide for you?

How long does that meal stay with you and keep you full?

If you get groceries to make dinner, how many meals does that provide for you? Or how many mouths can you feed?

This week for example, I made a pot of chili using ground turkey, canned tomatoes, beans, green bell pepper, etc. My total for that pot of chili was $5.80 and it provided 4 meals…which is $1.45 per meal. If I were ordering off a dollar menu, my total would likely be $1.08 for one item. But I would be hungry quickly if I ate one item from the dollar menu. Instead, I had a bowl of chili for $1.45 and was full for hours. Much healthier, much better for my body and weight control….better for my budget.

High carb meals like a fast food meal will leave you hungry very quickly. Your blood sugar will spike and drop and you will look for more food before long. Not only is your diet compromised by the high fat and high carb content, but also because you’ll get hungry fast. Fast food meals are highly addictive foods and will leave you wanting more fast. So you’ll need another dollar menu before too long.

Of course it hurts the wallet more to make a grocery store purchase than a fast food purchase, but I encourage you to divide that grocery bill by how many meals/snacks you were able to get out of that purchase.

Which leads me to question #2:

Could your dollar go much farther at the grocery store? 

How much is a carton of eggs?

What about a package of string cheese?

Container of cottage cheese? (I know, people love or hate cottage cheese..but stay with me)

I buy reduced-fat string cheese at Aldi for $2.79 a package, 12 sticks per package. That means each stick is less than a quarter. I usually eat two cheese sticks for a snack in the afternoon. Snack time costs me fifty cents. It also leaves me full and satisfied until dinner and keeps me on a good eating plan for my weight control.

I didn’t buy eggs this week but usually they run $1.55 per dozen at Aldi. Each egg is 13 cents. If I were really hungry and made 3 scrambled eggs I would be out 39 cents.

Cottage cheese and blackberries have been a super easy breakfast for me lately. A carton of 2% cottage cheese at Aldi was 2.29 and blackberries were 99 cents. I bought them on Friday and have had them for a snack every day since (today is Tuesday)…which means so far my snacks have averaged less than 66 cents. 

You get my point. Your dollar can go further and your hunger is better controlled so the amount of food you need to purchase is less. Food for thought :)


Could waiting in line for the drive thru actually be more time consuming than having food in the house?

Most of my clients wouldn’t argue this. If they had food in the house, they would be happy not to have to wait in line for fast food. The key here…is actually keeping food in the house. Let’s look at it this way.

I go to the grocery store once a week. Every Friday. It takes me 60-90 minutes for all my grocery shopping at two stores (Aldi and Target).

If I were to divide that time over the rest of the days of the week, that means I spent 9-13 minutes for each day that week to have food in the house.

Think about how much time you spend getting food when you don’t have it already throughout the week. Driving to the drive thru. Waiting in line. Deciding where to go or what to get. My guess is, that can take much longer than 9-13 minutes for 3 meals and/or snacks for your day.

Planning ahead makes your life much, much easier. You can stick to your diet, you can stick to your budget, and you can save yourself a lot of time and hassle!

And at the end of the day, if you want to see changes in your body…you have to make changes in your life. It’s not fun and it’s not easy….but it’s worth it. It will be much MORE fun as the weight is falling off!!!!

All my love and support in your journey to a better you,

Steph :)

One thought on “Is The Dollar Menu Costing You More Than $1??”

  1. This is very helpful. I’m a little scared, but My surgery is scheduled for May 2nd and I couldn’t be happier!

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