We all know how difficult it is to fit everything we want to do into the twenty-four hours of the day. At the end of a long day, many people find it inconvenient to prepare a healthy home-cooked meal. On top of that, they find it too expensive. As a result, many choose to eat unhealthy fast food or unhealthy frozen meals at home to make, thinking that there is no other way. In a 2017 survey, 57.5% of the faculty said they chose to eat fast food because of its convenience over cost or preference. But the fact is, there is a way to eat healthy meals that are convenient and inexpensive. It is the matter of getting that information out to people that has been holding back the success of having people eat healthier. Health is not something that should be put as a lower priority than getting errands and other work done. Health should be first because health is going to affect longevity and ability to enjoy life for yourself and your family. Tasks at moments will not have as much of an impact for the longevity of your life. If changes aren’t made now to improve eating habits then it could truly affect the quality of life in the future. I challenge you to this week long challenge that allows families, students, and faculty to try prove that incorporating healthy meal can still be cheap, fast, and convenient.
The challenge? To spend no more than $25 dollars for a whole week to create healthy homemade dinners. You will not go into this challenge blindly. I have made a guide to help ensure that everyone will be successful and it will be enjoyable. Firstly I understand that every person does their shopping differently so the challenge can start whenever you please, but once you start that challenge you can’t stop. Also, the shopping schedule is also up to you. You can choose to spend the twenty-five dollars in one trip or seven times through the week. Based on the following guide lines shopping should be the least of your worries. Lastly, I have created a guided list of items that are simple to make, cheap, and not to mention healthy in each major food group. Of course you do not have to stick to these items but they are a good place to start.
*List based on Raley's prices
Proteins: - 1 16 oz of dry black/pinto beans $1.79
2 14 oz of tofu $3.00
Chicken legs/thighs $1.49 per pound
1 16 oz Quinoa $3.99
1 dozen eggs $1.78
Carbs: - 2 pounds of brown rice $2.99
1 16 oz whole grain penne $1.99
36 Corn tortillas $1.99
Potatoes $0.89 per pound
Vegetables: - 1 organic cabbage $1.49
Bulk carrots $0.88 per pound
Head of broccoli $1.79 per pound
16 0z of celery $1.49
Romo tomatoes $1.79
A reminder that these are simply some suggestions. Buying the items alone will not fill you up nor give you the biggest bang for your buck. The way you prepare these items into meals can change if your dinner is healthy, filling, and long lasting. Many of these staples ingredients can be made into pastas, soups, and stir frying that take under 30 minutes to prepare and cook or can be done overnight to be ready for the next. On average each meal should cost about five dollars a day sometimes more sometimes less. Say for example if a family of four were to go to McDonalds each one of their meals would could around five dollars costing the family around twenty dollars total that night (McDonalds Prices). With my challenge you will be able to feed a family a four for just five dollars and it will be healthy. On top of that there will most likely be left overs for the next day therefore saving you even more money and time.
I created this challenge from personal experience. My dad has to work in the San Francisco/Bay Area and sometimes he doesn't come home until later hours in the evening. When he feels like he will be home past dinner time he always gives about seven dollars and tells me to grab myself something on my way home. My dad also taught me how to be health conscious because of our family history of high blood pressure and diabetes. Therefore I always opt out for choosing fast food for dinner and decide to cook myself something with the money he gave me. I learned how to shop and cook efficiently because I was limited with the money I had and with the time I had because I am a student. After a few times I found that it was simple to prepare a well balanced meal for under ten dollars.
My goal of this challenge is to debunk the belief that healthy food is expensive and inconvenient. The reason for this is that I have seen first hand what poor diet can do to the body in the long run because many of my family members are obese and suffer from high blood pressure and diabetes ranging from all ages. I know this is an epidemic that is effecting the United States, two thirds of the United States is overweight or obese and by 2050 one third of America will have diabetes (Fed Up). I feel like if I can make a small imprint in showing my local community that eating healthy and benefiting your body is simple then I believe it will create a larger wave of awareness.
If the challenge is a success I hope that people try it again and again until it becomes somewhat of a lifestyle but of course with a budget that fits whatever works for you or your family dynamic. Investing in your health does not have to be a large investment at all. Just give the challenge a try and realize that health truly have no price.
Fed Up. Dir. Stephanie Soechtig. 2014. Netflix.
"McDonald's Prices." Fast Food Menu Prices. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2017.
"Nutrition and Health Habits." Interview by Tyra Calero. N.p., n.d. Web.
"Raley's ECart." Shop.raleys. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2017