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Do you think you could feed your family a healthy meal with only $15? It all depends on where you live, and what you’re willing to buy.
To get the ingredients to make a simple meal at home, you would spend an average of $15. That’s compared to an average of $6.50 for a single meal from a fast food restaurant like McDonald’s. When looking at base cost, fast food certainly seems like the cheaper option, and that’s appealing to a family crunched for cash.
However, the ingredients you could get for $15 would make a meal for four people — we priced chicken breasts, potatoes, apples, and milk — and the meal would be better for you than a cheeseburger and fries from the nearest drive-through.
5 Family Menus for $15 or Less
Unfortunately, not everyone has access to fresh ingredients, nor can everyone afford them. In some states, the cost of a meal’s worth of groceries is far more than $15. In Virginia, for example, you would need nearly $30 for the same amount of food you could get for less than $10 in Idaho. How is it possible that a family can have more or less affordable food depending on where they live?
Food inequality is a growing problem in the United States, as shown in a recent study released by the Harvard School of Public Health. Though diet quality has improved among people of higher socioeconomic status, the same cannot be said for those on the other side of the spectrum.
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Why would the owner of a marketing company be dumpster diving for food? You could find Rob Greenfield behind your local grocery with his bike propped against the dumpster while he looks for food. He has now completed two rides across America eating primarily from dumpsters. This isn’t a case of extreme cheapskates; Rob’s goal with these rides is to draw attention to how much food is wasted in America.
On his website, he lists these statistics:
- We throw away 165 billion dollars worth of food per year in America. That’s more than the budgets for America’s national parks, public libraries, federal prisons, veteran’s health care, the FBI, and the FDA combined.
- About 50 million of our 317 million Americans are food insecure yet we produce enough food to feed over 500 million Americans.
- Just to create just the amount of food that ends up in the landfills we waste enough water to meet the domestic water needs of every American citizen.
With as many as one in every seven American households being reported as food insecure and one in four children living in food insecure homes, the fact that we waste so much food on a daily basis is concerning. Charity Sub reports that 96 billion pounds of food are thrown away each year by restaurants, retailers, farmers, and individual households. In each major city that he visited on his ride, Greenfield created a demonstration with food collected from local dumpsters. He states that in a single night, he can collect from dumpsters enough food to feed hundreds of people in any given city.
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Want to kickstart your weight loss journey but unsure where to begin? A new study suggests that Weight Watchers diet program and the weight loss drug Qsymia may give you the best bang for your buck.
ABC News aired a story about Duke University comparing the costs and effectiveness of three diet programs and three weight loss prescription medications. Weight Watchers came out on top with the price of $155 per kilogram lost (2.2 pounds).
“If you are about to embark on a major weight loss attempt, there is more than just the number on the scale to consider. You want to make your money matter,” says ABC News’ senior medical contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton.
The average annual cost of Weight Watchers was $377, and users lost an average of 5.3 pounds, according to the study. Our resident nutrition expert, Mary Hartley, RD, comments that as diet plans go, “Weight Watchers is good for providing peer support, basic nutrition education, and flexibility to individualize food selections.” Though she warns that it is still a “diet” with the external focus of translating food into other quantifiable values.
This means people have two different mentalities of what they can eat when they are either “on the diet” or “off the diet,” and Hartley is “never impressed by weight loss that is only to be regained.”
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If you have the time, money, and access to a convenient gym, it’s a great place to get in shape and stay that way. However, with a relatively small investment, you can create your own gym environment at home and ultimately save time, money, and accessibility. All you really need are a few basic pieces of equipment that will focus on cardio and strength training.
Having a home gym filled with the right equipment can save you hundreds of dollars a year in gym fees, babysitting services, and even cute gym clothes! Let’s face it ladies, most of us have the gym outfit and then the home gym outfit and I’m guessing the home gym outfit is way more comfy.
Clear the ping pong table out of the way and declare that corner of the basement yours. Add the following gym staples and you’ve got your own circuit training course that can be done any time of day, in any weather. Bonus reason for the home gym? If your exercise playlist includes a heavy metal, smooth jazz, country music shuffle, you just take out the headphones and crank it right up.
Must-Have Home Gym Equipment List
Elliptical: Easy on the joints and limbs, this home cross trainer mimics stair-climbing, walking and running. With the touch of a button you can go from slow crawl to an intense workout. You have the power to challenge yourself every time you step on.
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In the middle of March, I packed what I could carry on my back, headed to the airport, and took flight for New Zealand. I’ve never been out of the U.S. before; I could only hope I knew what I was in for. I’m not a wealthy trust fund baby, I’m not a young guy from Europe whose parents are funding a “gap year,” and I still have bills to pay back home. All that being said, traveling on the cheap was my primary objective. I stay in hostels, I use public transportation, and for the most part, I make my own food instead of eating out. The average meal here costs $12-14 NZD (that’s about $10 to $12 USD).
I’ve been in New Zealand for a few weeks now (flew out to Vietnam last night), and wanted to share with you one such quick, easy, and cheap meal many backpackers are familiar with. While the context here is eating cheap while traveling, you could do the same thing at home.
What You’ll Need:
- Fantastic Noodles / Ramen Noodles / 2 Minute Noodles
- Cubed beef / chicken / tofu chunks
- Vegetables of your choice
I went with beef, broccoli, potato, carrots, and fresh green beans. Everything you see in the picture below cost about $12 NZD (about $9 USD), and is easily enough for three meals for one person. At $3 bucks each, you’ll be hard pressed to beat it, especially for a meal as filling as this.
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