The news has had quite a few updates on the fast food industry lately - debating whether toys should be removed until the kid's meals get healthier to kids seeing more fast food ads to Wendy's "healthifying" their fries with skins and sea salt.

But you don't have to go to a fast food drive-thru to pick from a dollar menu, there is one available at the grocery store and with a bit of planning you can save money and eat healthy food as you run out the door.

flickr/cc - TheGiantVermin
~ Breakfast ~
Eggs - You can buy a dozen for around a dollar and get plenty of protein for a very cheap price per egg. Hard boil a few at night, right HB on them and place them back in the refrigerator for eating when in a hurry with your home-made coffee.

Oats - Buy one container of regular oats or quick oats and you have cereal for a week that will provide fiber, complex carbohydrates and may even lower cholesterol.

Fruit - Like eggs, a bunch of bananas give you more than a handful for around a dollar and have enough for the work week. Plus they are high in potassium and fiber for a great start to the day. Apple, grapefruit, oranges and grapefruit are also the better alternative now that sugar in fruit drinks might give you gout.

Milk - Though a gallon with run you a few dollars, on a per serving cost basis, you are less than a dollar and you get a lot for the money with protein, vitamins A and D, potassium, and calcium

flickr/cc - #Justin
~ Lunch ~
Bread - You need bread for a peanut butter/banana sandwich or an egg salad and at a dollar or two, you can have enough for the week and a good healthy lunch that will beat any fast food dollar menu.

Yogurt - Whether you go with Greek yogurt or store brand, you can pick up a container or two for a dollar or less. I'll take a 100 calorie, high protein yogurt over a soda any day.

Meats - On the day of a holiday or the day after, pick up turkey, ham and chicken at a good price to cook up and slice for sandwiches and soups.

Greens - Lettuce is the base for a salad and spinach leaves are usually under a dollar and they last for a few days worth of meals. Toss on some home-made croutons, carrots and sprinkle with olive oil and you have a good source of fiber, iron and vitamins. Other greens are kale, collard greens and broccoli to name a few more.

flickr/cc - Materials Aart
~ Dinner/Supper ~
Vegetables - Not everyone likes all the vegetables, but most people like a few of them. Such as beans, carrots, peas, tomatoes, sprouts and squash or yams. All of these are available for under a dollar or around a dollar a pound. Grab some corn on the cob, cook, strip and freeze when they go on sale during the summer.

Legumes - One of the cheapest staples you can buy, next to pasta and rice. Buying them canned or dry you can make them last in soups, stew, chili and salads. Add lentils to that list and you have a low calories and fat, high in fiber, protein and iron - for cheap.

Pasta - Another staple that can be picked up for $1 a pound or a little more for whole wheat. Boil up a serving of pasta and you have a great complex carb loaded with fiber and low in fat. I bet you can't say that about the spicy chicken sandwich you bought for a dollar at the fast food joint.

Rice - White or brown, just eat! Have it as a side dish with fruit mixed in or as a main dish with chicken and you have a jack of all trades type of food for under a dollar a serving.

flickr/cc - woodleywonderworks
~ Snacks ~
Nuts - They rule the roost for something quick to eat and packed with the good fats, protein and Vitamin E and you can make them last when you only need to eat a handful at a time. By now your pumpkin outside your door is toast, but for next year, toast up some pumpkin seeds for a snacking alternative.

Tuna - Though not for everyone or every workplace, I used to eat tuna out of the can as a snack in the afternoon, mix in some relish and you have a tuna biting back at you.

Celery and Peanut butter - With celery having few calories, peanut butter gives the crunch a bit of taste. Both of these items are on the dollar menu and a good source of protein and vitamins that are filling.

There are a multitude of other specific items from popcorn to dried peas to cherry tomatoes that can be bought for a dollar or under a dollar a serving. But this is a good start.  
What foods do you eat that are healthy and cheap?


  1. Anonymous // Wednesday, November 17, 2010 9:08:00 PM  

    Very informative, certainly these choices are MUCH more healthy than any of the dollar menu alternatives.

  2. Anonymous // Monday, January 03, 2011 9:40:00 AM  

    sorry, how can rice be wheat??