Back to Basics: Money Saving Meals


While studies suggest breakfast is the most important meal of the day to stay healthy and control weight, it also has financial benefits. Breakfast food items like cereal, eggs and whole grain bread can be much cheaper than lunch and dinner foods. What’s more is that eating a hearty, nutrient-rich breakfast (items that do not include the word Pop or Tart) can prevent hunger and help us avoid snacking throughout the day. Finally, if having breakfast really does help avoid diabetes and obesity, there’s also cost savings on potential future medical care. Breakfast, in short, is a financial no-brainer. That is, of course, not if you’re running to Starbucks (STOCK QUOTE: SBUX) every morning for your Grande Cinnamon Dolce Latte and bran muffin (approximately 700 calories and $6 a day).

Here are some smart ways to turbo-charge your morning with a nutritious and inexpensive breakfast:

1. Hard-Boil Eggs.
At night when you have more time, hard-boil some eggs and leave them in your fridge, at your disposal, for your morning rush. Throw out the cholesterol-filled yolk and nosh on egg whites, which have only 16 calories and three grams of protein each. It’s also loaded with iron, thiamin, and riboflavin, and for the anti-carbohydrate folks out there, zero carbs. A dozen eggs costs a little over $2.00.

2. Pour Your Own Java.
We’ve heard this before. But saving $4 a day on store-bought coffee in a plain vanilla savings account may leave you with some $60,000 over the next 25 years. Buy a coffee maker - $15 to $25 at Target (STOCK QUOTE: TGT), Wal-Mart (STOCK QUOTE: WMT), Costco (STOCK QUOTE: COST) and Bed, Bath and Beyond (STOCK QUOTE: BBBY) and a ceramic travel coffee mug ($3 to $5). Every time you take sip think of yourself as a walking, talking, home-made-coffee-drinking retirement saving vehicle.

3. Bulk up on Whole Grain and Fiber.
Whole grain is the key ingredient you want in a hot or cold cereal product or bread. Next comes fiber. Both help keep your stomach fuller, longer. General Mills’ (STOCK QUOTE: GIS) Whole Grain Total and Fiber One fit the bill, and some cereals from Kashi, Cascadian Farm and Health Valley offer up to half the recommended daily 20-35 gram dose of fiber. Buy in bulk at discount wholesale outlets like Costco and Sam’s Club to save.

4. Avoid Fruit Drinks. Eat the Fruit, Instead.
Drinking too much fruit juice that’s high in sugar and from concentrate may not only lead to obesity, it’s sometimes not as filling as eating the actual fruit. Rather than drinking orange juice ($2), grab an orange on your way out of the house (50 cents). Save 75%.

5. Go With Yogurt.
The Sunday newspaper is loaded with coupons for various yogurt products. Yogurt is a great source of calcium and protein. Can’t eat and drive at the same time? Yoplait’s Go-Gurt is yogurt in a tube. Note that grocery-brand yogurts are often up to 50% cheaper than the name-brand varieties. And stores often run weekly specials on yogurt since they can expire pretty quickly. With that in mind, don’t buy more than a week’s worth to avoid waste.

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