Meal Planning Can Impact More Than Your Waistline

7 02 2017

As a member of the PEIA WMP, you likely have health goals for 2017. Do you have financial goals as well? I certainly do! After Cathy, our Registered Dietitian, shared some meal planning resources here I began thinking about how meal planning may not just help with


Myia Welsh, MSW, Program Supervisor

health goals, but with financial goals as well. How? Well, if you’re planning what you’re going to eat and when, you (1) avoid getting hit with the cost of take out and (2) can consciously decide how much you want to spend.

Here’s my favorite example:

For breakfast, my family has been eating cereal, and we fly through it. A box barely lasts a week, it seems. So, I started buying oatmeal instead. I like it better, and a container of quick oats lasts us far longer. I did the math! A container of Quaker Oats that has 13 servings per container costs $2.68 at Walmart. I like to add 2 teaspoons of brown sugar, a dash of vanilla, and a dash of cinnamon to my oatmeal. Not including my spices (cinnamon and vanilla), the cost for my oatmeal and my brown sugar are under $5.00. That’s great, but that isn’t the real story here that impacts my wallet in such a happy way! The incredibly exciting part is the cost per serving.

1 serving of quick oats (1/2 cup dry) breaks down to about $0.21 per serving.

2 teaspoons of brown sugar breaks down to about $0.02 per serving.

That means that my bowl of oatmeal costs a grand total of $0.23 per serving! Or $1.15 for the work week. No box of cereal, and certainly no breakfast sandwich from a drive-thru, can come close to touching that value. At that cost, I can pair it with a hard boiled egg or throw in a few nuts for protein and still operate on a great budget (both money and calories). Eating oatmeal for breakfast nearly all weekday mornings, I’ve made a big difference in my grocery spending… Therefore making a difference in my overall saving goals for 2017.

It’s a win all around: I can prep my dry ingredients the night before (or on Sunday for the whole week), saving precious time in the morning. I’m maintaining my weight with predictable calories for breakfast, and maintaining my budget!




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