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No wonder people eat junk

POSTED: October 5, 2011 3:21 p.m.

My husband and I have really been trying to watch our budget lately, which means no eating in restaurants or ordering takeout. I’ve always enjoyed cooking so, if time permits, I don’t mind preparing dinner at home most nights. The thing that deters me is actually the cost.

I’ve realized that it can actually be cheaper to buy fast-food rubbish than to prepare healthy meals at home. No wonder people have pizza joints on speed dial!

After preparing tacos one night last week, I saw a commercial on TV advertising Taco Bell’s 99 cent chicken flatbread tacos. I went to the kitchen, pulled out my grocery store receipt and quickly added up the cost of the taco ingredients. It was right around $10 for a pound of ground turkey, seasoning, veggies, cheese, shells and sour cream. It dawned on me: Why would someone pay MORE money and go through the trouble of grocery shopping and cooking when you could just cruise into Taco Bell and pick up 10 soft tacos for your family for the same price?

Of course, the meal I made was healthier and tasted delicious, but it also required planning and time – something many families don’t have.

The same was true of a meal we had later that same week – burgers, oven-baked fries and pasta salad. When all was said and done, it cost about $13 for that dinner (although we did have plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day). However, I couldn’t help but think that two extra-value meals at McDonald’s would have been in the $8 neighborhood.

Kind of gives you pause, doesn’t it?

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