In my last post I said I was getting mighty tired of the whole, “It’s too expensive to eat healthy argument.” Since I myself am short on time and far from rich, I thought I’d post some meals we make at home.
I figured we’d start with something easy and something that most kids I know will eat. When we’re extremely short on time or tired, we tend to make breakfast for dinner. It’s not hands-down the healthiest meal we make, but it’s not unhealthy either and it’s a far cry from fast food. Also, this meal is super easy and low-cost.
Here’s how to manage organic breakfast for a family of four.
- Wash two large organic baking potatoes (which will make about six servings) then cut into small chunks. Coat the bottom of a baking dish with a light layer of olive oil. Toss the potatoes in the pan and season with whatever herbs and spices you like. Put the pan in the oven on about 400-425 degrees and walk away for 30 minutes. Use those minutes to do other stuff. 5 minutes.
- When the potatoes have about 10 minutes left, go back to the kitchen. Wash and then slice up one organic cucumber, two or three organic carrots and some sort of organic fruit, say a couple of apples or oranges (we usually serve two veggies and two fruits per meal). 3-5 minutes.
- Get out a frying pan and add a small dab of butter. Turn the heat on medium. Less than 1 minute.
- Crack 8 organic eggs into a bowl. Stir a bit then pour into the pan. Use a spatula to move the eggs around until they’re cooked but not tough and rubbery. 5 minutes, if that.
- Toast up 4 pieces of whole wheat organic bread, spread with tablespoon of organic jam. 2 minutes.
- Grab your kid at some point and make him set the table and pour drinks.
- Serve everyone two eggs, a piece of toast, 1/6 of the potatoes, veggie slices and fruit. Sit down at the table and eat together.
TOTAL HANDS ON TIME TAKEN:
16 – 18 minutes, about the time it would take to drive and get fast food.
CALORIES & NUTRITION IN THIS MEAL:
Two eggs, toast, jam, veggies, fruit and the potatoes have about 400 calories. Drinks and using butter in your eggs add on extra calories, but all in all, this is not a high-calorie dinner. Compare it to the average kid-meal at a fast food place (860 calories) and you’re looking good.
Nutritional needs being met will vary by person (gender and age) so see my post about portions and food groups. Personally, I think this meal is short on veggies and we usually eat more than what I said to make, but carrots and cucumbers are easy, so that’s why I recommended them. Nutritional needs met by a typical fast food meal will not be as good if you take the time to compare.
TOTAL COST OF THIS MEAL
I got the following costs from grocery receipts I’ve been saving.
- Organic carrots – $1.00
- Organic cucumber – $1.00
- 2 large organic apples – $1.13
- 2 large organic baking potatoes – $0.92
- 8 organic, cage-free eggs – $2.32
- 4 slices of whole wheat organic bread – $0.75
The butter, herbs, olive oil and jam are trivial so I didn’t include their costs.
Total cost - $7.12 or $1.78 per person. This meal would have been less expensive if I got the eggs and bread on sale (I didn’t).
I’m not sure how much most typical fast food meals cost, but I’ve seen signs around town for kid meals that cost $2.00 so I’m guessing an adult meal would be at least $3 or $4. That’s about $12 for a family of four, if fast food is really that cheap. I’ve also seen signs for $5 meals around town, so my guess is that a meal for a family of four would more run in the $15 range.
Overall, the homemade meal doesn’t take more time, it’s healthier, with more food groups and costs less than fast food. However, breakfast isn’t the only decent meal you can make if you’re short on time. Stay tuned, because during 2012 I’ll be adding more quick, healthy and low-cost organic meals to Growing a Green Family.