Whole30 Isn't Always More Expensive

Over the years I’ve heard a lot of different things about eating healthy but the main thing I continue to hear is it’s more expensive.  Doing the Whole30 and cooking your own meals doesn’t have to be more expensive than what you are doing today. Prior to starting the Whole30 (Round 2) I’d gone back to all of my old ways of eating poorly. Looking at a typical day at the office the following is what I would often spend:

  • $3.25 to $6.50 coffee drink in the morning, ranged from an iced coffee to a Venti Salted Caramel Mocha
  • $3.00 bagel for Breakfast
  • $5.00 to $12.00 on Lunch, this often included the unhealthy meal I chose and a soda
  • $1.89 Soda and $1.50 Chips

I’m not proud of this but it’s the direction I was headed in just 21 days ago. Basically from when I got to work to when I got home I was spending between $14 and $25 in one day. Now don’t get me wrong some days I skipped the morning bagel and some days the chips or soda didn’t happen but generally I was spending $50 to $75 a week. My wife and I each had allotted $40 a week for lunches and coffee, kind of an allowance for adults. As you can see I was however going over this allowance.

With the Whole30 we generally take our lunches every day and spend $3.25 on coffee in the mornings. So $3.25 x 2 of us x 5 days = $32.50. We are spending less than half of what we were prior to the Whole30 during the weekdays.

Yes there are still groceries to buy and they do cost more than they did before. We are buying more fruits, vegetables and better meat and often shopping at Hy-Vee or Whole Foods. One thing about the Whole30 though is you don’t have a lot of food waste. Specifically you are bringing your own lunch, either something you made for that meal or in many cases leftovers from the night before. Also if you are like me and were eating far more calories than you should have been then you are likely still a little hungry on this program. It might even be the first time in two years that I’ve known what its like to be hungry and I think that’s OK. Nothing that is Whole30 approved goes bad in our household, we eat what we cook either that day or in the two to three days after. The food waste from leaving perfectly good leftovers in order to eat out doesn’t happen on this program.

Looking at Weekends we each love our coffee and so most weekends we were spending around $40 at Starbucks. That sounds like a lot but two coffee drinks, plus a muffin, a gluten free item for my wife, hot chocolate and cake pop for my son, apple squeeze for my daughter and multiply that by two days and it sure adds up quickly. Now with the Whole30 it’s more like $20 max on the weekends.

Last but not least is eating out. With a family of four if you can get out of a restaurant for under $30 to $40 it’s impressive. Likely if you add in a beer or cocktail each it gets closer to $50 or $60. Prior to the Whole30 we were eating out two to three times a week if you include dinners and lunches on the weekends. On this program you can’t have alcohol and although you can eat out it’s much easier to make your own meals at home. I’d say so far we’ve eaten out twice for dinner in 20 days and once each for lunch. So we are cooking our own meals, eating the leftovers and wasting less food because instead of forgetting meals in the fridge they are eaten the next day.

Depending on how you were doing things prior to the Whole30 I think even with that Whole Foods bill if you are smart with what you buy you can actually break even or save money doing the Whole30. In the long run if you develop a healthier lifestyle through this program you probably save money in other areas as a result,  one example being healthcare.

Thanks for reading (Well if you’ve made it this far, this blog post might be a little long winded but well I had a lot to share). I hope if you are on the program it is going well and if you are considering it I would highly recommend it. Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or reach out to me with any questions.