Healthy Breakfasts: Store-Bought Versus Homemade

Buying breakfast on the go might not seem like a big expense, but it can add up. Taking a few minutes to assemble breakfast at home can save you lots of money. We're talking about $20 a week. Plus, it'll likely be healthier than even the healthiest-sounding options at fast-food chains.

Buying It Out: Oatmeal

Instant oatmeal packets, which really just do the measuring and sugar-adding for you, typically cost 21 cents a packet. Getting oatmeal at a fast-food restaurant will cost several times that: between $2 and $4.

Making It at Home

1/3 cup rolled oats + 1 tablespoon raisins + 1 teaspoon brown sugar

When's the last time you paid for breakfast with the change in your pocket? Homemade oatmeal cooks up for less than a dollar per serving — even with the addition of raisins and brown sugar. In fact, the biggest price variables (and we're still talking pennies) are whether you choose organic or conventional, and steel-cut or rolled oats. Quick-cooking steel-cut oats are another good option — they offer a similar toothsome texture at a fraction of the simmer time.

Buying It Out: Yogurt Parfait

$3.45 is a pretty standard price at chains like Starbucks, although if you pick one up at a coffee shop or cafe, you’re probably looking at upward of $5.

Making It at Home

6 ounces plain yogurt + 1/2 cup berries + 1/4 cup granola

A homemade yogurt parfait costs just $1.60 when you use 1/2 cup of thawed frozen raspberries, 6 ounces of plain yogurt and 1/4 cup of granola. You can bring down that cost even more by using less expensive fruit, such as bananas or apples. By making a parfait at home, you can choose your favorite yogurt, be it high-protein Greek or low-sugar plain, as well as a healthier granola (look for one that has less added sugar and is loaded with nuts and seeds).

Buying It Out: Egg and Cheese Sandwich

At Panera, an egg sandwich with egg whites and tomatoes costs about $4.29 plus tax. At Starbucks, an egg sandwich costs about $3.

Making It at Home

Whole-wheat English muffin + fried egg + a slice of cheddar cheese

These ingredients make a stick-to-your-ribs breakfast for about $1. Add a couple of slices of avocado and a handful of spinach and you’ll get the best egg sandwich around for about $1.50.

Buying It Out: Smoothie

At McDonald's a small smoothie is $2.39, and at Panera they run between $4.19 and $4.79 (but you can bet they're not nearly as healthy as homemade).

Making It at Home

1/2 cup plain yogurt + 1/2 cup skim milk + half banana + 1 tablespoon peanut butter + 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

You can make a yummy, protein-packed peanut butter-banana-cocoa smoothie for $1.35.

Buying It Out: Breakfast Burrito

From $2.55 at Chick-fil-A to $3.89 at Sonic, buying a burrito costs three to four times the price of making one at home — and they're not using whole-wheat tortillas! 

Making It at Home

Whole-wheat tortilla + 2 eggs + 2 tablespoons black beans + 1 tablespoon salsa

It costs just 83 cents to make a healthy breakfast burrito at home.

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