7 Foods to Buy—or DIY?
Find out which pantry staples are cheaper and healthier to make yourself—and which ones to keep tossing in your grocery cart.
Have you ever opened your container of store-bought hummus, baby carrots in hand, and thought: “I could have made this myself"? You could, but there’s also the question of whether or not you should: for health reasons or just because it’s cheaper to whip up a batch on your own.
Tallying all those calories and prices is a lot of work, though. Luckily Alison Massey, R.D., a clinical dietitian at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD, calculated the nutrition and cost of seven items you typically buy and compared them to homemade versions. Find out which ones are worth adding to your repertoire of recipes—and which to leave on your grocery list.
RELATED: Contrary to popular belief, eating well doesn't have to blow your budget. Learn how to save money buying healthy food.
Note: All price and nutrition comparisons are approximate.
Buy or DIY: DIY
While the ingredients needed to make homemade salsa cost about $3 more than name brands, according to Massey, the sodium savings—19 milligrams versus a whopping 920 milligrams—is reason alone to get chopping. You'll also cut carbs and can control the spice and herb flavors yourself, or roast your tomatoes first for a deeper, smokier flavor. Still not convinced? If you plan your salsa-making for summer when fresh tomatoes are in season and can it, it will likely lower the expense.
3 to 4 fresh plum tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 garlic clove, minced
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon diced jalepeno pepper
1/8 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Stir everything together in a medium bowl.
Nutrition score per 1/2 cup: 30 calories, 0g fat, 6g carbs, 19mg sodium
You save: 10 calories, 6g carbs, 901mg sodium