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
Although the mix is slightly lower in calories than the homemade batter, it doesn’t contain any whole-wheat flour, which adds a bit of additional fiber (about a gram per muffin). What the boxed version does have is sodium and oftentimes partially hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors, fillers such as xantham gum, and even “imitation berry bits” (yummy), as opposed to real fruit, which can also slightly up the fiber count.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup 100% whole-wheat flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground nutmeg
2/3 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup chopped Golden Delicious apple
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a muffin tin with canola oil spray or line with 12 muffin liners.
2. Mix flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix together milk, vanilla, butter, and egg. Add wet ingredients and apples to dry ingredients. Mix just until combined.
3. Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 full with mixture. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until light brown.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light’s Raspberry Muffin recipe
Nutrition score per 1 muffin: 172 calories, 5g fat (3 g saturated), 29g carbs, 136mg sodium
You save: 34mg sodium