Anticancer Strategies on a Tight Budget

Are you looking for an Anti-Cancer Plan on a tight budget? I was once asked to devise a plan for a U.S. Army veteran who was living on a pension and could not afford to go to a specialized clinic, or even to take numerous supplements. I, therefore, devised a plan that would cost only a few dollars per day, and parts of which could actually save money.

Time-restricted Eating or Intermittent Fasting (IF)

First of all, it costs nothing to implement an eating plan that tends to lower glucose and insulin levels in the blood. In fact, you might save money by eliminating fast foods, snacking, and “fourth meals.” According to the U.S. government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), before the COVID-19 pandemic, the average U.S. household was spending $3,526 per year on food away from home (i.e., eating out and takeout food purchases in 2019). This added up to almost half of the domestic food bill! They also spent an additional $579 on alcoholic beverages. That amounts to over $4,000 a year.

If you want to fully implement a low-cost anticancer plan, you should drastically reduce the amount of money you spend on restaurants, takeaway meals, fast food, home delivery, and booze. The main reasons for this are related to the very negative impact such eating habits have on your health. Restaurant and takeaway food is generally factory food. It is excessively high in salt, sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, unhealthy fats, charred red meat, and in general poor-quality ingredients. (To quote a famous poet, “Let me count the ways”!)

An important secondary effect is the waste of time and money involved in these eating habits. When money is tight the first thing to go should be fast food.

Cook at Home to Save

We strongly encourage you to prepare the vast majority of your meals at home and to eat these sitting down at the kitchen or dining room table with your family and friends. According to a dietary study:

  • “In a large population-based cohort study, eating home-cooked meals more frequently was associated with better dietary quality and lower adiposity [overweight, ed.].” (Mills 2017).

I realize how difficult this might be for some people. In particular, it may be hard to get teenage children to participate. But it is critically important to your (and their) mental and physical well-being. It can also stretch an anti-cancer budget.

There are numerous reports of the “slow decline” of home-cooked or domestic meals. Thus, in 1965, 88 to 95% of meals were prepared at home compared to only 65% to 72% in 2017. By 2022, there were studies in the U.S. Midwest showing that only 62% of evening meals were prepared at home (Horning 2021).

Food scientists have classified evening meal patterns as follows:

  1. The Unplanned Infrequent Family Evening Meals with Mixed Healthfulness = Class C1
  2. The Family Evening Meals with Fast Food class = Class C2
  3. The Planful, Healthful, and Frequent Family Evening Meals class = Class C3

Not surprisingly, “parents in C3 had higher consumption of fruits and vegetables and children in C3 had lower percent body fat, compared to those in other classes.”

Meal Plan for Savings

Needless to say, we are advocating for our readers to stay in, or join, “Class C3,” and to plan healthful family meals as often as possible. In order to stick to a budget and save, one should limit eating out (or takeaway) to once per week or so and, even then, to order with exceeding care so that you do not consume unhealthy foods. Eating at home saves money and supports more mindful eating.

About 28% of Americans report that they don’t know how to cook. If that is the case, then you should watch some YouTube videos, or seek out lessons from someone whose cooking skills you admire.

If you are on a tight budget you may find that you are actually saving a remarkable amount of money by doing so. As one example out of many, you might be addicted to a fast food takeout restaurant, such as Chick-Fil-A® (an incredibly popular choice in our town). For example, you might order a Grilled Chicken Club with Colby Jack Meal. It contains an astounding 41 grams of carbohydrates, including 10 grams of sugar, 17 grams of fat, etc. This will set you back $11.19.

As part of your anti cancer plan and friendly to the budget, you can make a home made meal for a fraction of that cost. Incidentally, if you are among the millions of people who has impaired metabolism (“metabolic syndrome”) or type II diabetes, you might see your blood sugar rise very high indeed. By comparison, a container of homemade chicken salad (chicken breasts, avocado mayonnaise, celery, celery seed, etc.) will cost very little and barely raise your blood sugar at all.

Do You Need Organic Food?

Organic products are excellent, but can use up a budget quickly. It is better to at least use the items in question than to have all the “bells and whistles.” Choose a diet with the right mix of macronutrients (emphasizing healthy protein and fat and de-emphasizing carbohydrates), and then do the best you can in terms of eliminating pesticide residues, chemical contaminants, food colorings, etc.

Shop for the best bargains in supplements. Buy supplements in bulk at Costco or Sam’s Club—there are some amazing savings. Or subscribe to Amazon Prime, which eliminates shipping costs. is a relatively inexpensive source of brand name products. If you buy supplements in supermarkets, health food stores or online, you will have many choices. But prices vary widely. NOW Foods, Inc. is a reliable, family-owned American business, whose no-frills products are among the lowest priced available.Their products do well in the independent evaluations at


  • Horning ML, Friend S, Lee J, et al. Family Characteristics Associated with Preparing and Eating More Family Evening Meals at Home. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2022 Jan;122(1):121-128. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2021.07.002. Epub 2021 Aug 13. PMID: 34399976; PMCID: PMC8688213
  • Lee J, Friend S, Horning ML, et al. Are patterns of family evening meal practices associated with child and parent diet quality and weight-related outcomes? Appetite. 2022 Apr 1;171:105937. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2022.105937. Epub 2022 Jan 16. PMID: 35045323; PMCID: PMC8892840.
  • Mills S, Brown H, Wrieden W, et al. Frequency of eating home cooked meals and potential benefits for diet and health: cross-sectional analysis of a population-based cohort study. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2017 Aug 17;14(1):109. doi: 10.1186/s12966-017-0567-y. PMID: 28818089; PMCID: PMC5561571.

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