Eating right while sticking to a tight budget can be a tricky task, especially when a pack of ramen noodles or a slice of pizza will fill you up without emptying your pockets. It’s difficult to eat right with all of the temptations to eat poorly on-the-cheap. Read on to discover ways to eat healthy while on a tight budget.
Pack Your Pantry with Healthy Essentials
As college student, your pantry will never be packed, but it can still have healthy items. When buying your go-to foods at the grocery store, make sure you’re buying the healthiest versions possible. This means swap out white rice for brown or whole grain, white bread for whole wheat and 2% milk for 1% or skim. This won’t add to your grocery bill or your waistline.
Skip the Snacks
Don’t even entertain the idea of walking down the junk-food isle. Not only is a bag of chips addicting, it’s also pretty expensive for how quickly you’ll be finishing it. Let’s face it, a bag of cheese curds only lasts about two days in a college apartment, sometimes even less than 20 minutes if shared with friends on a Saturday night. Instead, spend the money you would have on snacks elsewhere to buy better foods.
Avoid the Vending Machines
Vending machines were my biggest downfall. When I was a freshman at Vista College in Texas, I got hooked on vending machine food. It was just so easy to grab some candy or a bag of chips between classes. However, the expenses added up quickly. The $1.25 I spent on a Twix every day could have gotten my groceries by the end of the year. Pack your own healthy snacks, like trail mix, for those long days away in the classroom.
Learn to Love Salads
If you look for vegetables at the lowest price, making salads can actually be a fairly cheap meal. It may cost you about $10.00 to buy all of your ingredients, but you will be able to make about 4-5 decent-sized salads from this.
Just Drink Water
Keeping soda, hot “dessert drinks” or juices around your apartment is bad news. All contain unnecessary chemicals, sugars and fats harmful to your health and heavy on your wallet. Whether you’re grocery shopping or at a restaurant, stick to water to help your health and wallet.
Anything you buy in bulk and freeze will be much cheaper than individual options. When shopping, look for good prices on frozen chicken breasts and vegetables and other healthy options to make your bill smaller.
If you’re looking for the cheapest healthy meals to prepare, here are some ideas to help you do just that:
Buying a carton of oatmeal – not individual microwave packets – is beyond inexpensive and will last at least a month. Bananas are also one of the cheapest fruits you can buy.
Lunch: Soup and salad
A store brand or on-sale can of soup with low MSG and healthy ingredients is a healthy way to eat on a low budget. A side salad will also give you health benefits and keep you full.
Dinner: Roasted Chicken Breast with – frozen – vegetables and brown rice
This meal is not only easy to prepare, but also low in cost. It’s also packed with protein, vitamins and whole grains.
Whether you’re a freshman just starting out or a super-senior trying to make ends meet, eating healthy and cheap can seem impossible. However, if you shop with a mission and a purpose to buy ingredients at the best prices, making healthy choices isn’t so hard.