One thing I’ve learned over the past 3 ½ years of college is how to eat healthy on a budget. People always joke that you’ll be living off Ramen Noodles during your college career, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Here are my 7 top tips for eating healthy on a budget:
- Purchase frozen vegetables – Fresh vegetables can be expensive, especially when they’re out of season. I’ve learned that purchasing frozen vegetables as an alternative can save me several dollars. However, I’m always cautious when purchasing frozen vegetables with seasonings and dressings, because these are often high in sodium.
- Look for hearty, filling starches – Plain oats, brown rice, and sweet potatoes are the three inexpensive starches I purchase when grocery shopping. Not only are they cheaper than other starch options, but they are also very filling and nutritious.
- Pack your lunch – I pack my lunch every week day. I don’t mind that my friends poke fun of me for carrying my lunch box around campus, because I know I’m saving money and eating better than if I were to purchase lunch. If you don’t have time to pack your lunch in the morning, try forming a habit of packing it before bed.
- Skip the pre-cut fruits and vegetables – It’s tempting to grab a pre-cut pack of fruit or vegetables at the grocery store, because it’s convenient. However, purchasing these pre-cut products are much more expensive than buying the fruit or vegetable whole. A couple minutes of cutting is not worth several extra dollars.
- Look for inexpensive protein options – When I first started grocery shopping for myself, I quickly learned that meat is expensive. Some less expensive protein options I purchase now include canned beans and legumes, lentils, nut butters, cottage cheese, eggs, and Greek yogurt.
- Stick to water – If you stick to drinking water as your main beverage, you won’t need to spend money on other drinks at grocery stores and restaurants. You’ll be saving money and calories!
- Make your own snack mix – One of my favorite snacks is trail mix. Most grocery stores sell several different varieties of trail mix. However, I’ve found it’s much less expensive to buy the ingredients of trail mix separately and make it myself.