Four ways to eat healthy on a budget
Being a college student, it can be difficult to eat healthy and find foods that won't place a hardship on your finances at the same time. Not only that - let’s be honest - it's hard to find the energy to cook a healthy meal at the end of a long school day. You could easily opt for grabbing fast food or eating ramen for every meal, but there are various ways to eat foods that are good for you while still staying on budget::
Avoid shopping on an empty stomach
Walking through aisles and aisles of food when you’re starving probably isn’t the best idea. Not only are you likely to buy much more food than you actually need, you’ll be tempted to buy more not-so-healthy foods. By having a meal or a light snack before you go, you can significantly decrease temptations to buy calorie-packed goods and avoid making purchases you don't need or really can't fit into your budget.
Buy in bulk
Not only is it cheaper to buy things in bulk, but it saves you from going to the store later for more of that item. By purchasing food in large amounts, you truly get more for your money. Just look at the smaller price per ounce amount that is often stamped beneath the retail price. Buying larger versions of cereal, crackers and other goods is often a good move financially, as these dry foodstuffs won't go bad quickly and can save you money in the long run. Buying in bulk cuts down on the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.
Be a proactive organic consumer
While organic produce is better for the environment, it can be much more costly to buy. The Environmental Working Group recommends buying organic for certain produce that hold the highest levels of pesticide residue. Called the "Dirty Dozen," the top twelve include apples, strawberries, spinach and grapes.
Stock your fridge
At the beginning of the week, try making large amounts of one or two meals so that you can freeze what’s leftover and not have to spend time making another meal for the rest of the week. If you already have something ready to eat in your fridge, you’ll be saving time and be less tempted to eat something unhealthy. If you’re sick of the leftovers you have, get creative!
The USDA said, “For example, try leftover chicken in a stir-fry or over a garden salad, or to make chicken chili.” There are countless options!
It’s also a good idea to fill your fridge with healthy snacks such as fruit, string cheese or yogurt. Then when you’re hungry and on the go, you have the option to grab a snack that won’t weigh you down later.
Even with a tight budget, remember, there are always ways to create healthy and delicious meals without breaking the bank. We know college is full of stressful things, but eating doesn’t have to be one of them! Breathe a sigh of relief and know that you have options.