How to Eat Healthy on a College Budget

Have you went through These Things recently ? 

  • “I have 6 tests this week so im going to sleep 4 hours a night”
  • “screw this, lets party!”
  • “Lets chug mouth wash since we’re too broke to buy liquor”
  • “It’s 4:00 am- let’s saran wrap his bed while he’s sleeping”

This happens only in a College dorm and if in your a college dorm you’re probably a college student 

If you’re a college student you know that is money is tight. Most students are broke throughout college. This can make you feel like taking the easy route and going for that pizza slice or that double cheeseburger from Mcdonalds.

Don’t give in to temptation.

You’re overworked, have 6 essays due this week and are running on fumes. It’s difficult to stay on track and stick to a clean diet.

Feeling overloaded with assignments can have you searching for an easy way out of your routine.

Distraction are everywhere, like that party in your neighbors dorm that’s just a short walk away.

Sometimes we have to bend the rules. What the hell right? Just this one time.

So you drop your homework. Head to the liquor store and spend that extra cash you’ve been saving. Party all night till you’re drunk texting your ex. You fell for it. It’s hard being a college student.

Sure, every once in awhile you can break your resolve. Do it too much though and you’ve got yourself building bad habits. We want to avoid pitfalls as much as we possibly can.

You can’t always eat healthy on a college budget or skip the party next door, but as long as we do our best to keep it at a minimum then we’re doing just fine. It’s okay to deviate from our routine from time to time.

Well, What about Cooking?

Now that we’ve decided to stick to a healthy lifestyle, we’re going to need to learn some new skills. If you’re just entering college then their is a real chance that you probably have never prepared food for yourself.

I know the feeling, grandma always had something ready for dinner and you could smell the food from the minute you stepped onto the front lawn.

That home made cooking never tasted so good. The old life of healthy ready to eat suppers are long gone.

Also, I could wager that you might not have ever had to buy groceries as well. The daunting task of finding what to buy and where to buy it feels so unknown.Photo of someone cooking a home made meal, one way to eat healthy on a college budget

Add in the fact that you are on a tight budget and your only source of cash is a part time job or the money you have left over from your student loans. Then it becomes apparent that you have to budget to stay alive. Those old eating habits have to be broken.

So step away from the vending machines in the dining hall and continue reading on.

As a college student juggling all these tasks with the addition of being drowned in assignments is an uphill battle. One that isn’t easily fought alone. That’s why we’ve prepared some tips you can use to your advantage.

With some of these tips we hope it’ll help make your new college life just a tad less difficult.

Eat Healthy on a College Budget with this List of Tips and Tricks

1. Stock Up on Veggies

Go Vegan. Just playing, but adding in more veggies during your lunch hours can help you in so many more ways than one.

So pick a dining hall and fill up on vegetables before your main meal. You might not believe it but this simple diet change will keep you away from sodium and calorie heavy meals.

Picture of vegetables that can help you eat healthy on a college budget

Eating less means saving money. You can control your weight and at the same time regulate your hormones and feel less hungry. It’s a win win really.

Photo of spinach which can help you stay and eat healthy on a college budget

2. Eat at Home

Eating out is always more expensive and way less healthy than cooking you own meals.

College towns are loaded with restaurants and although it might seem like a good idea, you’re likely going to be paying more and consuming additives that you didn’t even know we’re in your meals.

More control over what you put in your body is going to leave you feeling healthier overall and keep you productive.

Feel good, look good, and you’ll score good too.

A nice tip to keep you away from processed meats is to avoid the inner aisles. That’s where all the junk foods, heavy carbs foods, and meats usually are. So stay on the outer edge so that you buy only what you need.

3. Plan Out Your Meals

Oh no, more homework!

I hate to give you another assignment but this is essential ladies and gents.

Planning out your meals ahead of time can save you loads of money and help you stick to eating healthy on a college budget.

Take the time at the start of your week and create a meal plan of what your going to eat the rest of the week . That way you’re prepared when you go to the grocery and can get in and get out without having to waste anytime in the junk food section.

Having an idea of what your going to buy can save you time. Time best spent with your nose in the books.

Also, being prepared should give you a sense of relief. It won’t be something you’ll have to stress or worry about during the week.

The best thing about planning out your meals is that you can add foods to different meals that way you aren’t over spending and making the best use of what you bought.

For example if you plan to buy spinach you can incorporate that in a breakfast omelet and at the same time put it in your smoothies or a salad.

4. Shop Smart

Sometimes what you’re looking to buy at the grocery store might appear to be a good deal.

In reality it isn’t. It just seems that way but you can be prepared to save yourself from this trap.

Learn to read price tags. Divide the cost by the units to find the best deal for your money.

So simple, so valuable.

5. Keep Healthy Snacks around

Snacking on healthy nuts like almonds are going to be your best friend during college season.

Get descent deals by buying from the bulk bins. Don’t miss out on this sweet deal, you could be saving  on snacks. However, nuts aren’t the only tasty food you could be having during a study session.

A simple and really tasty snack you should try is cottage cheese topped on Tomato slices with chopped green onion.

Yummy! It makes me hungry just writing this. Super cheap, super healthy, and so easy to make. Cottage cheese is prebiotic and will leave your tummy and mind feeling fantastic. Don’t knock it till you try it.

6. Buy Eggs

Who doesn’t love eggs?

Cheap and easy to incorporate in your meals. Boil em, pan fry them, even bake them.

You could make thin egg noodles and toss them on your salads, or just stick with plain and simple scrambled eggs with green onions.

a picture of a carton of eggs

If your making thing egg noodles, first crack two eggs in a small bowl and stir them up.

Then coat the pan in some oil. Keep the heat on medium.

Pour your eggs into the pan and tilt to evenly spread the egg on the pan.

You can cover the pan and wait till there finished cooking, if you don’t then they’ll stick. Once your done roll the egg, and place it on your cutting board. Slice it thinly and there you have it. Simple egg noodles ready to be thrown into other meals.

7. Stock up on Beans and Rice

Rice is another one of these foods that is so affordable. They provide you with all the carbs you’re going to need and beans provide the protein.

Stop buying processed foods. They are making you overweight and sick. Eat healthy on a college budget by chowing down on rice and beans. Rice is as cheap as 99 cents a bag. Deals don’t get better than that.

You can add flavor to your bean and rice dishes with spices like taco seasoning, chili powder, and onion powder. There are endless ways to dress up your dishes. Keep a wide selection of herbs and spices on hand.

You won’t need much to last you a long time.

The only difference between your at home meals and outside dining options is the quality of their ingredients. Don’t be fooled by fine dining spots.

Create your own tasty dishes easy with beans and rice as the focal points of your meals.

Beans in particular are a good way to eat healthy on a college budget. http://paymons.com/mediterranean-diet-college-budget-essentials-need-mediterranean-diet/ is a short and sweet article I found on the Mediterranean diet.

It describes some simple reasons why a Mediterranean diet is considered healthy. Beans are at the fore front of this hearty diet. It goes to show that beans can be utilized in many creative ways.

Don’t underestimate the benefits legumes can add to your life. Learn to love beans. You might find out you liked them all along.

8. Gardening

Time to get excited! Starting a garden can help you with cravings and allow you to eat healthy on a college budget.

So you’ve only got 40$ to spend and you’ve decided to start growing some veggies or fruits.

Well, you are in luck. Your local market has plenty of cheap options.

A photo of a garden growing

Beans are a good choice and the best part is they are so easy to grow that they’ll even grow themselves with little supervision.

Edamame and beans grow all year round and grow great in warm climate but generally they have a very universal growing climate. Beans create nitrogen and put nitrogen naturally into the soil. So the soil should have organic matter and be loose.

Avoid nitrogen fertilizer.

If you need compost all you got to do is ask around. I’m sure there will be plenty of people with compost nearby and even willing to give you free seeds.

People love to help others and what better way than helping a neighbor start a veggie garden. A gift that keeps on giving. Who knows you might even discover new friends with gardens of their own. Gardens with lots of extra veggies.

This fun tip can help you eat healthy on a college budget while at the same time meeting new friends. So get excited about starting your own grow operation because the benefits are endless.

Lucky you! You just found yourself another great way to save some dollars.

9. Student Discounts

Wanting to have a cheat meal and take a break the from the healthy life for a night?

Student Discount.

Want to splurge on a new shirt or pants ? Wip out your student discount.

Student discounts can be used for almost anything. If you decide to wait to get into school before getting a laptop, you could save massive amounts of cash with your student discount.

Keep it at the back of your mind if you do choose to go out and spend some money.

10. My Greatest Tip

Don’t purchase milk for your dorm! Buy milk when school starts and fill it up at your dinning hall.

This tip can be applied to other things like fountain drinks or grab a plastic bag and fill it up with spinach, cookies, cereal, or potato chips.

When you do feel the need to have a cheat meal, stock up at your dining hall. Don’t use this tip if the dining hall doesn’t allow it. Find out what the rules are, each college dining hall is different.

This is another tip I’m giving you guys that diverts away from how you can eat healthy on a college budget. It came to mind so I decided to add it in here. Hope you guys appreciate it nonetheless.

11. Make Coffee at Home

Invest in a coffee maker. If you don’t have 5$ coffees planned into your meal plan then this is a must have.

Photo of someone holding a bag of coffee beans easy wya to save money on a college budget

Five dollars a coffee really adds up and can do some big damage to your wallet. So make coffee at home and stop falling for expensive cafes near your college campus.

It’s not worth it, plain and simple.

12. Add Green Tea to your Diet

A good way to stay healthy while getting your caffeine intake is to not purchase coffee in the first place.

Yup, I said it. “What?! But I can’t deal without coffee.”, or “How does anybody get through their day without coffee?!”

Well, ladies and gents, it’s simple! Drink tea instead. Green tea in particular can give you a boost while keeping your body and mind healthy. Green tea is filled with radicals and antioxidants that keep you healthy while on a college budget.

It’s great for cognitive performance, is a mood booster, and it can even suppress food cravings. Two thumbs up for green tea.

The reason why green tea can be inexpensive is because of how it’s collected and cultivated. It is much easier to dry a tea leaf than it can be to roast coffee beans.

Several factors influence the price of coffee when compared to tea and I could go more into depth on this but that is for another day.photo of person pouring Green Tea

All you need to know is that green tea is cheaper at any store, however higher qualities of tea can be quite pricey.

We all would like to enjoy high quality tea but the lower quality, I believe, can still prove to be tasty and beneficial to your healthy diet. Green tea is also great because it hydrates the body unlike coffee.

So, don’t dismiss green tea until you’ve tried it. It can benefit you in more ways than one.

13. Stick to a Healthy Diet

Easier said than done, I know but the more greens we add to our diet the better off we will be. Not Only will our pockets be heavier but our minds will be lighter.

Photo that says you got this in chalk on concrete

Our minds will be lighter and we will feel an increase in awareness. No more tired and lethargic feeling after eating a big meal. Cutting down on the carbs will have you feeling much better.

Sticking to your healthy vegetarian style diet can easily prove to be the best choice you make during a stressful college year.

I have no doubt that it will not only keep you productive but boost your overall grades. Obviously, the healthy diet itself won’t be the sole reason for your good grades. Commitment to your studies is always most crucial.

Put in the time, guarantee it show.

A good way to stay glued to eating healthy is to make healthy food easily accessible. This is where the cooking skills and planning come into play.

If you decide to meal prep then keeping them in your fridge at plain sight is a simple way to stay on track. That way there will always be healthy food around.

Getting disciplined and keeping after it are major keys to follow the “eat healthy on a college budget” plan.

14. Buy in Season Produce

Stock up on in season fruits and veggies so you can get the best price for your produce. When certain fruits or veggies are in season, the surplus of these foods usually comes with a drop in price.

This makes it the perfect time to load up. Take strawberries for instance. During the summer these tasty, sweet fruits cost about 4$ a pound, however in the frozen food sections during winter they can go for as much as 7$ a pound.

Not to mention the Lion’s share of frozen strawberries during the winter are much smaller and look less appetizing then fresh in season berries.

Buying in season fruits and freezing them so you can reap the benefits of fresh produce during the winter months is a great way to save tons of money and stay on track with a healthy diet.

For foods like strawberries, all you have to do is rinse and wash them very well, cut the tops off and slice them into pieces, then put them in snack sized ziploc baggies.

That way you can have 5-6 bundles of fresh summer berries ready to be made into smoothies or just have them as a healthy treat anytime.

This trick is simple yet effective, and there are so many other foods you can do this with during the summer months. So don’t forget to stock up and avoid the pitfalls of overpriced produce.

15. Buying Frozen Veggies

It depends where you are buying your frozen veggies but most grocery stores have cheap frozen veggies. The upsides to buying frozen veggies is that they are diced and ready to be thrown into smoothies or cooked.

They are already frozen so it will last a whole lot longer than fresh produce. That way they’re always available when you need them.

Sometimes a bag of frozen veggies can be extended out through multiple dishes. Knowing that you have frozen veggies on hand can make planning out meals that much easier.

Not only that but if you find bags on sale you could have yourself a sweet deal that can be stretched over a months worth of meals. Store brand frozen veggies are usually cheaper.

Some places even have them on sale for as cheap as 5 bags for 5$. Think about all the money you would have after going frugal for a week on frozen veggies.

Another interesting fact about frozen foods is that some people believe that they are even healthier than fresh produce. The reason being is that they are frozen at their nutritional peak.

Sometimes your local grocery store will have fresh produce sitting out for a week. That doesn’t sound very healthy at all. Not to mention big chain food companies might send out vegetables of lower quality.

It all depends on where it’s coming from. Companies, just like you and I, need to save money too so it wouldn’t be that far off of a thought that they are saving on cost at the expense of quality foods.

You could be getting  a much greater value for your frozen veggies than you ever expected.

Pan Fried Problems

Cooking your veggies into your dishes? That is a great option. However, cooking them strips them of most of their nutrients. Houston! We have a problem.

Look , I know it doesn’t taste as good, but steaming them is a way to negate the dissipation of nutrients.

If you are worried that you have to stuff your face with bland veggies during this healthy diet, well I’m here to assure you that you can dodge this problem too.

Look at us now ducking and dodging mistakes as if we are Rocky gliding past punches in one of his famous movies.

And just like Rocky we need to cover every nook and cranny of our routine as to not leave any holes or patches uncovered.

Helping us patch up this issue are some secret ingredients consisting of sea salt, lemon, cracked pepper, and last but not least butter!

Theses tasty yet simple additions are sure to liven up our veggies.

Now, don’t get to wild using huge chunks of butter. Take it easy their skip.

We are doing too good on our healthy new diet to start leaving a half stick of butter in our veggies. Small portions will add enough of what were looking for.

So be creative, realize your options, and get out there and seek out deals and new ways of spicing up meals. Most of all friends, good luck experimenting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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