I would guess that the average college student spends more money on food than tuition. That may be arguable, but let’s face the truth. Haha I know that some of us can relate to eating out more than we should until finally resulting to some terrible excuse for “food” in the form of a microwavable dish. Today’s post is all about tips for being healthier and saving money while on a budget. College is tough, but eating healthy doesn’t have to be!
TIP #1: Keep the proper tools on deck.
My blender, crockpot, and electric skillet (for dorm living) saved my life! You can purchase each of these items for $20 or less. They make healthy eating 10 times easier, and you don’t need major kitchen skills. These appliances are 100% user friendly.
TIP #2: Buy frozen food.
Frozen fruits and vegetables are great to keep at your place. The fruit can easily be thrown into a blender to make a smoothie or dropped on top of your oatmeal for a quick breakfast. Use frozen veggies for a stir fry, soup, or any other crockpot meal. I also highly recommend that you buy frozen bags of mixed onion, bell pepper, and celery. These items are what I consider staple products for many dishes, so having them pre-cut will reduce your prep time.
Some frozen foods you want to buy sparingly or avoid all together are microwavable dinners, pre-made breakfast meals, and fried foods.
TIP #3: Prep for the week.
If you have time to make all of your meals daily, that’s wonderful. The truth is that most of us don’t have that luxury. Meal prepping for 3-6 days can help you stay on track with your goals AND save money. If you go to the grocery store knowing what recipes you’re going to use for the week, you are more likely to get what you NEED and leave the bull swanky on the shelf.
TIP #4: Keep your grocery list simple.
I cannot stress how important this is when trying to stay healthy and within your budget. Stick with the basics when you go grocery shopping. Choose recipes that don’t require a lot of exotic ingredients (most of the time), and try to shop around the perimeter of the store. That means you’ll hit the fresh foods, and avoid most of the crappy stuff. I include beans and grains in my meals, so I do take a stroll down the aisles every now and then.
I love candy, chips, cookies…must I go on? So my rule was to buy myself one treat every week at the grocery store. ONE treat. This keeps me (and my budget) happy!
TIP #5: Go meatless a few days.
Meat can be expensive. I used to spend a nice chunk of my grocery budget just on meat and dairy. Going 2-4 days without meat can help you save cash, and you may be surprised how it enhances your health as well. If you take time off from eating meat, be sure to up the amount of veggies and fruits that you eat.
TIP #6: Upgrade the basics.
Beans, rice, pasta, oats, and potatoes are all great foods that you can turn into an amazing meal. Check out some healthy recipes that allow you to upgrade these cheap, basic items into something you’ll enjoy any time of the day.
TIP #7: Cook with friends.
This is one of my favorite tips. This past year, I started cooking more often with one of my friends, and it was a lot of fun. I’m very goofy & love to have a good time, so it was the perfect mix of socializing and eating GOOD food. We always used cheap ingredients, and we split the price of the groceries. Cheap, easy, and fun!
TIP #8: Pack snacks at all times.
Last, but certainly not least…always have a survival pack on hand. When I’m not prepared, I will do whatever it takes to satisfy my hunger. Junk food anyone? It’s very important that I keep healthy snacks in my bag when I leave home. Having food at my side when hunger strikes keeps me from resorting to fast food. Along with your snacks, be sure to pack plenty of water! Staying properly hydrated can help curb your hunger and it’s just healthy in general.
I hope you like these tips and can fit them into your lifestyle. Comment below with some tips you already use to help keep your health and budget on track. If you try out any of these tips, let me know! I love to see The Tribe being proactive and healthy. Tag me on Instagram or Facebook and use the hashtag #lifexerin.