Healthy food can be expensive, especially as a college student on a budget. It can be so tempting to drive through your favorite fast food place when you’re tired or need something quick. But I promise, there are plenty of tips and tricks to eat healthy while also being smart with your money! Here are some money saving ways to trade in that Big Mac for some nutrient-packed goodness.
Plan Out Your Meals Ahead of Time
Take an hour each week to plan all your meals, and make a grocery list based on that. This way, you only get exactly what you need instead of items you won’t use and waste money!
And stick to this plan when you get to the grocery store: don’t give in to an impulse buy or random junk food.
Cook Larger Meals
When you cook larger portions, you can save the leftovers. Invest in some plastic containers and keep your leftover food for lunches or dinners on days when you’re in a hurry. This will replace those frantic stops at a drive-thru!
Buy in Bulk
Many grocery stores are adding bulk food sections, where you can get large quantities of certain items at cheap prices.
Food like grains, rice, oats, nuts, and snack mixes are healthy options that can be used in many recipes and last a long time when stored in airtight containers!
Take Advantage of Frozen Produce
Fresh fruits and veggies are optimal, but can sometimes be expensive when it’s not in season. Canned produce is full of preservatives and often has less nutritional value.
When produce is out of season or more expensive, go check the frozen section! Frozen fruits and veggies can be used year-round, steamed with your meals, or thrown into a delicious smoothie.
Get Creative with Your Protein
Replacing meats with other proteins a couple times a week can save you money. Try opting for other healthy protein sources like eggs, beans, nuts, quinoa, or tofu a couple times a week.
When you do buy meat, aim for healthier types like turkey, fish, and chicken instead of red meat and cured items. Red meats and cured foods (like bacon and sausage) have more bad fats and preservatives than poultry, so try replacing these types of meat in your meals.
Switch to Whole Grains
They are full of fiber and help your digestive system! If you eat foods with white flour, switch to ones with whole grain: good places to start are bread and crackers. Opt for brown rice instead of white rice. These are easy switches to make that won’t change your grocery bill at all!
These are just a few tips to get started on your new healthy lifestyle, while not breaking the bank! There are many ways to save money and eat foods that are good for you and will build healthy habits through your college years!