Healthy and Smart Eating on a College Budget
We have all said it, “Food is so expensive!” But the good news is, it doesn’t have to be! Here are some simple tips for getting more for your buck. Not only that, but having healthier food options.
Shop with the Seasons
Fruits and vegetables that are in season are much cheaper. For example, berries are summer fruits and you can buy a container of strawberries for $6.99 in winter – compared to half that if they were in season.
Here are the seasons for some popular fruits and vegetables:
- Fall-Broccoli, Cranberries, Cauliflower, Grapes, Pineapple, Pumpkins, Sweet Potatoes
- Winter-Grapefruit, Kiwis, Oranges, Pears, Collard Greens
- Spring-Apricots, Asparagus, Corn, Limes, Mango, Peas, Honeydew
- Summer-Cucumbers, Blueberries, Bell Peppers, Cherries, Eggplant, Strawberries, Raspberries
Cut those Coupons
No, you don’t need to become an extreme couponer. But it is important to get a deal when you can. Search through local papers and ads to find coupons for items you actually eat! Don’t buy something just because you can get a dollar off but you don’t really like it. It will most likely end up in the garbage.
Here are some websites to redeem free grocery coupons:
Fresh is Best
Always look at the expiration dates on food, especially produce and dairy. This will make your food last longer after purchasing.
Spoiler Alert! Stores place older items in the front and newer items in back. You will have to dig but your wallet will thank you!
Have a Plan
Making a grocery list will help you stick to your budget. If you just go into a store with no plan you are more likely to buy things you don’t need. So try to avoid impulse buys and make a strict “I NEED” list.
Also try to avoid the grocery store on an empty stomach. Have you ever heard of the term, “your eyes are bigger than your stomach?” Well when you’re hungry and grocery shopping, you will probably fill your cart with anything and everything to satisfy that hunger craving.
The Freezer is your Friend
One of the biggest ways for food to suck up your money is wasting it. If you make a pasta sauce and there is half of the pot left over, don’t throw it away! Put it in a container and pop it in the freezer. Then you can thaw it different day and have another meal ready to take to the office or use for a last minute meal.
You should also do this with fruit and meat. I’m a girl who loves smoothies. But I always had problems with my fruit going bad before I could use it all. Now I make my own smoothie–bags. Take a Ziploc bag and mix in all of the fruit you need for a single smoothie. Then when you’re ready to indulge in a fresh drink, you’re all set!
Another perk of freezing fruit for smoothies is the fruit will replace the ice cubes. The drink will be chilled and you can say bye-bye to watered-down drinks.
Vending machines and cafeterias can really shrink your wallet and expand your waistband. Make sure to pack your lunches the night before! This is a time you can utilize your freezer meals (as long as your office has a microwave or way of heating your food) or make a brown-bag lunch.
And if you can’t heat up your meals, here is a list of 90 no-heat meals for the office.
More for Your Buck
Check out these awesome price comparisons! Who would have thought you could get so much healthy food for these prices?
Check out the rest of the comparisons, here.
If you want more tips on how to eat healthy on a budget or have questions about health and wellness, feel free to email me at MediaCLD@uww.edu and use “Health and Wellness with Heather” as the subject heading.