How To Eat Nutritiously Without Breaking The Bank
As both a runner and a college student, eating nutritiously without breaking the bank is top of mind. I think the “health trend” in today’s society is changing attitudes overall, and nowadays, many if not most college students genuinely want to eat healthy, and are trying to find ways to do so. Still, so many people say to me that, “eating healthy is too expensive.”
Sometimes, the biggest challenging factor in eating healthy is time, but I have found that by putting my health as a priority, I make time to do the grocery shopping I need and meal prep every week. With that, here are some tips I found useful to eat nutritiously on a budget:
Shop at the Markets
You can get really good fruit and veggies at farmers markets, and depending on what’s in season, you can get some amazing deals. If there is a farmer market close to you, maybe on your way home from work or school, I challenge you to stop at it and check it out! You may be surprised by what you can find, and it may even force you to try something new that you wouldn’t have otherwise bought in the store. I also like markets because they force you to buy what’s fresh and only what you can eat within the next couple days. My next tip is about shopping and cooking in bulk, but I do believe the trick in healthy eating is to find that balance of shopping for just the day and shopping for the week.
Meal Prep, Meal Prep, Meal Prep!
I cannot say this enough. Especially with a packed weekly schedule, meal prep is so important in keeping you on track to eating healthy, and helps you save money by not eating out. Once you get the hang of it, meal prep naturally becomes part of your weekly routine. I usually meal prep on Sunday nights, but when weekends get busy or I am traveling, I find time to meal prep on a week night. Also, I found cooking extra meals to put in the freezer when I have time to be super helpful.
Have Flexible Recipes & Get Creative
You don’t have to spend tons on exotic ingredients to make a meal. I found that often times I will look up new recipes to try, and then use the recipe as a starting point and make the meal into my own from there. I will use the veggies that I already have or plan on buying, and leave out some of the spices or added ingredients. This way I am not forced to buy food that I would only use for that recipe and then later go to waste.
This is not to discourage trying new recipes and foods, but when your budget is crunched, try and think how you can still be creative in your cooking without spending extra money. For example, if you come home from the grocery store and found you forgot something, see what you can use as a substitute from what you already have!
Stick With What Works For You
My breakfast every morning (currently) is a bowl of oatmeal with half of a banana and a scoop of peanut butter (I love peanut butter and can’t seem to get enough of it). Chicken and veggies with a grain are normal dinners, and right now, due to having limited fridge space and not having the time to meal prep for both lunch and dinner, I am eating sandwiches for lunch. It works for me in the current moment, and it allows me to eat healthy and not spend money on eating out all the time. When I start to get bored of a certain food, I replace it with a new one (i.e., all summer I did overnight oats for breakfast, and now have just changed that to hot oats). You don’t have to be as routine as me in your eating, but I do challenge you to find what works for you and stick with it. This will help you save time and money at the grocery store because you will know exactly what you need, and will help you establish a habit of healthy eating every week.
What tips do you have for eating nutritiously on a budget?
What are ways to make food fun and experimental while keeping costs low?