For many students, conveniently packaged and fairly cheap foods can seem like the only choice when you only have a small budget to work with. However, these foods tend not to be very healthy or nutritious. Luckily, it is possible to eat healthy and cheaply as a student. Here are 9 top tips for a healthier diet on a student budget.
Related article: Healthy Convenience Foods 101
Save $$$ and Eat Healthy
1. Plan Meals In Advance
Planning your weekly meals in advance will help you save money. If you can, try to plan meals that use overlapping ingredients so that you make the most of all the foods you buy. You can also plan your meals around seasonal produce as this will be cheaper.
2. Buy Frozen Fruit And Vegetables
Frozen fruit and vegetables can sometimes get a bad reputation, but they still contain plenty of nutrients. Especially if your goal is to eat healthy. They are cheaper than buying fresh and it can be a good way to prevent wasting food. Frozen fruit and vegetables are also a great option for making smoothies or soups.
Preparation is Always Key to Eating Healthy
3. Prepare Meals In Advance And Freeze Them
Spend some time at the weekend cooking meals in advance or making a larger portion which you can separate out into smaller meal-sized containers. If you can, invest in some containers which are microwave, freezer, and dishwasher-safe, so you can just eat straight from the container, especially if you’re in a hurry.
4. Stock Your Cupboards With Essential Staples
Stock up on essentials, such as pasta, rice, lentils, flour, oats, wholegrains and dried fruit which are long-lasting and easy to throw together into a nutritious meal when you’re in a hurry.
“Canned foods, especially fish such as tuna or sardines, are another great option, as well as beans which are a good source of protein. If you can, buy items in bulk and store them in airtight containers. They will last longer and be cheaper in the long-run,” says Michael Cotton, a health writer at Topcanadianwriters and Academized.
5. Pack Healthy Snacks
Avoid expensive and unhealthy fast food between classes by packing some healthy snacks to take with you to class. Some cheap and healthy snacks include trail mix, mixed nuts, dried fruit, a piece of fruit (such as an apple or banana) or some crackers with spread, such as peanut butter.
6. Make Your Own Coffee
Making your own coffee will save you money and help you to avoid stopping in coffee shops where you’re likely to buy more sugary drinks or even be tempted by their snacks and cake options. You can still get your much-needed caffeine pick-me-up before class, whilst saving money by making your own home-brewed coffee. Instead, treat your coffee shop stop as a special treat or reward.
7. Carry A Reusable Water Bottle
Invest in a reusable water bottle and make sure that you take it with you whenever you go out. It’s free to refill and it’s essential to keep you hydrated. It’s also a good way to help you avoid unhealthy foods, as water helps you to feel fuller between meals.
Grow Your Own to Eat Healthy
8. Grow Your Own Herb Garden
Many recipes often include small amounts of herbs. Instead of spending money on fresh herbs, which can often end up going to waste, grow your own herb garden.
“There are a range of fairly cheap herb kits which can be purchased online and come with all the equipment you need to grow your own herb garden on your windowsill. All they require is some sunshine and a little effort,” says Melissa Lopez, a blogger at Viawriting.
Eat Healthy & Indulge
9. Indulge In A Weekly Treat
Choose one luxury item each week that you want to spend a little extra money on. Whether it’s some particularly appealing fruit that you spot during your shop, or a fancy Greek yoghurt, allow yourself to have one treat each week. This way, you’ll always have some variety in your diet and it will give you something enjoyable to look forward to.
Wrapping It up
With a little planning and preparation, you can create nutritious and tasty meals on a student budget. Remember to always carry a water bottle and pack snacks before heading out to avoid buying unhealthy foods when hunger strikes. Experiment with different recipes and freeze larger portions to save you time and money.
About the author
Katherine Rundell is a money writer at Essay writing services reviews and Essay Roo services, where she regularly shares money-saving tips and tricks with her readers, as well as writing about effective time-management. She is also a proofreader at Best assignment services. When not writing, Katherine enjoys spending time reading, running, and attending business conferences.
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