How to eat healthy on a college budget

by Jesse Merrick, Staff Writer 0

How many times have you complained that starting a diet is too expensive? Well guess what? You’re already on one!

Eating healthy can actually put some extra money back in your pocket.
Eating healthy can actually put some money back in your pocket.

A diet isn’t something you go on all the sudden: it’s what you eat every day and you don’t have to drop a ton of cash to improve it. You can even make your diet healthier and spend less at the same time.

First, make sure you eat breakfast. We’ve all heard it for years, it’s the most important meal of the day.

Taylor Hagan, medical dietetics graduate from the University of Missouri said, “Another good thing about breakfast is that it is usually the cheapest meal of the day.”

Next time you make your grocery run, grab some eggs and plain oatmeal, not the packets and all the added sugars that come with them. Go for the bin instead; it has no added sugar and you’ll spend around four dollars for thirty servings.

Eggs are one of the most complete sources of protein, which will help you stay full longer and will help to jumpstart your metabolism in the morning. And oatmeal is 100 % natural, just take a look at the ingredients label. It takes you less than a second to read.  Oatmeal is a great source of complex carbs, iron, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants you need in a balanced diet.

Old Fashioned Quaker Oats is one of the best options out there for a cheap and nutritious breakfast.
Old Fashioned Quaker Oats is one of the best options out there for a cheap and nutritious breakfast.

The best part about eggs and oatmeal is that you can literally mix them with anything. Toss in some vegetables with your scrambled eggs or some fruit and nuts for taste and nutrition to your oatmeal, all for a much more sustainable and wallet friendly breakfast.

You can make anything for lunch and dinner so the possibilities are endless, but sometimes dangerous. Refrain from dining out for these meals, the six to twelve dollars you’d spend on one meal can buy you the ingredients for anywhere from two to six meals at home. Some cheap, healthy and easy staples for these meals are chicken, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, frozen vegetables, fresh fruits and dried beans. Pull out that laptop and search recipes for some of these ingredients and you will see the combinations are endless. These ingredients provide you with protein, complex carbs, fiber, vitamins and minerals.

The key is versatility in the food you buy.  Making sure you can mix and match will not only save you money, it will mix things up and you’ll avoid eating the same meals everyday.

Take a look at this picture from menshealth.com, drinking one Rockstar energy drink is equivalent to eating six crispy creme donuts!
Take a look at this picture from menshealth.com, drinking one Rockstar energy drink is equivalent to eating six crispy creme donuts. I bet you didn’t account for that kind of sugar intake into your diet.

In between classes it can be easy and tempting to buy a candy bar or bag of chips.  Instead of wasting your dining dollars on these unhealthy items why not spend them on less expensive fruits, raw nuts or a protein bar with minimal sugar that will keep those hunger pains at bay longer and provide you with much needed energy, protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.

What about those Rock Stars and Monsters? Just look at the ingredients label on those energy drinks. If you’ve never heard of it or can’t pronounce it, that probably means you shouldn’t be drinking it.

Hagan said, “A lot of Americans operate in a constant state of dehydration.” So instead of making things worse with energy drinks, drink water and eliminate the 400 calories average Americans drink in a day from your diet.

The best thing about eating healthy is you only have to do it about 80-90% of the time; many nutritionists say this will offset the negative effects of those times you indulge. So go ahead and spend the money you saved from eating healthy on those tempting cravings you have every now and then.

 

 

 

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