Step Away From the Cookies: Eating Healthy on a College Budget

Going away for college means freedom to do whatever you want and to eat whatever you want.  This could be a curse and blessing all at once.  You may find yourself buying things that you wouldn’t normally buy at home simply because there isn’t anyone there telling you not to.  Well, I’m here to tell you that eating healthy on a limited budget is possible to obtain.

Make a Grocery List

Sounds simple, right?  And it is; I’m not trying to trick you into thinking there’s some hidden message behind it.  As long as you can make a list of the items you need for lunch/dinner then you’ll be in good hands.  It’s when you try grocery shopping and buy things off the top of your head that it gets tricky.

It’s always easier I found if you bunched the items into categories so you’re not running around the store trying to find each individual item.  Trust me, you’ll find yourself zigzagging all over the place, and it’ll feel more like a marathon trying to get out in a reasonable amount of time.  Plus those pesky candy and cookies will somehow find themselves in your basket.

Never Go on an Empty Stomach

You know what they say – “Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach.”  Whoever said this first or capitalized on it is absolutely, 100% right.  It will only cause your bank account to suffer, and ultimately your weight to skyrocket, if you shop on an empty stomach.  The reason for this is simple.  If you’re hungry every little thing that you see will look appetizing, and you’ll want to buy it all.

If need be, eat a snack before you go.  Try eating some carrots or a granola bar that can sustain your hunger well enough so that you’re not tempted to buy unnecessary items.

Don’t Overbuy, Instead Under-buy

This sounds weird, I know, but how many times have you gone grocery shopping just for things to go bad before you can eat them?  I don’t know about you, but I’ve had my fair share of this happening, and it only serves to frustrate me when I have to throw un-eaten products in the garbage.  To me it’s like throwing money away, which for a college student is never a good thing.

So, buy products, especially fresh produce, in a limited quantity.  Buy for the next few days or so that can last and still be fresh for you to eat.  But definitely buy fresh produce where you can make a healthy salad or side dish that will make you feel good after eating it.

Buy Student, Friendly Cookbooks

One of the first items we had in our kitchen was a cookbook for students to eating healthy on a limited budget.  I can’t say that I used it every night, but it had tons of useful information in it that helped whenever I went grocery shopping.

Especially if you don’t have much cooking experience this will most definitely help you out.  You’re going to need some kind of guide.  Why not have it be a healthy one that can steer you in the right direction?

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Kali White

Kali White

Kali White is a junior at the University of California, Davis pursuing a degree in Communications and a minor in Sociology. Her goal is to have a career working for a publication company writing and editing. In her free time she enjoys the outdoors, reading, playing and listening to music, and travelling.