You’re in college and you get hungry what’s the first thing you eat? Many young adults in college would probably eat ramen, pizza, takeout, or stick to drinking energy drinks. Most of the accessible food around you is unhealthy and/or junk food especially if you live in a dorm. Another problem many young college students have is not enough money. With the lack of cash, it may be hard to eat healthy and fulfilling food but it is not impossible. You just have is to create a budget so you can afford better quality food. I will give you 11 food items that you can eat that are healthy and can be made affordable.
- Fruits: Apples or Oranges
Apples and Oranges are some of the cheapest fruit you can get at the store. It is best to get a bag of apples/oranges vs picking them individually. You also have the option of getting cuties which are small oranges. They always come in bags.
- Vegetables: Fresh Spinach/ Carrots
Depending on what vegetables you get, the cost will differ. I usually get fresh packaged spinach because it is a good source of iron and it is better nutrition than lettuce. Wash the spinach before use! Then enjoy it fresh or cooked. I also like carrots because they are a great on the go snack. I rarely use dressing and when I do I use raspberry vinaigrette. Overall, I eat most of my veggies plain or with another component of my meal like scrambled eggs.
Tuna is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. It is best to get the packets instead of the cans. The canned tuna may contain mostly oil and water. So, your best option is the packets. Ex: (chunk light tuna in water). Most cost around $0.97 to $2 depending on the brand or size.
Rice is a great side dish. It can go with anything and you can make rice to last for 3-4 days. My favorite is jasmine rice, it has a nice natural flavor so I never put seasoning in it. I also like short gain rice that is best to eat with seaweed and to make onigiri (Japanese rice balls).
Bread or tortillas are great because they can go with anything as well. You can make a tuna sandwich with spinach or you can eat tortillas plain or with salsa.
- Almond milk/ Green Tea
Almond milk and green tea are better alternatives than soda, energy drinks, or juice. Juice has just as much sugar as soda so I usually stick to milk and tea. Almond milk is cheaper and better that regular milk because it has low fat. Green tea has no fat or no carbs if you don’t put sugar in it. I love sweet tea so I put sugar in mine but sometimes I drink it without the sugar.
Soup is a great way to fill you belly. I use to eat soup every day for lunch because I didn’t it a lot but it left me full. I usually get the microwave soup bowls so I can eat faster. You can also cook soup in a rice cooker or in a pot on the stove.
Crackers are great snacks and are better than chips. I also eat gold fish and animal crackers as snacks because they are low in calories.
- Peanut Butter & Jelly
It is old fashion but it works. If I have to eat something quick I make a pb and j or a pb and honey.
- Canned Goods
Canned fruit is a no because of the added sugar. I never buy canned meat also because of add ingredients. The only thing I buy canned is canned low-sodium vegetables. Sometimes I buy frozen but not as often. Canned vegetables are great because they won’t spoil as fast and it is cheap. Depending on the brand it can cost around $0.72-$1.
Potatoes are great and healthy when it is eaten plain with no unnecessary dressings. Most people eat potatoes with lots of high sodium toppings which makes it unhealthy. Eat potatoes with little butter or salt. You can also eat sweet potatoes which are also good and fulfilling. I buy the smallest bag every time because I don’t eat potatoes all the time. You can make lots of things with potatoes, so there many options.
I do want to say that I was vegetarian and vegan so that is why there is not much meat on the list. Meat is one of the most expensive items in the store but I don’t really eat meat so I can cut from my budget and use that money for other use. Just keep in mind the whole point is to try to help give you more options than wasting money on junk food or take out. If you have to have meat than put it in your budget. I hope this helps with expanding your variety of food choices! Comment below!