5 Tricks to Eating Healthy When You’re Strapped for Cash

As the year unfolds, several students are filled with excitement because they can finally escape the constraint of their parents’ homes.

However, when hunger pangs strike and students are left with a cold, empty refrigerator, the thought of returning back home isn’t as devastating.

Living on your own doesn’t mean you have to resort to eating MSG-filled ramen noodles. Cooking healthy meals can be fun, quick and cost-friendly.

Here are a few tips to keep your nutrition up and your cost down:

1.   Plan ahead.

At the start of the week, make a meal list. Include everything you’ll need from recipe must-haves down to the necessities. When you start shopping, stick to your list. This is a guaranteed time-saver and will make your wallet happier.

2.  Shop in season.

Buy squash in the fall and asparagus in the spring along with several other produce items. Your food will taste better and result in a lower cost if you buy them in season.

3.  Go to the farmers’ market for great prices on organic produce.

Organic produce can be expensive at your local food market. Instead, go to the farmers’ market where produce is sold at reasonable prices. Ask a vendor if their produce is organic, because often times it will not be labeled this way due to the high cost of gaining an organic certification. The market is currently open Thursdays at Island Park and Saturdays at City Hall from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. – but don’t wait; the market ends in October.

4.   Buy items in bulk.

GreenTree Co-op has a section where you can buy items like dehydrated beans, quinoa, flaxseed and snack foods in bulk. Doing this along with buying pre-bagged fruit compared to picking individual fruit will help you stock up and save money. Generally, the larger the amount you purchase, the better the price per unit will be.

5.   Don’t pay more for convenience items.

 Although pre washed and precut vegetables and fruits can save you time, they are also more expensive. Put on your favorite Pandora playlist and spend an hour on Sunday washing and cutting your produce with a roommate.