It takes time adjusting to the college life. Whether youâ€™ve moved out of your parentsâ€™ house and live on campus, or still live at home, your life is changing. Your parents might expect you to be more independent and fend for yourself in certain areas, and you probably want to be more independent anyway for your own benefit. You donâ€™t have anyone making lunch for you every day or cooking homemade meals every night. And even if you are on a campus food plan, sometimes that food might not be to your taste. But there is a way to spruce up your diet, eat healthy, and even make a few homemade meals yourself on a budget. Here are 4 simple ideas:
1: Stock Up on Healthy Snacks
Even if youâ€™re relying on a food plan for most of your meals, itâ€™s a smart idea to stock up on healthy snacks. You might get hungry during a late-night study session when the food hall isnâ€™t open, or you might want to grab something quick in-between classes. Try to choose healthier options that will give you energy to make it through your classes and all those hours of writing essays, but will also keep well over time, such as dried fruit, whole grain crackers, peanut butter, cereal, or granola bars. Hazelnut and chocolate spread is great on crackers, too. These can all be kept in a cabinet or even on your desk and will last at least a few months or longer.
2: Limit Dine-Out Days and Takeaways
Dining out is very tempting, especially when youâ€™re a college student. Itâ€™s much easier to grab something at a restaurant, coffee shop, or store when youâ€™re on the go, but itâ€™s also more expensive. If youâ€™re depending on yourself for all your meals, try to limit how many times you dine out or buy a takeaway meal each week. You should certainly join your friends for dinner on a weekend night and have fun, but try not to get into the habit of doing it all week long. It can take a lot out of your spending money.Â Here’s some tips for affordable protein sources.
3: Keep It Simple
If youâ€™re living in your own place and eating on a budget, donâ€™t worry too much about preparing meals. It doesnâ€™t have to be complicated! There are plenty of easy options with simple ingredients that donâ€™t cost too much.
Here are a few recipes:
These are incredibly easy to make. All you need is tortillas (preferably whole grain), and any meat you prefer or stick with vegetables. Avocado slices and any kind of beans are delicious in tacos instead of meat. You can also throw in rice, shredded lettuce, jar salsa, and even a few dabs of hot sauce. Roll it up and voila!
Pasta and Tomato Sauce
Thereâ€™s nothing easier than boiling water and heating up tomato sauce. You can add in vegetables, such as broccoli or artichokes, beef, or chicken. Sprinkle dried or fresh herbs on top to make it delectable. Opt for whole grain pasta, which doesnâ€™t taste much different from white pasta but will provide you with additional vitamins and nutrients and give you longer-lasting energy.
You can keep meals in the freezer for lunch or dinner in a pinch, such as frozen pizza, mac nâ€™ cheese, or other pasta dishes. Opt for healthier brands and always check out the salt content. You can also keep frozen chicken nuggets, fish sticks, and sweet potato french fries in your freezer for easy meals.
4: Flip Through a Cookbook
When youâ€™re a student, itâ€™s a great time to learn to cook. It doesnâ€™t mean you have to cook complicated things; some of the best recipes and meals are the simplest. Take a look through your parentsâ€™ cookbooks, or buy one at a local bookstore, with simple recipes. Try making something new. It can also be fun to have some friends over for lunch or dinner and cook for them.Â There’s no need to eat too much Kraft Dinner–even if you’re a student on a budget!
This article is by Lindsay, a money-saving blogger who shares tips on everything from travel insurance comparison to credit cards. Enjoy her healthy recipes, and have a great time in college or university!