Tips for eating healthy on a budget

Last week, you decided that you were going to live a little bit more luxuriously than most weeks and you ended up spending a large portion of your paycheck.

You open up your cabinet doors and find a whole lot of empty space requiring the need for an abundant amount of the only thing that you need to survive: food. It has been a solid two weeks since you even set foot in your local grocery store or supermarket, but at the same time you only happen to have around $100 to spend on groceries until your next biweekly paycheck. Your brain suddenly switches from spending mode to savvy mode in a matter of seconds. 

These are just a few initial thoughts to have in order to make that dollar go a little further, without feeling like a completely broke college student. Students in the surrounding area of Sonoma State University, consider the local Grocery Outlet and Foodmaxx when shopping for your everyday groceries. 

Grab your handy-dandy 4G tablet or any other smart device you have and jot down the top 10 must have items that you plan to see in your shopping cart at the end of check out.  Keep in mind, you may already have a general idea of the price-per-product while making your list.  Then write down all of your other groceries in order of importance to you. You’ll be surprised how many items have a huge lack of importance to a well budgeted, nutritious diet. Just in case you’re curious this list of grocery essentials should last you about two weeks long.

Coffee, an essential one might need to wake up every morning, generally ends up being the most expensive item and is often seen as an absolute necessity among college students. If you’re willing to spend just under $13.99 for the largest bag of coffee beans, you are reducing your cost basis per serving making your purchase an absolute investment. 

The two percent milk is about $3.98, giving you a well-balanced need of calcium and additive for that coffee. Eggs at $1.99 per dozen, can be used in interchangeable ways especially in their many ways of preparation. Plus, if you aren’t aware, eggs can also provide for a great source of well-needed protein throughout your day.

Adding a generous amount of seasonal organic fruits and vegetables commonly comes out to be within a $40 limit. This usually creates a larger variety of ways to consume your food while encouraging a well-rounded college diet. 

For the best quality, most nutritional valued bread, I wouldn’t spend any more than $4.99. This is a perfect time to search for those 100% whole wheat products and keeping an eye on the ingredients label. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient chances are it’s not worth consuming nutritiously.  

The second most used carbohydrate amongst students is the noodle. Think larger quantities in your preferred variety of dry pasta. At just $1.49 a box, you can get the best source of fiber with the non-bleached flour brands. Most of the time pasta can be found on sale for buy two get one or on sale for something similar. Let’s say you buy six boxes (knowing that pasta lasts the longest of your products) it should only cost you about $5 

Now whether you’re living a healthy vegan, vegetarian or a general meatatarian lifestyle, you probably want some hardy meat or meatless substitutes to give you the most compatible meals. I personally lean closer to a high nutritional vegetarian diet with the occasional adding of non-hormone pumped, lean chicken.

You have about $10 to $15 left in your budget (not including tax), to use towards those meat or soy products. You can also attribute to your shopping cart whatever items you feel are missing. 

You’ll eventually make it home with a generous amount of product with the addition of some cheese, butter, and protein bars, bringing you to a tax included, budgeted amount of approximately $100.  

As a college student myself, I would encourage you to start enjoying yourselves by not over indulging or under nourishing your body. After growing familiar with the ultimate ways to provide for food on a budget and spending on a habit, I exercise this very implementation all the time. 

I had to learn the difference between what I  wanted and what I really needed, in order to live a comfortable and affordable college lifestyle. 

I’m sure a list would benefit you, try it sometime and you might just might be able to undo your unnecessary spending habits.