While in college, the question of how to eat healthy with limited time and money is ever-present. Perhaps you live in the Village or are about to graduate and move into your first apartment. Whatever situation you find yourself in, there is always the temptation to disregard all healthy food as expensive and seek to gorge yourself on Ramen and microwavable meals every night. Though it is true that processed foods often cost less, thanks to government subsidies, there are other options! For those facing scarce money and time, this article is your healthy-eating guide.
1. Rice & beans. This meal is a staple for most people around the world who chow down on it at least once per day. When you move into an apartment, one of your first steps should be to buy a giant bag of rice. Various varieties of 15-30 pound bags sell for roughly $1/pound. The bag will last you for months and supply meals cheaper than the value menu at fast food chains. Furthermore, beans cost less than $1 per can. Coupling beans and rice creates a complete protein which will keep you full and fueled.
2. Bananas. Everyone should strive for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. The essential nutrients from these foods are often the first to go when college kids elect for a microwave diet. Thankfully, bananas are extremely cheap at less than $1 per pound. Eating a couple bananas each day is an easy and inexpensive way to reach your five servings of fruits and veggies.
3. Potatoes. As important as fruits are, vegetables are even more important. Potatoes are a great addition to anyone’s diet as they contain more potassium than bananas in addition to plenty of iron and protein. Once again, the cost is usually less than $1 per pound. As long as you don’t overload them with butter, sour cream and bacon, potatoes are another cheap and nutritious option.
4. Oats. Oatmeal can be a great meal any time of day. Adding fruit, nuts and a little brown sugar makes a delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner. Oats only cost $1-$2 per pound and can be heated up in minutes.
5. Frozen vegetables. Various studies question whether freezing vegetables causes them to lose nutrients; however, most experts would agree that this is not the case. Therefore, rounding out any meal with a side of veggies is a cheap and simple task.
Overall, there are many ways to eat healthy despite having budgeted time and money. Get creative and try new foods while staying away from the processed food aisles. Your wallet and body will thank you!