How to Eat Healthy in College on a Budget

College is hard enough as it is without having to worry about eating healthy, especially with how expensive food can be these days. Between classes, extracurriculars, and maintaining a social life, the quality of the food we eat can often take the back burner on the list of our priorities. Thankfully, there are several ways that you can eat well and maintain your health without spending a ton of cash. Here are some of my tips to successfully eat healthy on a budget as a college student!

Determine your budget

First things first, decide on a budget. Calculate your daily expenses coupled with your income for work, scholarships, etc. Once you decide on a specific number that you want to spend each week on groceries you can have a better idea of where to shop and how much to buy.

Stick to Your List  

In addition to deciding on a budget, write a list before going to the grocery store and stick with it. This helps you avoid buying unnecessary junk food and keeps you accountable to staying on budget. Think about what you’d like to eat for the upcoming week and write everything you’ll need down.

Shop for Groceries Often

It may seem counterintuitive to shop more often when trying to save money, but in the long run, you’ll end up wasting more food and spending more. I try to shop once a week and only buy what I’ll need for the next 7 days. Of course, certain snacks and condiments don’t need to be bought every day, but fresh produce can go bad pretty fast if it’s not cooked.

Meal Prep

Prepping your meals ahead of time is the key to success when trying to eat healthy. By having your meals prepped and ready to go in the morning before work or class, you save time and energy. Meal prepping also keeps you accountable because you know what you’ll be having for lunch that day and won’t be tempted to eat out or spend more money. I try to meal prep every Sunday, so I am set for the week.

Cook larger portions—Leftovers!

I always find it to be easier to cook more of something than less. Having food already cooked will make it easier to meal prep and stay on the healthy track. When I buy chicken, I usually cook the entire pack and store it in a container. I can eat some for dinner and save the rest to throw on a salad or sandwich for lunch.

Keep it Simple—Don’t Get Overwhelmed with Recipes

The key to eating a healthy diet is to keep it simple. Look up recipes that are easy to follow and look appetizing, but don’t get overwhelmed by the hardest one that Martha Stewart has to offer. Lean meat, vegetable, and rice put together is an affordable, healthy meal that almost everyone can cook.

Plan When You’re Going to Eat Out

Look ahead at your week and determine if and when you’re having a meal out with friends or family. We all deserve a meal out every now and then and by knowing when to expect it, you can budget and plan accordingly.


By sticking to your budget and planning your meals ahead, you can save time, money, and energy and still create healthy, delicious meals for yourself!