Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

HOW TO EAT HEALTHILY ON A BUDGET

It’s that time of year again! Students are returning from their holidays and Summer jobs abroad, and moving out of their family homes to embrace the student lifestyle for the next ten months. As they look ahead at the new college year, many students are filled with wonderful intentions to study more, keep their rooms cleaner and eat healthier. This is all well and good until you realise it costs €2 for a head of broccoli and the equivalent will get you a full pack of Oreos…! *facepalm

We all know of those people on Instagram who are constantly posting delicious smoothie bowls, fresh fruit platters, massive green salads, and vegan ice-cream that is to die for! But is this fruity lifestyle reserved for those living in Thailand and Hawaii?

We all know of those people on Instagram who are constantly posting delicious smoothie bowls, fresh fruit platters, massive green salads, and vegan ice-cream that is to die for! But is this fruity lifestyle reserved for those living in Thailand and Hawaii?

 

Hopefully this post will give you an insight into how you can make healthy choices without breaking the bank!

Firstly, I would encourage everybody to…

Shop Around:

This may sound obvious, but different shops stock different items at different prices and you could be missing out on some really great deals! The best known stores for cheap prices are Lidl, Aldi and Tesco. You will find, however, that your local Centra, Spar or SuperValu may sell student friendly prices on certain food items such as milk, bread, eggs and beans as they are aware of the student population living in their area. In general though, convenience stores tend to charge more. Make the effort once a week and come home with far more produce for less! It’s a win-win!

 

Only buy food that you will actually eat:

Don’t get sucked into buying food that you don’t really like just because it is on sale. Be clever and only buy foods in bulk if you eat them regularly. Buying loads of special offer veg for 49c in Lidl that you will probably never cook is a waste of valuable space in your fridge and a waste of money that could have been spent on drink (Just kidding).

 

 

Always check the Use-by dates:

Take the time to check when food is set to go off and make a mental checklist to see if you will have it consumed within that period. Out of date food will be the bane of your life if you have to constantly throw it away. Remember that most meats, vegetables and breads can be frozen and remain in perfect condition for consumption (just check on Google the correct way to store it). Shops will always stock the items with the nearest use-by date to the front of the shelf, so prepare to do some reaching and investigating before committing to buying 20 chicken breasts and 4 loaves of bread! Common sense helps too…

 

Cook meals in bulk:

I’m not saying that you need to meal prep your entire week, but cooking up one or two big pots of curry or bolognese can really encourage you to have at least one hot, home-cooked meal per day. Store them in meal-sized portions in the fridge or in the freezer and only take out what you need. Whip up some rice or pasta, add a fresh side salad and voilá you’ve got a perfectly balanced meal!

Don’t over-complicate things:

Aim to have around 3-5 components in each meal to make them both nutritious and satisfying. Your first components should contain protein and/or healthy fats to keep you going for long periods of time-eggs, meat, fish, beans or legumes are all good options here. Next, choose a carbohydrate to bulk up your meal. Foods such as wholemeal/wholegrain breads, pittas or wraps, brown rice, wholemeal pasta, potatoes or sweet potatoes are all delicious carbs and are super easy to incorporate into your meals. The final components should always be a vegetable or a group of vegetables. Try carrots, broccoli, green beans, spinach, cauliflower, peppers, onions or sweetcorn to add some colour to your meal- the more colours on your plate, the better it is for you. Vegetables are high in fibre and contain many essential vitamins and minerals. Try to include them in every meal!

Buy treats in single portion packs:

Instead of buying a tub of ice cream that you could demolish by yourself after a night out, buy a pack of Ice creams wrapped individually. Eating one will satisfy your sweet tooth without you overdoing it on the treats all in one go! Plus, you can ration so that they last a few days instead of just one, yay!

 

Buy Frozen berries:

They are a cheap alternative to fresh berries and are so versatile. A couple of seconds in the microwave and you have the perfect topper for your porridge or granola. Alternatively, blend it up with some milk or yoghurt and juice for the perfect smoothie (add ice and a banana to thicken for a smoothie bowl). It’s a great hangover cure! Need I say more?

 

I have compiled a Sample Shopping List and a Sample 5-Day Meal Plan made up of some foods that you could include in your diet (if you don’t already) to keep you in tip top shape for this semester! *Please note I would not usually buy this much food in one go, these are just suggestions :)

 

Shopping list

  1. Milk of choice- Whole, Low fat, Skimmed, Soya, Almond…etc.
  2. Oats
  3. Honey
  4. Frozen Berries
  5. Greek Style Yoghurt
  6. Muesli or Granola- No added Sugar is preferable, Chocolate ones are yumm!
  7. Bananas
  8. Apples
  9. Chicken Breasts
  10. Mince Meat
  11. Eggs
  12. Turkey Steaks
  13. Tin of Chickpeas
  14. Tinned Tomatoes
  15. Tomato Sauce
  16. Curry sauce
  17. Wraps
  18. Pitta Breads
  19. Wholegrain Bread
  20. Onions
  21. Peppers
  22. Carrots
  23. Broccoli
  24. Sweet Potato
  25. Spinach Leaves
  26. Cherry Tomatoes
  27. Cucumber
  28. Frozen Fish
  29. Frozen Peas
  30. Baby Potatoes

 

Hopefully you will all be inspired to cook your own delicious meals and experiment with some new ingredients!

 

Best of Luck,

Meave 

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Similar Reads👯‍♀️