Your years at university are among the best of your life. The friends. The parties. The classes? Well, the friends and parties anyway. But for many of us, they are also quite lean years. Money is tight, and any step you can take to stretch your budget is well worth it. So does that mean you’re left with a steady diet of Super Noodles and vending machine crisps? Fortunately no! Try these tips for eating healthy with limited funds.
- Eat those legumes! All right, it’s not pizza. But a good stew, chili or rice dish made with whole beans is cheap, filling — and delicious, if you do it right. The key? Soak the beans overnight, and add your favourite seasonings. Powdered garlic, cayenne, chili and red peppers are inexpensive, but they can pack a punch. If you’ve got room in your budget, add a bit of meat for extra flavour.
- Buy frozen. Foods like vegetables and fish are flash frozen at the peak of freshness. They’re also relatively inexpensive. Buy a few packages as you can, store them and dream up some feasts. Spinach and a pan-fried filet (with those powdered seasonings), for example, is ultra-healthy and filling.
- Stock your staples. It’s tempting to just go out or order a take-away when you’re tired and stressed. If you’ve got some basics in your cupboards, though, you can resist! Beans, rice, tinned meats and peas and other essentials are great for a dinner. For that quick hunger fix: keep instant snacks and meals on hand, like nuts, in-season fruits and cheese slices.
Better yet, when you cook a meal, make enough for leftovers that’ll feed you for a few days. You can spice things up with…spices to change the flavours up.
- Count on your friends. Instead of going to a restaurant for a pricey dinner, have your mates over for a potluck. Have them bring a dish they love to make, make one of your own and supply some plates and silverware. Pop in a movie, and you’re the hero that saved everyone tons on a night out.
Eating healthy on a budget is not difficult if you have some ingenuity, imagination — and a whole lot of powdered herbs and spices!