How To Eat Healthier and Save Money In Five Steps! A Quick Guide For College Students!
In general, eating healthy is a common goal that most individuals have, especially for college students. Given that most students are pressed for time and may not afford “healthier options” provided on campus, students sometimes turn to food available in vending machines or visit fast-food chains. This is mainly because this type of food is easy to access, fast, and convenient to the typical busy college student. Students become tired of eating the same meals over time and realize that the food offered does not adequately complement their productivity since easy foods lack vital nutrients needed to fuel their day. Additionally, according to research, students can learn better when they’re well-nourished, and eating nutritious meals has been related to higher grades, improved memory and attentiveness, and faster information processing.
Before we dive into how students can set goals to eat healthier, we must recognize that most college students are not working and must budget their expenses. One of the main barriers to individuals wanting to eat healthier is affordability. Setting this goal is easy, but many find it hard to find inexpensive options that consistently meet this goal. Considering that I was in an identical situation a few years ago when I transferred to CSUSM, eating healthy and excelling in my classes was insanely important. I can imagine it is as well to the person reading this how-to tutorial. To give a brief background, I wanted to eat healthier because, at the time, I just started with a personal coach and adopted a weight training regime. My goal was to put on lean muscle mass, which required a visit to the gym five times a week and supplement these goals with the proper nutritional intake. With this being said, I devised three easy steps that enabled me to eat healthier, afford to do so weekly, and still have time for my 17+ unit course load.
Now, let’s dive into these steps.
Step 1: Take one day out of the week to plan out your grocery list. I visited websites such as Pinterest and Instagram to gain inspiration for my meals for the week. With one search of “easy meal ideas,” you can unlock A LOT of ideas to get started with! I like to plan for four meal ideas: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack.
Step 2: Research where you are going to grocery shop. I love using the app “Basket”. Basket is an app that is dedicated to helping individuals save money on groceries. By using this app, I could browse which one of my local stores had great deals for the week and plan to visit that specific store for my groceries for the week.
Step 3: Set a weekly budget for yourself. The great thing with Basket is that you can see the in-store prices and gauge a rough estimate of the amount of money you will be spending for the week. My weekly spending is about $55.
Step 4: Buy in bulk, do not buy organic (it is unnecessary), and purchase foods you know you will eat. I love to visit the bulk bins at the store as I can always get products such as rice and oatmeal for cheaper than it is sold in a container.
Step 5: Take 2 hours out of one day to meal prep. Over time, meal prepping will become faster, effortless, and maybe fun! By allotting time to meal prep, you will stay consistent with your efforts and stick to your goals.
Bonus Step: Switch up your meals, purchase bulk items on Amazon, and adjust your budget if needed, as the goal here is to save money while eating healthy. The secret to staying consistent is to have fun and not give up. If you find yourself tired of eating the same foods, redo step number one!
All in all, eating healthy in college is feasible! With proper planning and implementation, one can achieve this goal and excel exponentially. In no time, anyone can become an expert and be well on their way to inspiring others to take on this same goal!
Here is one of my FAVORITE meals to meal prep for the week: Banana Bread Baked Oats!
Find the recipe on Instagram @helloholloway