Eat Cheap AND Healthy?

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[This was my entry blog for Young & Free Alabama spokester. I didn’t get the job, so this blog is mine now! Haha.]

You’re so vain, you probably think this blog is about you.

Well, actually, you’d be right. Everyone who lives and breathes and pays taxes (trust me, you pay taxes) can find these tips useful. But it is especially applicable to cash-strapped college students who are also trying to eat healthy, kind of like myself.

You’ve heard the term “Freshman 15” before, and for good reason. That’s when a Freshman in college gains 15 pounds under various circumstances. You’ve also heard the term “Starving College Kid” as well. While I highly doubt that many of our nation’s college students are holed up in a dorm wondering where their next meal is going to come from, changing the phrase to “Strapped For Cash College Kid” is probably very accurate to the majority of university dwellers.

One of the main reasons for Freshman 15 is, honestly, money. You see, it’s a whole lot cheaper to buy a 390 calorie double cheeseburger from the burger joint for a dollar than a 200 calorie bowl of soup at the “healthy place” for $3.95. Add that to the fact that many college campuses have next to zero healthy options, and you could see why college students might have some problems.

To the college students and everyone out there watching the waistline. If you don’t have a lot of money, but still want to eat healthy, you do have options.

Ditch the Colas. Opt for Sparkling (Flavored) Water Instead.

Many of us are addicted to cola. Many of us are not, and simply love the sensation of drinking soda. You can still do that for very cheap. You can get a 1 liter flavored water for as low as 68 cents and a 2 liter for less than a dollar. The best part? They are zero calories.

Half Your Portions

When you go to the cafeteria, beg them for an identical container. Then, take those ginormous portion sizes they give you and split everything in half. Run the other container up to your dorm’s refrigerator. Boom, two meals for the price of one. And you won’t get fat. That’s always nice.

Buy Groceries for Once!

I can get by on less than $40 of groceries a week if I do it right. I’m 6 feet 7 inches and weigh 250 pounds. Don’t tell you can’t afford to go grocery shopping. Cooking is always healthier and cheaper than eating out. Buy frozen or canned veggies, a limited amount of meats and fruits, and buy in bulk for non-perishables like nuts. Maybe even (gasp) ramen noodles. And learn to cook. If your dorm doesn’t have a stove, invest in a toaster oven (or borrow your mom’s).

Also, be sure to count your calories. A little logistics goes a long way. Consider these tips, and you’re well on your way to living with a tightened belt in every sense of the word.

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Matthew Estes

Matthew Estes currently exists in the ether between graudate student and full-time worker. One day he hopes to be a full-time novelist and blogger, but until that day comes he spends his time playing video games, eating pizza, and being with his soon-to-be wife. However, he has yet to do all three at the same time. Bucket list stuff, you know.