Eating healthy on a budget

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If you live in an apartment or don’t have a meal plan, you may be struggling with knowing the right things to buy when you take that (somewhat) frequent trip to the grocery store. (File/The Daily Campus)

If you live in an apartment or don’t have a meal plan, you may be struggling with knowing the right things to buy when you take that (somewhat) frequent trip to the grocery store. Yes, cooking can be a bit of a hassle when you’ve got a million other things to do every day. However, there are effective ways to plan your meals, eat healthy and still save money.

One of my favorite healthy meals is the classic grilled chicken, sweet potato and greens. The key to this meal is prepping it in bulk on the weekend. In my apartment, Sunday is usually meal-prep day. We prepare a large portion of one meal and eat it throughout the week. Shopping for this specific meal is easy because you can calculate exactly how many chicken breasts, sweet potatoes and greens you’ll want to eat every day. It’s easy to portion out. For example, Price Chopper has Perdue chicken breasts for only $4.49. They’re already cooked and just need to be heated up. You can also buy individual sweet potatoes for $1.50. You figure you’ll have this meal maybe three days a week, so that’s $4.50. A bag of greens, such as kale and spinach costs $3.99. This meal is healthy, can be eaten multiple times a week and only costs $12.98.

Another one of my favorite meals to have is eggs, avocado, toast and greens. Most of the meals I prepare involve greens, because they’re good for digestion and provide you with a lot of necessary nutrients. As I said previously, one large bag of greens lasts at least a week and isn’t expensive at all. One carton of 12 eggs costs $3.59. Two eggs per meal is a good portion for a girl of my size, so that means I could have eggs six days a week if I wanted to. The price of avocados changes, but you can buy them individually to tailor how much you pay. Just figure out how many days a week you’ll want this meal, and get enough to prepare. My favorite type of bread to buy is Canyon Bakehouse Bread, Gluten Free—Honey Wheat. One loaf costs $4.99 and each slice only has 70 calories. This way, you’re incorporating healthy carbs into your meal. Factoring in the greens, this meal only costs around $17-18 dollars. This makes your weekly total $31.55.

Lastly, you’re going to want some snacks. Some snacks I like to get are Skinny Pop (two for $5), blueberries ($4.99), green grapes ($2.88), brown rice cakes ($3.99), bananas (99 cents each) and organic peanut butter ($2.99). Since your total for your meals would be around $31.00, you can add as many snacks as you like to fit into your personal budget. If you need a quick meal substitute, I’d recommend Bob’s Red Mill Oatmeal Cups ($2.00), which you can add protein powder, fruit or peanut butter to for more flavor.

These options may not suit your taste, but they definitely are healthy suggestions that won’t break the bank and can last you a fairly long time. Getting the most bang for your buck is one of the most important things to college students, so make sure to plan your shopping well and treat your body right.


Tessa Pawlik is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at tessa.pawlik@uconn.edu.

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