As a college student, I am always on a budget when it comes to grocery shopping. After all, less money spent on food equals more money to spend on fun. However I also value eating healthy, which rules out subsisting on ramen noodles. As a result I have found that with a little creativity and smart shopping, it’s possible to create meals that keep both my stomach and my wallet happy. Here are a few to try:
- Make a wrap! Grill chicken and wrap it in a whole wheat tortilla with your choice of extras such as avocado, lettuce, and tomato. Or try this recipe for Fajita Ranch Chicken Wraps (pictured above), which are only $2.05 per serving. Alternatively, create a breakfast wrap by substituting scrambled eggs as the protein source.
- Oatmeal is high in fiber, which helps reduce cholesterol, protect against heart disease, and strengthen the immune system. If you’re still not convinced you should run out and buy oatmeal this second, you will be after you read more about its health benefits here. Instead of purchasing prepackaged oatmeal that is already flavored, opt for plain oats. From here the options for oatmeal additions are endless. For autumn themed oatmeal, add canned pumpkin, pecans, cinnamon, and honey.
- Make a hummus dipping platter with pita bread and raw vegetables such as snap peas, sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, or cauliflower florets. Chickpeas, the main ingredient in hummus, are rich in fiber and protein. They also contain vitamins and minerals such as folic acid, zinc, and magnesium. Trader Joes sells hummus for less then $2, or create your own using the recipe here!
- Make a tuna or egg salad. Canned tuna and hard-boiled eggs serve as an inexpensive base. This recipe for Tuscan-Style Tuna Salad is a fun twist on classic tuna salad, incorporating beans and eliminating the traditional mayonnaise. Spread on whole wheat bread or crackers.
- Instead of spending money on juice or soda, slice fresh fruit and add it to water. This is a cheap and easy way to create a flavored beverage that doesn’t contain lots of added sugar, and you can eat the fruit that’s left over! If you want to get creative, try mixing and matching fruits with various herbs and spices such as watermelon and cilantro or pineapple and ginger.
As you can now see, eating well does not always require spending a lot of money. There are so many options that are both healthy and affordable. The best way to eat healthy on a budget is with a little planning and a lot of imagination. Happy saving!
2 thoughts on “Inexpensive Meals and Ideas on a Budget”
The health benefits of oatmeal look awesome, but I only have a microwave in my room. Is instant oatmeal just as good for me, nutritionally?
Thanks George W.
Although instant oats are slightly more processed than steel-cut or rolled oats, it is still a nutritious option if you choose unsweetened varieties!