Even if you don’t have much money to spend on your groceries while you’re in college, fear not. You can still cook tasty and nutritious meals by following these tips and tricks for eating well on a budget:
Cut Down on Your Shopping Time
The more time you spend at the grocery store, the more likely are you to spend even more. Keep you trips to 30 minutes or less to help you stay in your budget.
Head to the grocery store once or twice a month to stock up on staples like eggs, milk and bread. Rachael Ray Magazine cites a study that says unplanned trips increase impulse buys by 23 percent, and planned trips to the grocery store decrease impulse buys by 13 percent. It’s OK to go more frequently if you need perishable items, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, but be sure to buy those in smaller quantities so you don’t end up throwing them out.
If you frequently use olive oil, nuts, pasta and canned beans in your meals, stock up on those items when they go on sale. There’s no need to pay full price because these items don’t go bad quickly. Watch flyers and other ads to know when to head to the store when prices drop.
Stick to Frozen Items
Since the majority of waste from grocery shopping is from fresh produce, stick to frozen fruits and veggies that will last longer and not need to be thrown out.
Make Potatoes Your Friends
One of the cheapest ways to save on food? Buying potatoes. Plus, you can do a lot with them. Bake them. Mash them. Make hashbrowns. They are one of the most versatile foods around.
Choose Your Meat Wisely
It may be tempting to buy a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from the store, but buying a whole chicken is cheaper. Sure, it will take you more time to prepare everything, but you’ll get some great meals out of the whole chicken. Use the breast in a sandwich, wings as a snack and other parts in a soup.
If you’re looking for another healthy protein, fish is a good option. Like many other items, you should buy fish frozen to get the best deals. Swing by the fish counter to ask for discounted cuts, too.
Another food that’s easy on your wallet and heavy on taste is ground beef. If you’re worried about the calories, buy a leaner cut. With this meat, you can make a variety of healthy and inexpensive meals, such as a taco salad and pasta with meat sauce.
Find Simple Recipes
Even though you’re strapped for cash and time, you can still whip up delicious meals. There are plenty of simple and easy recipes out there that even beginner cooks can make. Start with something familiar, such as lasagna, so you know you’re following the recipe correctly. In less than two hours, you’ll have a piping hot pan of protein-packed lasagna that tastes and smells great. Best of all? This will give you enough food to enjoy for days.