A College Student’s Guide To Eating Healthy On A Budget

Let’s be real, dieting can be expensive. Not every college student has access to a kitchen to cook healthy, homemade meals. Well friends, I’m here to tell you that there are, in fact, ways to eat healthy while living off of your crappy meal plans in your shoebox-like dorm room on the cheap! The only catch is you have to commit. Diets don’t *magically* make you lose weight. You will find that exercising while dieting works the best. No matter what you do, make sure that you’re taking care of yourself while dieting!

Eat one vegetable a day.

Whether you’re eating a salad at the dining hall, or eating carrot sticks from your mini fridge, starting out with one vegetable a day can help you get the nutrients you need. There’s nothing more satisfying than eating something fresh! You don’t even have to rule out microwave vegetables!

They’re still the same nutritious, tasty, vegetables, just steamed. Not to mention, store-brand bags can range from $1.00 to $2.50, depending on where you go. I understand that a lot of people don’t necessarily enjoy eating their greens, but trust me, there IS at least one vegetable you can snack on that will actually taste good to you. I thoroughly enjoy sliced cucumbers, with grape tomatoes, and a bit of onion, dressed in a teaspoon of white vinegar with salt and black pepper. Try it!

Rice and black beans are bae.

While you’re at the freezer section picking out your frozen veggies, take a gander at what your store offers as far as microwave rice goes. Not every store has frozen microwave rice, but if you go to the soup aisle, you’ll find many bags (or microwave cups) of Uncle Ben’s 90 second rice. I personally choose flavored rice, but you should always check the calorie count.

My general rule is to let 200 calories be the absolute maximum for rice. While you’re there, you can pick up a can of black beans! They can be put in a Tupperware and microwaved for about a minute and thirty seconds (separately from your rice). Now you’re eating a protein and a carb, along with your vegetable you had earlier (or are pairing with your rice and beans). If you’re eating in the dining hall, try to follow the same structure: a bit of carbs, a bit of protein, and a lot of vegetables.

What about breakfast?

I’M SO GLAD YOU ASKED! Breakfast is the best meal of the day. My favorite go-to breakfast is instant oatmeal (the organic kind, it’s lower in calories). It is delicious, quick, and affordable! For $3.00, you can get a small box. If you’re at the dining hall, try to stick to oatmeal, but if there is none, you can always have eggs! My college had omelettes every Sunday, so I often went for an omelette with bell pepper and a bit of cheese. Try to stay away from cereal, unless it’s low in sugar like Cheerios.

While dieting can feel stressful, it can actually be quite easy if you find lower calorie, low-fat, and low sugar foods that you actually enjoy! I base my eating off of a 1200 calorie-a-day diet. Please note that everybody is different, and need different calorie counts. If you download any fitness & dieting app, it will calculate how many calories you should intake daily, following with how much sugar, fat, sodium, etc, you should have daily as well. Make sure you’re looking at the nutrition facts as well as the prices, and honestly, don’t be afraid to ask how many calories are in your meal at the dining hall. You don’t know if you never ask! Learn more about a healthy life style at blog.factor75.com

Featured Image via Sweetgreen

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