Healthy, Cheap Eats

If you’re in college, chances are you’re on a tight budget and you most likely hate the fact that half of your measly paycheck goes toward food. 

My food expenses this week:

  • Starbucks: $6 (4 tall coffees)
  • Penn Station:  $8  (A small veggie sub and Sun Chips)
  • Chipotle: $10  (A rice bowl with chicken, all 4 salsas and lettuce)
  • Subway: $5 (Another veggie sub…)
  • Applebee’s:  $15 (Grilled Dijon Chicken and Portobellos – check it out!)

            Total: $44

I regret compiling the list above.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t even include my grocery store bill.  :/  And let’s be honest, these aren’t the healthiest choices.

As we all know, one way to save money and eat healthier is to cook more meals at home.  I’ve recently tried this and found three recipes I really enjoyed; One for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

Breakfast
Breakfast is, as you know, your most important meal.  It jumpstarts your metabolism and gives you energy to start your day.  Breakfast should be your largest meal because you have all day to use its nutrients and burn it off.  But, sometimes it can be difficult to eat in the morning.  Some people aren’t hungry (I wish I was one of those type of people, but I wake up starving every day) and some people just don’t have the time in the morning. 

Banana-Bran Muffins are a delicious breakfast food option, and yes, muffins can actually be healthy, too.  Each muffin provides a ton of fiber and whole grains which keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time.  Preparation and bake time does take a little while — It took me about one hour total, so I’d recommend preparing these the night before.  If you’re not into baking, a simpler option is Fiber One Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins.  They come already prepared in packages of 4 and can be stored in your freezer.

  • Cost: $15-20 to make 12 muffins, $4 to buy 4 pre-made muffins
  •  Calories:  Less than 200

Lunch
During lunchtime, most students are in-between classes or at work.  So, finding time to eat can be difficult.  I found an awesome Kaboose.com recipe; turkey sandwich with sun-dried tomato pesto.  It’s a sandwich, so you can easily pack it up and take it with you.  The sun-dried tomato spread gives the sandwich a ton of flavor without a ton of calories.  Spreads such as this, humus and low-fat or light dressings are healthy ways to spice up a sandwich and add flavor. 

  • Cost:  $9 (Keep in mind; I had enough ingredients left over to make the sandwich 4 more times).
  • Calories:  About 380

Dinner
And on to my favorite meal: dinner.  By the time I finish up my classes I am starving and want to make something quick.  Plus, for those students who have evening classes, there’s literally no time to mess around.  My current favorite recipe comes from fitnessmagazine.com.  It’s Farfalle with Watercress, Cherry Tomatoes and Feta.  It might sound intimidating to create, but I promise it’s easier than you think and it’s delicious. 

  • Cost:  $11 to make about 3 servings
  • Calories: 330 per serving

Give these recipes a shot; let me know what you think.  I enjoyed each and found them easy to make.  To top it off, they are all fairly healthy.

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