You don’t have to be wealthy to eat healthy food


Fit Facts

By Blake Glosson

Your lack of money doesn’t have to translate to a poor diet.

While healthy foods can be pricey, there are ways you can get the nutrients you need without breaking the bank.

The most obvious strategy for students who live on campus is to take advantage of the dining halls.

“It’s pretty hard to try and balance a college budget and eating healthy at the same time,” said junior accounting major Kimberly Johnson. “I’m pretty lucky because I live in [New Hall East] … they offer healthy food and it’s really up to the students whether they choose to eat it or not.”

Eating healthy in dining halls is all about finding the diamonds in the rough. Stroll past the greasy pizza and find the salad bars, grilled chicken entrees and nutritious sides, like fruits or steamed vegetables. If you have a meal plan, lack of money shouldn’t restrict you from eating healthy.

When you eat out, you can make wholesome diet modifications without increasing prices. Asking for no mayo on subs, black coffee instead of sugary coffees, grilled or baked foods rather than fried and going light on salad dressings will provide benefits without increasing costs. Requesting a cup of water instead of a soft drink will actually save you money.

If you commute and buy your own groceries, make deal-finding second nature.

“Look for coupons [and] opt for foods that [are] in season; those are definitely low-priced,” said Priyanka Chakraborty, dietitian and assistant professor of nutrition, health and wellness. “Some of the stores have [rewards cards]; if you take the card then you get some discounts on the products.”

Also, keep an eye out for sticker specials. If an item is expiring soon, stores will frequently knock down the price to ensure it sells.

Of course, you can’t have a successful budget without a planning for the future months.

“Planning is a big part” of eating healthy on a budget, Chakraborty said. “Buy your own ingredients and make food in a bulk at home … that is not a big [blow] on the pocket.”

When an item you buy regularly is on sale, capitalize on it by buying in bulk. Prepare dishes a few days in advance and store whatever you won’t be using. This way, you aren’t running back to the store every few days to purchase the same items.

One final tip: Be wise with your spending. It’s tough to afford nutritious foods if you’re spending carelessly on leisure items. If you desire to be healthy, purchasing nourishing foods should be near the top of your priority list.

You don’t have to sacrifice healthiness to save money. Take advantage of resources, jump on deals and plan your meals; a little effort goes a long way.