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Health & Wellness Services Division of Student Affairs

6 tips for eating healthy on a budget

Person holding fruit

When you’re looking for food that’s cheap, fast and convenient, it can be tempting to make unhealthy choices. If you’ve ever made an effort to eat healthy while on a budget, you’ve probably felt caught in a decision between cost-effective and healthy choices.

We’ve got good news, though: it really is possible to do both! Here are six quick tips to help:

  1. Plan and make a list. Try planning at least three meals for the week and make a list of the specific ingredients you need before you hit the grocery store. Having a plan and a shopping list will help you stick to buying only what you need.
  2. Freeze leftovers. Your healthy meals will stay fresh longer in the freezer than the refrigerator, and takeout won’t be as tempting if you have healthy leftovers on hand.
  3. Check out frozen foods. Frozen fruits and veggies are often just as nutritious as fresh produce, and are also significantly cheaper.
  4. Buy generic or store brands. Generic brands typically have the exact same ingredients and are significantly cheaper than name brands.
  5. Get the most nutritious foods for your money. Some foods rich in nutrients but low in price include: peanut butter, whole wheat bread, tuna, beans, milk, yogurt, eggs, low-sugar spaghetti sauce, pasta, seasonal fruits and vegetables.
  6. Set yourself up for success. No matter how strong your willpower, keeping cookies and soda in the house makes it easy to slip up. Choosing not to buy unhealthy food in the first place will help you avoid empty calories and save money.

You can find more information about building a healthy diet from Health.gov or by signing up for a Health & Wellness Services workshop on CougSync. If you’re eating on campus, don’t forget to check out the nutrition info provided by Dining Services.