Eating Well On the Cheap

So how does a nutrition student go about her meals each week?

Hi everyone! I hope you had a wonderful Easter (if you celebrate it)!

I’ll be the first to admit I am not a fabulous cook with super-awesome skills in the kitchen. In fact, my skills are pretty limited though they’re starting to expand just a little, tiny bit thanks to Food Science.

As a student my budget’s tight, which I’m sure many of you can relate to. So how do I make it work? I know what’s good for my body, but how do I balance that with little money to spend? Well I’m here to tell you that keeping meals low-budget doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing quality and nutrients.

What are my top tips to keeping healthy eating affordable?

1. Sign up for your grocery store’s loyalty card. I go to PriceChopper and their AdvantEdge card is awesome. Not only do I get the deals at the store, but they also give me discounts on gas. Who can say no to having these necessities covered?

2. Shop the sales and check out the weekly flyers. I try to structure my grocery shopping around what’s on sale for the week. It’s a great way to keep costs down and take advantage of cheaper prices.

3. Couponing! Its not just for people on those TLC shows, trust me. You can find them in the Sunday paper, online (Coupons.com is great), even on your grocery store’s website. Take advantage of it because coupons can really help cutting costs.

4. Buy local and buy in season. This just means the produce doesn’t have to travel far, which jacks up the prices. You can do this at your grocery store, or even better: at farmer’s markets. I typically go during the summer, but some markets are open all year long. Poke around and see what markets are in your area (the USDA has a great site where you can locate farmers markets in your area). It’s a great way to get quality produce at cheaper prices, plus you’re helping out your local farmers!

5. Make a list and don’t deviate from that list (ok, well maybe don’t deviate too much). This goes along with shopping the sales. I’ve mentioned I’ll structure my shopping around what’s on sale. It’s been shown that those who plan ahead, make their lists, and don’t deviate from them much are more likely to spend less on groceries than those who don’t. It also reduces both food waste and money waste since you’re buying specific things for specific meals and snacks you plan on eating.

While I’m certainly not the ultimate shopper at the grocery store, I’ve found little ways that help cut costs but don’t sacrifice good nutrition. I know that healthy eating gets a bad rap for being expensive, but this is not true! Can you make it expensive? Absolutely. But just know that you don’t have to buy organic everything for it to be healthy. You don’t need to get fancy with your nutritious meals. Good nutrition can be cultivated out of simple, clean ingredients that you can buy for a decent price if you look hard enough.

Question of the week: what are your best grocery store hunting tips?

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