For those times that you don’t want to eat what’s on your college meal plan, or if you have a limited or no meal plan at all, there are definitely a few ways to eat healthy without breaking your budget.
One of the best bargains around is pasta. Depending on the type, you can still find a one pound box of pasta, usually store brand, for under a dollar. Bottled sauce is usually a little more, but if you don’t mind making sauce yourself, it is less expensive in the long run to purchase the ingredients to make the sauce because you get a lot more and can freeze it for another time.
If you aren’t that into sauce, pasta is also good with vegetables. Pasta primavera, as it is often called, can be made with any vegetables you wish to use. If the fresh variety is too costly, the frozen broccoli, peas, beans or whatever you choose, works just as well.
Another good choice if you like it, is chili. For chili, the main cost is the ground beef or ground turkey. You can get the most lean or the second leanest beef for between three or four dollars a pound. Throw in some kidney beans, saute a little onion, add chili powder, serve with rice and you have delicious satisfying, healthy meal (you can have this with salad) for around five to six dollars. Chili is excellent heated over and sometimes tastes better the second time around, so you can freeze leftovers and save for another time.
Another healthy inexpensive meal is grilled chicken salad. This is very simple to make and healthy also. It can be made with any type of lettuce you choose, so you can get whatever is on sale that particular time. Top the salad with grilled chicken, croutons and black olives. To keep it healthy, use vinegar or a light, low fat dressing.
If you have access to a crock pot, or even if you don’t, soup can be a hearty, healthy, inexpensive meal. There are many variations around for vegetable soups and using frozen vegetables and a few cans of vegetable or chicken broth can make them both tasty and healthy. Fresh vegetables are good also although they may be a little more costly, but usually zucchini and carrots are reasonable in cost and can be added to frozen or used with other fresh vegetables. Like chili, you will most likely have a big enough batch of soup for a second meal, so the soup can be frozen for another time too.
If cooking isn’t your thing, cheap inexpensive meals can come from the school deli or pizza place. You can pick up a sandwich or piece of pizza and compliment them with a salad or vegetables.
So you can see that there are many options out there for inexpensive healthy meals while at college. Hopefully, these are a few helpful ideas to get you started.