College can be a lot of fun. It can also be very stressful and expensive. Eating healthy is super important for keeping your mind sharp and your energy high for all that vigorous studying, thinking and writing that must be done in order to succeed. It’s all too easy to grab not-so-healthy fast food when you’re a busy student on the go, which can have a negative impact on your mood, energy, brain power and overall health. The good news is, with a little planning ahead, you can set yourself up to eat healthy all semester without blowing your entire college fund. Try these tips for college meal prep on a budget.
Weekly meal prep isn’t just for bodybuilders and health aficionados — it’s also beneficial for the busy student! Setting aside a couple hours on a Sunday night to get your meals ready for the week makes it easy for you to throw together healthy breakfasts, lunches and dinners for days. It’s as easy as thinking of a few recipes you can make in big batches, then portioning them and storing them for later, which brings us to our second tip…
Strategize your storage
Make sure you have a good set of glass or non-BPA plastic containers to store all the delicious food you’re going to make. Make a big batch of veggie chili and freeze individual portions for later. Chop up fresh veggies and store them in containers in the fridge for no-brainer salad construction at the drop of a hat. Make a big batch of rice or quinoa for those salads while you’re at it! You can even make your own dressings and sauces and store them for later too.
Focus on plants
We all know that high quality animal proteins can be expensive. But did you know that you can get all the protein you need from the right combination of plant-based foods? Beans and rice are a popular combo for a reason, and all vegetables contain protein. Buy lots of fresh veggies, fruit and grains and you’ll fill up on fiber, protein and lots of other essential nutrients without having to spend a fortune.
Think fresh and local
Related to the last point — buying fresh, local produce that’s in season is usually much more friendly on your wallet than buying exotic imports. And if you have the chance…
A local berry grower has a big blueberry sale every summer, and lots of people take advantage of the discounted price for a giant haul of berries. Blueberries can get expensive at other times of the year, so when you see a deal like this, snatch it up! Shopping at bulk stores is often much more affordable, too, especially for things like grains, pasta, nuts and more. If you don’t want to spend a ton of money, you can go in on bulk purchases with friends. Have a Costco membership or know someone who does? Even better! This goes for things like meat too…which brings us to our next point:
Get friendly with your freezer
Separate bulk purchases into portions and freeze them for later use. This works for fresh produce, meat and even grains.
Grab some ready-to-eat options
If you’re not much of a cook, or you just want to have some quick, healthy and tasty options available at all times, you can stock up on ready-made items like instant oatmeal packets for breakfast, granola bars for snacks on the go, and Luvo’s healthy frozen meals for lunch and dinner! If they’re not available at your local grocery store, you can buy them online here: shop.luvoinc.com.
What’s your secret to eating healthy at school? Let us know in the comments section below and be sure to download Luvo’s 7-day meal and fitness plan for more nutrition tips and recipes.