College Diet

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HoseKing

Joined: Jan 10
Posts: 2

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Posted: 04 Jan 2010, 09:47
I am a college student on a very low income and I find it hard to eat "healthy". Mac and cheese and other foods are so cheap and easy to make compared to healthy meals. To top it off, I live in a small rural town with very few choices for healthy food. I do not always get time for breakfast or lunch because of classes or work (8am to 4pm with very few breaks)

What are good meals on a low budget and limited culinary skills?

What are good snacks or fast meals on a low budget for between classes?
evansj10

Joined: Nov 09
Posts: 4

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Posted: 04 Jan 2010, 12:20
I would *really* suggest learning some culinary skills. Personally, "Good Eats" (a cooking show) has been amazing for my cooking skills (episodes can be found on youtube)

I typically spend 30-45 minutes cooking my food for the next day and then I bag those up in a ziplock and stick it in the fridge.

Lots of meat, chicken, hamburgers, ham (I buy Cure 81 precooked ham, its about $2.50 a pound here, I eat it with 3 eggs almost every morning). Eggs are *really* cheap.

Invest in a scale (they're about $20 at walmart) it'll help you alot.

I'm also a college student and I lost about 40 lbs earlier in 2009, it can be done on a tight budget, you've just gotta make sacrifices, be dedicated and have some discipline.
evansj10

Joined: Nov 09
Posts: 4

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Posted: 04 Jan 2010, 12:21
To be more specific, invest in a *food* scale, not a weight scale.
teamattala

Joined: Jan 10
Posts: 1

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Posted: 04 Jan 2010, 12:30
There are many heathly options that are not expensive that I ate in college. Veggie Burritos - Whole Wheat tortillas with black beans, jack cheese, salsa and brown rice. Tuna fish - very cheap and instead of using mayonaise put cottage cheese in a blender and mix in with pickles, celery, etc
katballew

Joined: Dec 09
Posts: 308

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Posted: 04 Jan 2010, 14:27
Lots of quick, easy, cheap ideas (prices are estimated for where I live):
eggs (high in protein, about 70 calories for large egg) approx. $1.29 dozen

cheese sticks (string cheese, about 80 calories each, good protein) approx. $2.50 pkg of 12

Light Yogurt (about 80-100 calories for fat-free varieties, up to 200 calories per cup for low fat varieties, good dairy and protein) as low as $ .40 per cup for store brands.

When buying bread, look to see if the store brand offers a light or whole-grain variety that's cheaper than name brand.

Bananas and apples are usually pretty inexpensive, as are cucumbers, celery, whole carrots. Just wash them yourself and eat the whole carrot or celery stick, no need to pay extra for baby carrots or pre-sliced celery sticks.

Look for sales on Weight Watchers Smart Ones, Healthy Choice and Lean Cuisine dinners also. Sometimes the store will have them on sale for as low as $1.50 or $2.00 per meal. Pair one of those with an apple and a yogurt and you have a fast easy lunch or dinner for about $3.00

Campbells Soup-at-hands are about $1.00 each and usually < 100 calories. Not real filling but itself, but sometimes hits the spot on a cold day.

Tuna packed in water can be had for about $ .50 per can if you buy the store brand, add a can to some chopped lettuce (at only $1.00 a head), with a sliced cucumber (for $ .99), shredded carrot and chopped celery (to use up what you already bought for snacking), a hard boiled egg (from the dozen you bought), and you have a protein packed, hearty salad for about $3.00 or so. Just add low-fat, reduced calorie dressing (which you might be able to swipe in individual serving packets from your campus dining hall!).

You can also cut up hard boiled eggs, add a little low fat mayo and a dab of mustard with salt & pepper to make a simple egg salad for sandwiches or whatever.

Store brand microwavable light popcorn is always a decent choice too. High in fiber and you can have a pretty big portion.

A jar of reduced fat peanut butter would only run about $2.00 and you'll get many many servings out of that. Good as a topper on celery sticks, or for Peanut Butter Toast which paired with a banana makes a great quick breakfast.

Speaking of breakfast, cereal can be bought on sale, or store brand, for not a whole lot of money, maybe $1.50-$3.00 per box. Look for lower sugar, higher fiber choices (not lucky charms!). A bowl of cereal with skim milk and a banana makes a fine breakfast, or even late night snack. Just make sure with cereal, peanut butter, etc. that you actually MEASURE your portion sizes. Eyeballing will also lead you to eat too much. I have found decent sets of measuring cups and measuring spoons at my local dollar store for cheap. And that's another thing, check out discount stores for non-perishable grocery items!
I hope this gives you more ideas and helps you out! good luck!!
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HoseKing

Joined: Jan 10
Posts: 2

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Posted: 05 Jan 2010, 08:43
Thanks for the suggestions. I found that its actually cheaper to drive 45 minutes to the nearest large town with a walmart and shop there, gas included!!! I knew our local small town grocery store was expensive but WOW.

I took your advise and stocked up on some eggs and whole wheat tortillas, and some light cheese to make some breakfast burritos.

Thanks again guys!!
cake13

Joined: Oct 09
Posts: 19

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Posted: 05 Jan 2010, 09:52
Hi! I live in a small town with insane prices too. I drive and get eggs, stock up on canned beans and whole wheat pasta, and buy fruits and veggies with a long 'frige life. I like radishes, apples, carrots and buy a bunch to last a week. Try not buying any flour product that isn't whole wheat-- it fills you up more! good luck!
“Love yourself first and everything falls into line.”
Lucille Ball
seigan

Joined: Jan 10
Posts: 11

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Posted: 05 Jan 2010, 12:52
To make sure my veggies last without worrying about waste I buy frozen. I used to work in frozen veg processing. They do it quickly, very fresh. Buy WW flour & bake it yourself. Ask if anyone has a pasta maker on Craig's list they'd like to sell cheap. I get paid q 4wks so I do a big shopping then. I also work @ home, long h's & need to prepare fast meals & go back to work.
djmikalobe

Joined: Jan 10
Posts: 15

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Posted: 07 Jan 2010, 15:26
Busy grad student here. If you aren't too concerned about your sodium intake, I suggest Campbell's Chunky Soup, but get the 'Healthy Request' ones. They have lower sodium than the regular ones. A whole can is usually under 300 calories and is decently filling.

I also get chicken breasts. Usually raw, frozen ones are the cheapest around my town. The Purdue ones come in a blue box of 10 or so, individually wrapped. Just throw 2 individually wrapped ones in a pot of water for 30 min to thaw, then unwrap and throw some on the George Foreman grill or on a non-stick pan (use non-stick spray if you want). Season with whatever spices you want. Makes for a filling and healthy dinner. 2 Chicken breasts are only 350 calories or so.

After working out, especially after weight-training sessions, I eat a can of tuna or two. 100 cals per can.

I eat lots of apples. Chewing gum and drinking lots of water helps stave off some of the hunger.
lanadefemme

Joined: Apr 09
Posts: 11

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Posted: 07 Jan 2010, 18:09
Get yourself a George Foreman, rice cooker/steamer and a crockpot. Between those 3 you'll be able to make whole grains, steamed veggies, healthy soups and grilled proteins like salmon, chicken and steak.
Nothing Tastes As Good As Fit Feels.
Divided By...

Joined: Aug 08
Posts: 817

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Posted: 07 Jan 2010, 18:38
Brown rice and dried beans are probably the cheapest health foods you'll find, but they take time to prepare. If you have a crock-pot/slow cooker it will make your life a lot easier though.

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SeeGirlRun

Joined: Dec 09
Posts: 55

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Posted: 07 Jan 2010, 20:20
To add to Divided, brown rice, beans, water or broth, a chicken breast, frozen veggies of choice, some taco or Italian seasoning... Soups and stews are filling, freezable, healthy and easy.

Takes effort to eat healthy but you can still stretch your dollar.
If you want help with east recipes, just ask...

Laura
PeeFat

Joined: Jan 10
Posts: 521

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Posted: 25 Jan 2010, 13:58
Just looked at your diet menu. 8 to 12 cans of beer a day, margaritas for lunch plus lots of sugar carbs and hardly any vegtables at all is going to kill you. Sorry to sound like a meany, but your mom should give you a kick in the pants, and you should give your mom a kick in the pants for never teaching you how to cook. For some reason many mothers think their boys need to play sports and just do guy things. Thats fine if you want your son to be dependant on a wife thats basically a second mother your married to.

Most of my male friends I grew up with got married to have someone cook for them because they were never taught how. My mother taught me when I was old enough to use the stove. I can cook gourmet meals for 12 of more on my own with no help at this stage in my life.

There was 5 kids in my family. All of us were taught to cook by dear old mom. We all cooked supper one night of the week to give mom a break. If your a mom, and have a son, please don't hinder your sons independance by making him look for a wife to be his mother.

I'm done with my little rant
Empriess

Joined: Feb 10
Posts: 54

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Posted: 08 Feb 2010, 11:02
I'm working part time and going to school too so I know what you mean about having a tight budget for food.

The cheapest meal you can make is spaghetti; a box of whole wheat spaghetti noodles is about $2, a jar of spaghetti sauce is about $1.50, and 1 lb of ground turkey is about $1.50. So basically you've spent $5 on items that will prepare 3-4 meals. If you want a little something more with your spaghetti, you can make a nice salad for $3-$5 more depending on what you put into it which also will last for approximately 3-4 meals. Then buy some eggs and oranges for a quick cheap breakfast and you're good to go. Smile
BigB985

Joined: Feb 10
Posts: 7

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Posted: 09 Feb 2010, 16:30
If you are trying to gain muscle the cheapest meals for you that would help your weight fly off would be tuna sandwiches(minus the mayo or use fat free mayo) on whole wheat bread. I cut my weight from 192 down to 173 using these and protein shakes and veggies as the staples of my diet. I have since gone off this diet and put on about 12 lbs. Works great though.
pureheiress

Joined: Jan 10
Posts: 41

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Posted: 18 Mar 2010, 06:32
Cook soups. Throw everything in a crockpot. Meat, beans veges. You can buy whatever is cheap and you're set to go. Leave it on till you come home you need practically no cooking skills what so ever. And buy a rice cooker then you can have rice as well. Freeze the excess and take it it with you for lunch.
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nisuoc

Joined: Jan 10
Posts: 60

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Posted: 18 Mar 2010, 10:47
djmikalobe wrote:
Busy grad student here. If you aren't too concerned about your sodium intake, I suggest Campbell's Chunky Soup, but get the 'Healthy Request' ones. They have lower sodium than the regular ones. A whole can is usually under 300 calories and is decently filling.

I also get chicken breasts. Usually raw, frozen ones are the cheapest around my town. The Purdue ones come in a blue box of 10 or so, individually wrapped. Just throw 2 individually wrapped ones in a pot of water for 30 min to thaw, then unwrap and throw some on the George Foreman grill or on a non-stick pan (use non-stick spray if you want). Season with whatever spices you want. Makes for a filling and healthy dinner. 2 Chicken breasts are only 350 calories.


No need to thaw, Just place in the pan frozen with spices and a lid. Use it all the time
I have never been able to run much. I want to run a marathon.
nisuoc

Joined: Jan 10
Posts: 60

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Posted: 18 Mar 2010, 11:03
Really any individually frozen meat is good. Fish and chicken are what I get a lot. Look for what fish is on sale. The fish is really quick to thaw and the chicken can been cooked frozen. If you can try a Costco or someplace like that. It can me more money up front but you can really save in the long run. We also get pork loins there and cut them up at home. If you look on line you can find out how and they are a lot cheaper.
I have never been able to run much. I want to run a marathon.




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