Two quick tips for eating healthier within budget


If your last meal was nestled in a greasy fast food wrapper instead of sitting on a plate, it might be time to think about making some changes. Obesity is on the rise, and while many people express a desire to lose weight, rising food prices often make shopping for healthier food options a financial challenge.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are a lot of little things we can do to eat healthy, save money and keep pace with our hectic schedules.

Your new best friend is the big box of sandwich bags
Hundred calorie snack packs are awesome. They are portable, convenient and they keep you from overeating. The problem with them is, of course, the price tag. They are often far more costly per ounce than buying a big box of the same snack.

The solution is to make your own snack packs. Yeah, this requires a little effort on your part, but if you do it right away after shopping, it integrates nicely into the effort of putting the groceries away. You also have the benefit of being able to customize your own snacks. You like trail mix but hate raisins? No problem. Don’t include them.

I also use sandwich bags to make planning meals easier. In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s really hard to shop for one person. A lot of groceries are designed for a family of four. Meat is a big culprit there.

To save time and money, I buy the big family pack of chicken legs, open it immediately when I get home and stick each one into its own sandwich bag. I squeeze as much air out as possible and throw them into the freezer. When I want chick, I just take one out of the freezer each night before I go to bed and put it in the bottom of the fridge. It’s thawed out in time for lunch or dinner the next day. This works for vegetables, fruit, and just about anything you can buy in bulk.

Using water filters and reusing plastic bottles
Bottled water is expensive, but it is sometimes more convenient than using a water filter at home. Depending on how you feel about stuff like chlorine in your water, it is arguably healthier, too.

I have been trying to drink more water for my health, but one of the issues I have, especially when the weather is warmer, is that water I bring from home gets uncomfortably warm in my aluminum bottle. I don’t know about you, but I find warm water kind of nasty; sometimes I would rather just spend the money to get a cold, fresh bottle.

So what’s a good way to save money and keep cold water convenient? That’s easy: go ahead and buy some plastic bottles and throw them in the freezer. Take it with you the next day and enjoy cold water over time while it thaws. Then, take the bottle home, refill it with water from your filter, or just regular tap water if you don’t particularly care, and freeze it again.

Being a busy college student with a tight budget doesn’t make eating healthy any easier. Eating on the run, studying late, working part time and going to school full time are frequent and legitimate excuses many of us have when we shrug and hit the drive-through. However, these simple and easy steps are a sure way to get started on the road to healthy living.