Having a healthy and varied diet as a college student isn’t always easy, especially when you also have a budget to keep in mind.
And we haven’t even mentioned the temptations of dining out or buying yummy food because you’ve got control over your groceries…
Being a list- aholic, I try to deal with this ‘problem’ by working out a broad meal plan for the week, so I only have to go grocery shopping once and I can keep an eye on my expenses a bit better.
My fridge is a silent witness of my list obsession: grocery lists, old grocery bills, reading lists, class schedule and even a list with blog ideas…
And most important : a letter from my sister 🙂
Usually I plan my meals around one type of dinner I’d like to have in that week and I built the rest of my meal plan up around that meal or I work with a certain ‘theme’ (f.e. zucchini and aubergine, pasta or couscous) and model my meals around that theme.
This way you probably won’t waste as much food because you can base your other meals on the ingredients you’ll have left over from this one meal and make sure you only buy extra stuff you really need, instead of buying all the ingredients for 5 different meals and ending up throwing away at least a bit of everything.
I thought it might be useful to share some of my meal plans in the next couple of weeks, so as soon as I figured out what I’d like to eat next week I’ll share this with you guys.
Some other tips to keep your budget in check:
- Schedule a day to cook together with a couple of friends: you can share the expenses and it’s fun
- Be prepared: if you know you won’t have time to make something after classes or in between classes make dinner in advance or get something that just needs some heating
- Leave taking out sandwiches or eating out for the days it’s really necessary, for example when you only have one hour between classes to grab a bite or when you don’t have time to cook because of a busy schedule
- Bring your own snacks: vending machines and little shops are very tempting, when you know you’ll be somewhere for a long time bring along some snacks just in case
- Freeze in leftovers (but this is only for people who can’t eat the same dinner for three nights in a row) : making dinner for one person, in my opinion, always implies having way to much of it to eat in one or even two sittings
- Have some staples in your cupboard, they might come in handy some time (you might want to check this post on staples too) and get creative with what you’ve got
- Learn to choose: if you’re planning on eating out opt for some cheaper dinner options for the rest of the week and visa versa