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Healthy eating should not give your wallet a beating

Courtesy of The OCD Diaries

Shayna Vigliotta

Connector Contributor

College students have become accustomed to all-nighters and the art of procrastination. Our bodies put up a fight daily to keep us going, and how do we repay them? With a bowl of ramen?

A majority of college students effectively suffer from malnutrition mainly because they can not afford the cost of healthy foods. Many of these students believe that eating cheap means being unhealthy, but that does not have to be the case. Here are some tips for eating healthy on a budget:

1. Create the actual budget:

We all aim to shop inexpensively, but do we really set ourselves a limit of how much we can spend? To shop on a budget, we have to actually have a budget. We need to choose a price range that is suitable for us and stick to it, experts say. “I like to keep a rough total running in my head so I’m not shocked at the register,” said Joel Mariani, a supervisor at Whole Foods. “Pay attention to prices while you shop.”

2. Shop smart:

All grocery stores offer the opportunity for consumers to save money–ask for a sales flyer or coupons. Evan Cotreau, a nutrition major at UMass Lowell, scans the Internet before heading to the store. “I look online for coupons so I can plan and revolve my shop around the deals,” Cotreau said.

3. Buy in bulk:

When consumers choose to buy in bulk, they are no longer paying the cost per unit of a purchase. With this freedom, customers are able to buy product quantity based on their own personal needs or wants. Cotreau suggested this method on certain items. “Rice, beans, oats, nuts and basically any of the grains will usually be a lot cheaper,” Cotreau said.

4. Take advantage of what is already in your fridge:

Many young adults are guilty of opening the fridge and quickly making the assumption that there is “nothing to eat.” Change that mentality and make it work with what you have. Websites such as lets students plug in what they already have in their fridges and generates recipes for them. “I try remembering what my mom buys for the house and go off that,” said Gabe DeMoura, a full-time college student.

5. Make it from scratch:

If students end up spending too much at the checkout, experts say they should rethink what they really need and start cutting the items that they consider convenient to buy rather than to make. Cooking is always cheaper than convenient pre-made food; it just requires a little more effort. “Make your own dressings, sauces, hummus, salsa,” Mariani said. “Learn to cook all the student [food] that they charge way too much for. Plus, it’s fun!” You will enjoy that $2 pineapple equally the same as you would for the $6.55 diced pieces.

6. Leftovers:

Leave no leftovers behind. Consumers save money by reaching for what is right in the corner of the fridge in that Tupperware. “Leftovers become crucial because there’s another meal you don’t have to cook for,” DeMoura says.

7. Different deals, different stores:

Compare prices with other grocers. “I’ve gone to three stores in one shopping trip before,” said Mariani. Cotreau says one needs to go to the Internet as well. “Look online for coupons, check the sales flyer, and plan your meals around that,” he said.

8. Buy store brands:

The media has us to believe that Quaker Oats are the only oats we should buy. However, the Market Basket brand serves the same purpose but for a cheaper price. In other words, think generic! “Store brand products are not only cheaper, but the same quality as conventional brands,” said DeMoura.

We are what we eat!

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