Easy Ways to Save Money on Food
in College

If you are currently a college student, easy ways to save money on food in college is high on your list. But not healthy eating. Chances are your diet consists mostly of microwaveables, macaroni & cheese, cereal, and delivery.

Many students stick to these staples of college diets simply because these foods tend to be cheaper and easier to prepare. For cash and time-strapped students, "cheaper and easier" translates into a great supporting argument for their lifestyles.

Unfortunately, microwaveables aren't healthy. What most students don't understand, however, is that you can still buy cheap and easy foods that provide you with nutritious sustenance. Here's how you eat healthy without breaking the bank:

    1. Buy frozen or canned vegetables.

    College students often forego vegetables because they are expensive and difficult to prepare. Perhaps you've bought fresh vegetables in the past in order to improve your diet, only to have the veggies go rotten because you're too lazy to prepare them.

    Contrary to popular opinion, frozen or canned vegetables are just as healthy as fresh, they're easier to prepare, they don't rot quickly, and they are easy ways to save money on food in college./p>

    2. Find healthy substitutes for unhealthy fare.

    Even in the microwave section of the store, you can still find items that are healthier than what you might be used to. More and more grocery stores stock microwaveable meals that are preservative-free and low-sodium, which is the main problem with most microwaveable options.

    3. Cooking can be a lot simpler than you think. Try it out.

    When you think about cooking a meal, you may be absolutely terrified. All you can think about is burned food, consumed time, and food that simply isn't that tasty. Not on your list of easy ways to save money on food.

    The trick to becoming a good cook and saving money is simply doing it over and over again until you get the hang of it. Most meals don't have to take a long time to prepare. One of my favorite meals to cook includes just pasta, grilled chicken breast, and some sort of green frozen vegetable that I cook on the stove top.

    It's delicious, healthy, and takes a total of fifteen or twenty minutes tops. You'd spend longer waiting for that pizza to be delivered, a pizza that probably costs three times as much as your meal.

    4. At the grocery store, buy food only for the week.

    Most people waste money at the grocery store because they stock up on tons of food that they end up never consuming. If you plan all your (simple) meals for the week, and go to the store only to buy the items necessary, you'll realize the easy ways to save money over the long run.

    Buying in bulk once a month or so is not the best idea, simply because you'll get tired of the stuff you bought, even the stuff that doesn't rot, so it'll just sit in your pantry or freezer unconsumed.

Of course, buying and preparing healthier foods is easier said than done. But when I was college, I found that putting just a little more thought into my diet energized me and helped me focus better in school and in my social life. Good luck!

Alvina Lopez is a freelance writer who also volunteers at a local literacy organization, being passionate about education trends and reform. She welcomes questions and comments at alvina.lopez [at] gmail.com.

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