Budgets, Breads, and Baking: How to adjust to a college diet with no time, experience, or money!
It’s mid-semester, you’re busy, you’re tired, and you’re hungry. You get home only to realize those groceries your parents bought when they last visited are basically gone, and you have $20 to survive the next two weeks! We have all been there. Adjusting to finding a balanced diet that is filling, healthy, and affordable is hard. Not to worry, learning to maximize your money when you go to the grocery store, finding meals you can make in 20 minutes or less, and knowing how to save your leftovers is easier than you think, and these few tips just might save your metabolism!
Never go to the grocery store without a list and a budget
It is easy to get in a hurry and just stop by the store and grab what you think you need, but more often than not you end up with things you don’t need and spend more money than you had to! Keep a running list on your refrigerator, so you can add things when you run out. That way you know what you need and what you don’t!
The key to mastering a college diet is thinking ahead. Before you go to the store think of how long you are shopping for – one week, two? Then make the list accordingly for every day and try to account for how many meals you think you will eat out, the nights that you plan to cook, and how many leftover meals you will have. Preparing food in advance will help you avoid eating fast food – keeping you on budget and healthier.
Buy frozen when you can
One of the worst cases is when you buy ingredients to make a meal, but they expire before you use them! No one likes to waste money. But it happens to all of us; everyone gets busy and life does not always go according to your day-to-day plan. Avoid this situation by buying things frozen or freezing them when you get home. This is especially relevant with meats and vegetables. You can even stick your bread in the fridge to keep it fresh a couple extra days!
Leftovers can be a saving grace
My favorite way to make the most of the meals I make is save them in the most efficient way so that I have a lunch or dinner for the next day as well. Leftovers do not have to be the same meal over and over again. For example, if you made grilled chicken and a side for dinner, save the extra chicken in the fridge and throw it together with a $1 bagged salad from the grocery store the next day for a healthy, fresh lunch!
While these are not the only things you can do to maximize your diet efficiently, it is a start, and usually a start is all it takes! Once you have a couple of trips to the store under your belt, it will become instinct in no time. Before you know it, you’ll have your dinners and diet down pat with little effort on your part!