11 Awesome Strategies for Eating Well on a Student Budget

Do yourself a favor and save that microwave ramen for late night emergencies.


Plan ahead.

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On Sunday, map out your nightly recipes and make a shopping list that outlines exactly what you'll need for the week. For the most bang for your buck, try to choose recipes with ingredients that overlapso, if you need half an onion for a soup on Monday, the other half can go into a stir-fry on Thursday. If you have time (study break!), use downtime on Sunday to prep: batch cooking grains, chop veggies, or marinate meats.


Work your pantry.

Keep your cabinets and fridge stocked with versatile ingredients you can throw together into quick, hearty lunches or dinners. Some of our favorite staples include tomato sauce, eggs, olive oil, nuts, whole grains like quinoa and farro, and high quality canned fish.


Frozen is your friend.

Shop the freezer aisle for produce with a long shelf life. For convenience's sake, this is a great place to get healthy, hearty greens like kale and chard, which come trimmed and choppedmeaning less prep time for you. Frozen seafood is another staple; seek out individually packaged filets in clear packaging, which have been flash frozen when they are freshest, often right on the fishing boat.


Splurge smart.

Factor in one fun treat item a week. Love avocados? Spot some gorgeous juicy grapes? Giving into cravings now and then adds variety to your diet and lets you have something fun to savor.


Embrace the grain bowl.

Have fun experimenting with combos that include a mix of grains, veggies, and anything else in the pantry and fridge (read: leftovers). Not feeling inspired? Check out our list of tasty ideas here.


Toast it.

Make toast your best friend. Everyone knows about avocado toast, of coursebut that's just the beginning. The delicious options—sliced eggs, nicoise olives, tuna, parsley, lemon, olive oil, and morefor open-faced sandwiches are endless. Check out some of our recipes here.


Exercise your green thumb.

Many herbs only need a small pot and a sliver of sunshine to thrive, so why not try growing your own? While fresh herbs are great flavor boosters, often recipes only call for a teaspoon or twowhich results in money and ingredients going to waste. But keep a little herb garden on your windowsill, and you can pick just the right amount whenever you need them.


Choose the right container.

Invest in a set of glass microwave-, freezer-, and dishwasher-safe storage dishes. That way you’ll always know what’s in the fridge without prying back sheets of foil. Plus, you can reheat them and eat right from the container if you’re rushing to class.


Geek out.

Put online sites like Supercookwhich creates recipes from ingredients you already haveto work for you (no more excuses for food waste!).


Get outside.

Investigate your college's student garden, if there is one. Usually it’s possible to work a couple hours a week and get a share of fresh, free produce.


Make it a group project.

Get your whole house involved in meal planning by setting up a communal cooking schedule in which a different person makes dinner for the whole group daily. That way you're only responsible for cooking one night—but can count on getting a real, warm dinner every day of the week.