Any other college students on here? Want to share some tips with me?
I am heading off to college this fall, the past two years I have attended a community college and lived at home, so I had some access to decent food on a fairly regular basis. I will be living on campus with no car for the first semester(yay walking ). At most I will have a mini fridge and a microwave, a small stove and 3 other people living with me. Does anyone have any tips/ suggestions for cheap food and quick snacks/meals? I am terrified of falling completely off the wagon and living off ramen, frozen pizzas and popcorn again. I am already planning on bringing some jerky, nuts and nut butter(not the best but it will do). So far the dining hall and choices look pretty bleak. The list of other things I have to keep on hand are ground beef/other ground meats, bacon, salad greens and eggs, as well as some coconut oil and vingegar. Any other suggestions?
Canned fish! I eat a lot of canned wild salmon and canned herring. It's just as good as getting it fairly fresh, and the nutrition is really good. Buy stuff at the store that doesn't spoil quickly. Sweet potatoes are a big one. That's waaaaaaay better than any carby snack people will offer you. Plant organs/roots are really the best category to accomplish that task, and sweet potato is the best and most available that I know of. Avocados would be good for when you want some fat. They last a decent while on the counter.
Originally Posted by RachelW
These are just a few off the top of my head. I have a car so I can go places, but I am planning what to eat on some campouts I'll be doing for my job. I think without refrigeration or cooking supplies, I'm going to do just fine on canned fish, avocado, sweet potato, and my fruit of choice. Apple/banana/melon...whatever doesn't need to be cold.
Hope that helped.
I've had a $35 weekly food budget from my parents since I started this diet. At the time, I was living with my parents, and I, too, will be heading off to college this fall. I'll probably continue my $35 food budget though once I'm on campus even though I'll be getting a $70-$75 overall budget weekly. Here's how I survive, primally, on $35 a week:
- I quit freaking out over getting grass-fed meat or free-range chickens. Mark and all the other extreme Primal eaters would hate me if they saw me pass by the local wholesale farm and head to a grocery store so I can buy a cheap sirloin for $5. Or if they saw me ignore the $3 "cage free" chicken eggs and buy the $1 caged eggs. It's just cheaper. And they taste relatively the same and have generally the same nutritional value. I feel mighty healthy now and haven't eaten grass-fed beef in forever.
- I buy lots and lots and lots of fruits and veggies. Let's face it: I can buy ten bags of carrots for the amount of money it takes to buy a sirloin. Fruits and veggies are just a whole lot cheaper. So load up on the veggies and cut back on the meat if you can. I am actually one who sticks to the "deck of cards" sized meat serving. So if you buy a $9 steak, a $4 bag of shrimp, and a $4 cut of chicken, that should last you the whole week if you're doing it right.
- I don't make lists. I find that if I make a list of things I need, I'm less cautious about where I spend my money. If I go to the store and make purchases spur-of-the-moment, it's more of a balance of what I want and what's cheap, as opposed to just what I want. You just need to make sure you look at prices though!
- I shop at Wal-Mart. Yep, sorry MDA. I suck. I fail. I'm horrible. I'm in line with those who are stuffing themselves with pasta. That's how much I suck. The fact is, it's cheap. Really, really cheap. Are their foods stuffed with hormones, sprayed with pesticides, and have loads of perservitives in them? Heck yeah! Am I still losing weight? Heck yeah! Am I still healthy? Heck yeah!
- I don't eat many fancy meals. I find that when I plan out a lot of meals, I find myself picking up extra things at the store that I wouldn't normally buy. Usually, the stuff isn't cheap. You see, if I ate meals like Mark's Grilled Lamb Skewers with Yogurt Mint Dipping Sauce for every single meal, I'd be buying a TON weekly at the grocery store. Just for that meal alone, with the food I have in my fridge right now, I'd have to go buy parsley, lemon, lamb, allspice, cumin, yogurt, and mint leaves. That's a lot of extra food. And a lot of money. I keep my meals simple; like this: a small spinach salad, a boiled egg, plain cooked chicken, strawberries, carrots, and broccoli. No, it's not a pretty looking dinner--neither are ramen noodles!--but it suffices.
- I limit my intake. I only eat two meals a day as part of my IF routine. I didn't do this to save money, but when I started IF, I noticed I had a good deal more food leftover at the end of the week, so I didn't have to buy as much food the following week, saving money.
- I let nuts last the whole month. Nuts, at my local wal-mart, are generally about $7--unless your getting the tasteless stuff like sunflower or pumpkin seeds. I usually get a bag of pistachios or a container of low-carb nut mix and let it last 3-4 weeks. It really saves money when you aren't buying nuts every week.
Hope this helps, and good luck to you!
Last edited by Aly; 07-05-2011 at 07:30 PM.
I second the above sentiments. I would also say going in on a costco or sam's club membership with a friend is a good idea. I plunk more money down at a time but I'm paying just under $20 for 12 chicken breasts rather than about $28 for the same amount at the grocery store for the NORMAL stuff. Plus the breasts are bigger. Tons of eggs. I hardboil about 12-15 eggs per week and eat them for breakfast or lunch on the go. I shop seasonally or weekly. Last week watermelons were $3.99 for a big seedless one, this week they were $5.99. I went back to cheaper options for the week like nectarines. Shop smart with the produce and be flexible. Buy WHOLE veggies and prep and wash them yourself. I can get an entire bag of carrots for $1.79 vs a small bag of prewashed baby carrots for almost twice the amount. Freeze unused herbs for sauces. Make friends with ground pork. It's cheaper than beef and you can use it pretty much in all the same applications - or make your own sausage patties with it. Shop in the ethnic aslies or the ethnic grocery stores. Their spices, produce and proteins often tend to be cheaper.
Thanks for the tips! I am going to look up sams clubs in the area asap! Apparently there is also a small ethnic store/butcher near the campus
I'm in the same situation - community college to university!
Does your dorm have a community kitchen? That's what I'll be utilizing. I'll be cooking curries while the other kids heat up their ramen!
Beyond that - I had my primal naturopath provide documentation that I needed a special diet, and the school waived the req'd meal plan.
I only eat 1-2 meals a day and IF alot, so I can afford to eat grassfed/cage free/organic - but if you're eating 3 meals a day, I would skip it.
Good luck, it's not too bad
Guinness. A perfect student meal in a glass... (well, it worked for me )
lucky you! ethnic groceries tend to have killer prices on meat, especially offal...lots of nutritional bang for your buck. it's also fun experimenting w/ all of the different spices and ingredients you've never heard of before!
Originally Posted by RachelW
if you only have a mini fridge then you might have issues buying in bulk from sam's club/costco. but bulk shelf-stable items like canned tuna/salmon, oils, vinegars, trail mix/nuts, etc. are awesome. if you do have some freezer space frozen veggies tend to be cheaper than fresh. and if you don't have any metabolic issues with starches, big bags of potatoes and rice are CHEEEAP and really make your meals stretch.
sometimes you have to be flexible in what you buy, because depending where you live, certain things are going to be cost-prohibitive. for example, i eat lots of eggs and fresh fish because they're super cheap, but almost never buy shellfish or dairy because they're insanely expensive. same goes with certain produce. buying generic everything helps, as does not worrying about grassfed/organic/pastured/etc...it's not the end of the world.
finally...take advantage of weekly specials, sales, and coupons. learn how to ask for rainchecks on those sale items. and watch Extreme Couponing on TLC!