Frugal Living Student

9 Tips for College Students to Eat Healthy on a Budget

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Despite the stereotype of surviving on pizza, pre-packaged foods, and caffeine, it actually can be easy for college students to eat healthy even while on a budget. It just takes some planning and swapping out certain healthy foods for their inexpensive counterparts.

We’ll discuss healthy and affordable eating tips for college students, as well as why eating healthy is important and how this affects major items in your life, including insurance rates and coverage.

The Importance of Healthy Eating

Eating a varied and healthy diet is important for energy, immunity, and providing your body with the fuel needed to study, learn, and be active. Eating a healthy diet is also important for managing weight. Being overweight can increase your risk of many chronic health conditions and affect life insurance rates and coverage.

While managing your weight is important, you can still get life insurance even if you are overweight. It may just be more costly. You can use a life insurance weight chart to help you decide on the best option.

You should also get quotes online or consult an insurance agent to find affordable coverage.

How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

A few simple swaps or changes to your lifestyle can help you eat healthier. Here are some tips to help you find cheap healthy foods for college students or anyone trying to live on a budget. For more useful money-saving tips for students, there’s a great guide on

#1 – Try Frozen Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and vegetables should be some of the cornerstones of our diet. Fresh fruits and vegetables are great, but they can be costly and can go bad quickly. One option that can save money on produce is choosing frozen fruits and veggies.

  1. They are frozen at peak quality so they retain a lot of the vitamins and minerals after harvest.
  2. These frozen options are also usually on sale, don’t go bad as fast, and enable you to portion out the amount you need easily.

#2 – Cut Back on Processed and Junk Foods

Processed foods like chips, candy, desserts, packaged or boxed meals, and frozen pizzas may be cheap, but they don’t help you meet your nutritional needs. You might eat these foods and find yourself hungry sooner. Choose more nutritious and filling options like lean protein, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts or seeds.

#3 – Plan Your Meals

Planning out your meals and snacks ahead of time is a great way to save money. You can use the store advertisements to plan your meals for a few days or the week. You can find new healthy recipes or healthy snack options online, too. Or, if you live on campus, a great way of saving money is through joining a campus meal plan.

#4 – Make a List

Make a list of the items you need for your meal planning and restocking your refrigerator or pantry. A list will help you save time at the store so you can focus on what you need to get and make fewer trips to the store. Sticking to your list can also help you stay on budget.

#5 – Cook at Home

Cooking meals at home is always cheaper than eating out at restaurants or ordering from delivery services. It may take a little extra time to go to the supermarket and prepare the meals, but it will save you money and be healthier in the long run.

#6 – Enjoy Leftovers

Cooking once and eating leftovers is not only a way to save money, but it can also save time. If you do go to a restaurant, you can also use those leftovers for a future meal.

#7 – Focus on Water

Sugary beverages like soda, energy drinks, sports drinks, and sugary coffee beverages are expensive and full of added sugar. One easy way to save money is to make water your beverage of choice.

Cutting back on soda and sugary drinks will also lower your risk of diabetes, which can negatively affect your weight, health, finances, and life insurance rates.

#8 – Try a Meatless Monday

Meat is a big part of our food budget. If you can cut back on meat at meals or try a vegetarian meal once or twice a week, it will help your budget. Canned beans, eggs, peanut butter, canned tuna, tofu, or tempeh can be inexpensive protein options to help save you money.

bowl of vegetables

#9 – Eat Seasonally

Seasonal fruits and vegetables are usually cheaper and higher quality than produce that isn’t in season. Some fruits and vegetables like bananas, cucumbers, broccoli, and oranges are usually inexpensive most of the time. Try the frozen options if your choices are not in season.

Eat Healthy and Stay on Budget

It doesn’t have to be impossible to eat healthy as a broke college student. It takes some planning and making some changes to your diet, but any college student can eat healthy and manage their finances at the same time.

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Melissa Morris writes and researches for the life insurance comparison site, She is a university professor of nutrition and health sciences and tries to give her students a practical understanding of healthy eating on a budget.

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