Eating Healthy on a Budget


In a busy day full of classes, the last thing on my mind is figuring out what to cook for dinner. Sometimes, the furthest thing from my mind is eating healthy when fending for myself. I try to shop for $20 or less by sticking to buying frozen veggies and generic brand products.

Jacob Deboer, a third year Motion Picture Science major at RIT, tends to eat at home whenever possible. Sometimes on campus, he decides to pick up a quick sandwich or soup but never anything besides that. Deboer explicitly warns against the temptation of vending machines.

“Never, ever use vending machines on campus,” Deboer said. “I fall short of this advice myself, but the truth is simple: For what you pay for a Snicker’s bar at the vending machine, you can get a whole box of granola bars at Wegmans. If you need to keep your energy up during the day, carry some granola bars from home in your backpack.”

Audrey Perkins, a fourth year Nutrition Management student, tends to keep her shopping bill at $50 or less by simply evaluating the worth of what she buys.

“I pay attention to individual item prices, and gauge whether I think the item is worth the value to me,” Perkins said. “It could be real cheap, or slightly expensive. It just depends how I value the product.”

Erin Supinka, a third year Journalism student, stresses the importance of portioning your food to your advantage. “Portion control is a huge part of it too,” Supinka said. “Milk, eggs and bread can last me two weeks if I eat the right portions. If I make a six-egg omelet every morning ‘just because’ I am basically eating my money inefficiently.”

To save more, Supinka recommends that people put thought into what they want to cook during the week. “Try to plan meals. If you can, figure out how you can make a meal last for more than one or two meals,” Supinka said. “This keeps me from spending money on campus when I'm hungry and in a time crunch and also keeps me away from grabbing quick, unhealthy snacks too.”

Perkins said healthy eating is necessary for reducing the everyday distress of life. “Being healthy is an all-around benefit. You feel better, you look better, and your mood is improved,” Perkins said. “It's a great thing to feel this way, especially when you tend to be more stressed out than the typical person.”

According to Deboer, eating healthy is also the best way to prevent becoming a zombie. “Some people will tell me ‘I don't have time to take care of myself.’ RIT is intense, and it wears you down. As I understand it, you don't have time not to take care of yourself.”

Readers, what ways do you budget and stay healthy? Let us know in the comments below.