An apple a day keeps a doctor away, but for a college student, that apple may break the bank. Healthy food is expensive and for those living on a limited income, it isn’t always an option. Boxed and fast foods have become the norm for college students that are in need for fast, affordable meals.
While these options may be cheap, they often lack nutritional value. With some planning, however, even broke college students can eat a reasonably nutritious meal on a budget.
Brianna Hotchkiss, a senior animal science major at WSU, said if she has the time, she prefers to go home and cook her meals to save money.
Cooking at home can save around $16 per meal compared to restaurant delivery, and about $8 compared to meal kits, according to research by Wellio, a website dedicated to helping people plan healthy meals. Buying individual ingredients also tends to be cheaper than prepackaged meals, so you can get more food for less money.
If you’re not sure how to get started cooking from scratch at home, YouTube has an abundance of videos on how to prepare cheap meals, even on the tightest of budgets.
Jessica Harold, a junior animal science major at WSU, recommends planning out at least a week’s worth of meals before going to the store. This keeps her from having to turn to fast food for a quick fix.
“It makes it a little cheaper because you already have something planned and you don’t have to eat out,” Harold said.
When shopping, looking for sales, seasonal produce, cheaper cuts of meat like chicken thighs, chuck and brisket, and non-meat proteins like eggs, beans and lentils can all help with saving money. Canned or frozen vegetables, sweet potatoes, brown rice and oats are also a few good options.
Some places also have a student discount, such as the Moscow Food Co-op’s student day on Friday where owners (ownership costs $10 a year) can save 10 percent on all purchases.
Harold also limits how often she goes to the store to save time and money avoiding unnecessary items.
Elaily Hernandez-Repreza, a sophomore in criminology and a defense and midfield player for the WSU soccer team, budgets about $70 for her monthly groceries. She takes advantage of the food provided to her by the university, she said, and tries to buy white meats when shopping at the grocery store.
“I tend to shop for chicken, salmon and fresh fruits and vegetables,” Hernandez said.
By not buying red meats, Hernandez said she saves more money than those that eat both red meats and poultry. According to the Walmart website, a 1-pound package of ground chicken is $3.87, while a 1-pound package of ground beef is $4.28.
Finally, the Office for Access & Opportunity Food Pantry in Lighty 260 offers hygiene items, perishable and non-perishable food items to all students who check in at the front desk.
Rosario’s Place, located in the WSU Women*s Center in Wilson-Short Hall, offers food, hygiene items and diapers to all WSU students and remains unlocked whenever Wilson-Short is unlocked.