Popping Tags!!!! -How to eat healthy on a ramen noodle and koolaid budget.

29 Aug

So everyone knows I am a college student which means I am ON A BUDGET! Like a Ramen Noodles every night kind of budget *in my best all state commercial voice*  with that being said how’s a girl supposed to keep up the healthy eating while I’m finishing up my last semester of college?  Well I have scoured the web for all sorts of tips to help me pinch the pennies but also get more bang for my buck in regards to nutrition.  Sooooo without further ado……here are 5 Tips to help my fellow college students save a few pennies……or if you’re just trying to save while being healthy in general this may help you too!

 

1.) COUPONS!!!!!!

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As a college student I have developed an almost unatural hunger for coupons and deals.  My freshman year of college I was told if you’re ever on campus and you see a long line…..get in it…..because there is probably something free at the end of it.  While that may have been true, all good things do come to an end.(haha See what I did there?  Ok, maybe it isn’t that funny…..anywho)  Not only that, sometimes the freebies at the end weren’t necessarily that good(health wise).  However,  there are lots of websites to check out when it comes to getting coupons that can pay off in the long run….literally.  Have you heard of the not so new frenzy called “extreme couponing”.

Check out these websites:

http://thekrazycouponlady.com/category/extreme-couponing/

Couponing 101

These are some sites to help you get started on your extreme couponing journey. Make sure you don’t let those coupons expire( like I seem to always do) although some stores will honor the coupon if you bring it in with you.  Finally, take advantage of the buy one get one free deals if it’s something you use regularly.  

2.)  Make a List

For some this tip may be common sense but it is still a struggle for me. I grocery shop when I’m hungry and I grocery shop when I get home and my fridge looks like this:Image

 

 In both cases, you’re probably going to go for your old reliables…milk, cheese, cereal, bread, peanut butter, jelly, and ramen noodles right?  No? Just me?…..Ok well where is the nutritional value?  THERE IS NONE!!! Sure for those who want to argue….you get your vitamin D from milk.  Ok, I’ll give you that one.  Other than that, you have a lot of empty carbs and sugars which don’t do anything but pack on the pounds especially in the midsection.  Don’t get me wrong PB&J has gotten me through but I certainly pay for it in the gym later.  

*Quick side note:  All your hard work in the gym is practically being canceled out every time you sit down and eat empty carbs and sugary foods/drinks.  Trust me, I’m right there with you on this eating healthy thing….but if you want results that last you MUST change your diet! 

3.) Buy Frozen

Soooo….I am in love with fresh fruits and vegetables! If I had the skills of my Papa LC or my mama I’d have my own garden.  Because that is not the case(yet) I have to buy my fruits and veggies from the super market or the farmers market.  Unfortunately,  buying fresh fruits and veggies means food has to be prepared or eaten rather quickly because fresh fruits and veggies go bad almost instantly.  It’s kinda like when you buy a brand new car and the value drops before the ink dries after you sign your life and credit away on the dotted line…..just kidding…..but seriously fresh food doesn’t last as long as foods that are packed with preservatives.  Lots of college students opt out of buying fresh fruits and vegetables because of that fact.  OOOOHHHH BUT WAIT…..THERE IS A RAM IN THE BUSH!!!!! Frozen fruits and veggies……

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Now, I’m not saying the frozen foods are superior in quality or taste but it certainly is much better for you and your colon than smoked sausages, pizza, and peanut butter and jelly everyday.  No, the tomato sauce on the pizza does not count as a serving of veggies…at least not to me 😉

 

4.)  Meal Prep

Meal prep is probably one of the best ways to help you keep a steady handle on what you’re eating and how much.  When you prep your meals, you are very conscious of how much you’re eating and you are training your body to eat healthier foods.  Most people like to use some inexpensive plastic containers like Ziploc to store their meals.

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 I buy off brand cause baby girl is on a budget, but please feel free to use whatever product you are most comfortable with.  One other great thing about meal prep,  when you start doing it( in conjunction with writing your list)  you will become more aware of what you purchase when you grocery shop and you will start MEAL PLANNING!!!  

 

5.) Keep a Food Diary/Journal/Meal Planning(for the guys who don’t like the idea of a diary)

So I’m going to mix meal planning into this food diary tip.  Your first week you should try to make a note of everything you eat.  For those that want to, feel free to write in the calories.  I am not on that level…..it makes me sad to see how many empty calories I sometimes consume.  Anyway,  when you keep your food diary, you will have an even better idea of things you’re eating that perhaps wasn’t include in your prepped meal.  For example, you are invited to dinner by your co-workers.  One-you’ve just taken money from the grocery budget to eat out. Two- You’re probably not going to be as focused on eating “super healthy” while you’re out having a good time. You see where I’m going with this?  Keeping a food diary will help you become more accountable for what you eat.  Mind you,  I personally do not think you should become obsessive and nit pick at everything all the time.  I’m a country girl and I LOVE TO EAT! I’m pretty sure I’ve said I love to eat in every post I have written thus far.   Anyway, just use the diary to help you become more aware of what you’re eating and how much money you spend on food and eating out.( Make sure you include the foods you buy grocery shopping).   Finally, is actual meal planning.  Take that first week to get a good grip on what you eat regularly. Use the second week to consciously start incorporating super foods in your diet like sweet potatoes.  They have the same number of calories as a regular white potato but sooooo much more overall nutritional value….and they’re really yummy baked 🙂

In conclusion….ehem…. quick recap:

1.) Use Coupons

2.) Make a List

3.) Buy Frozen

4.) Meal Prep

5.) Keep a Food Diary/Journal/Meal prep

Hope these tips help!  Please comment and follow 🙂

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