Making one dollar stretch as much as possible is a never-ending quest for college students. How much can you buy with a small amount of money? How far will that amount of food get you? It’s no secret that carbs are cheap and protein is expensive. But between that, you can get the most bang for your buck.
It’s a personal quest of mine to cut out things like high fructose corn syrup and processed foods and not sacrifice quality of flavor or nutrition. It should come as no surprise that processed foods and foods that contain high fructose corn syrup are cheaper than their counterparts. That fact is why obesity is such a concern to Americans; low-income families rely on highly processed foods because they’re plentiful, inexpensive and quick to prepare.
However, it shouldn’t be the case. Smart shoppers can avoid the corn syrup and processing and still remain in the black if they follow a few simple suggestions.
First, carbs are cheap, plentiful, and if you eat the right ones, healthy! Whole grains come in breads, pastas, and cereals. Research shows that whole grains can fight the onset of diabetes and heart disease as well as being a lot more nutritional than their counterparts: refined grains. Also, rice is a very simple food to make and adds to ‘fullness.’ Choose brown rice though. White rice doesn’t contain near the nutrients that exist in brown rice.
Fruits and vegetables are absolute nutrient necessities that we don’t eat enough and are not budget breaking. There are a lot of deals and savings in the produce section of grocery stores. Also, farmer’s markets in the area are the perfect vectors to purchase cheap, fresh and local produce. Look for the deals no matter what–you want to look in newspaper ads and scour the stores and you’ll always leave a winner.
I’m a man that loves his protein. For me, a meal can hardly seem complete without a piece of meat on my plate, preferably red and rare. However, red meat is usually not the cheapest meat. Chicken is, however. You can purchase five pound bags of chicken breast, or you can buy and freeze it yourself. Thighs and wings of the chicken are also really cheap and fantastically amazing, though darker meat.
Ground beef is another good, cheap choice. Usually the fatter the meat, the less it costs, so be wary. A blend of 70 percent lean beef/30 percent fat will usually be cheaper than a blend that is 90/10.
Processed foods seem great at first, but there always exists a price you pay, usually in the way of sodium or fat. So if you want some Oreo cookies, go home, make chocolate cookies and add some vanilla cream between them. Processed foods exist as short cuts. So if you can, make it yourself. You can do it and you’ll avoid the mass amount of other chemicals that have nothing to do with normal food.
Let the savings be with you as you step to the cash register with a cart filled with whole foods and a mind full of value-conscious shopping. So, good luck out there you cost effective, grocery store warriors.