Eat Well, Spend Less

Alanna Florek, Staff writer

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There is nothing that hinders teenagers’ ability to take part in daily activities more than their infamous limited budgets. Of course lifestyle changes can be made and certain activities can be cut from the agenda, but spending money on food is unavoidable. Fast food may be the easy option but definitely not the smartest in terms of nutrition and balance. Teenagers, college students especially, feel that they do not have enough time to cook their own meals, nor the money to purchase the ingredients, however, eating well without spending too much money is only a matter of training your brain into forming a few simple daily habits.

Careful meal planning takes time but literally pays off in the end. The strategy in which you shop can make all the difference.Target may not be the first place that Warwick residents travel to for groceries, but it doesn’t hurt to go there when you’re in the area. They offer a five cent discount for every reusable bag that you bring yourself and use at checkout. This is a deal that can easily add up if taken advantage of often enough. Senior Rennick Graf also stated, “Go to Shop Rite on Wednesdays, it’s senior citizens’ day and they offer a lot of discounts.” Buy only ingredients for planned dishes that will definitely be made during the coming week to avoid waste. Avoid shopping on an empty stomach to ensure that you are not purchasing based on impulse cravings. Specific inexpensive ingredients that will greatly aid in stretching a budget include sweet potatoes, dry beans, eggs, and lentils. There are even “recipe finder” websites such as supercook.com where you can input your readily available ingredients and a vast amount of recipes are found for you. Also make sure to be aware of everything that’s in your refrigerator and make the most of all of it. For example, find numerous simple recipes that involve the same fresh produce that are already on hand so that you can use it all before it spoils. Even wilted greens can be saved, maybe not for use in a salad, but they still can be cooked into hot dishes such as simple soups. Another simple change to be made while shopping is to always buy lettuce as a head, it is much cheaper than in a bag. For those looking to not have to worry at all about the short lifespan of fresh vegetables, senior Eve Hammerle shared, “Buying frozen vegetables is a perfect trick for saving money while still eating healthy, they’re much cheaper and last longer than fresh veggies, and come in so many pre-made varieties.”

Quick 1-minute Quaker Oats are a solid investment for breakfast. Being sold at 42 ounces for 5$, oats are easily a cheaper, healthier, and more filling alternative to cereal. Simply add household flavorings, these most often being cinnamon, brown sugar, vanilla, honey, maple syrup, nuts, or fruit. This way, breakfast can remain nutritious yet never boring. Yogurt is also smartest when bought in bulk in the form of large buckets of plain yogurt, allowing for natural flavorings to be added at home so that the consumer knows exactly what they’re eating. Potatoes are absolutely one of the best persistent meal investments and should, along with whole grain pasta, remain a staple carbohydrate in a simple and cost efficient diet. Rich with Vitamin C and Potassium, potatoes can be prepared and cooked in almost any way possible and are fairly healthful when excess amounts of butter, cheese, or vegetable oil are avoided. Senior Aiden Forman expressed, “Although Ramen noodles are the go-to cheap instant meal, potatoes are my preference, being a lot more nutritious and versatile than Ramen. You can easily live off of potatoes and the Yukon Gold bags are sold at around 5 pounds for $4, the same price as 16 packets of Ramen, but definitely more worth the money.”

Although it may seem cheaper, quicker, and just plain easy, regularly eating processed foods can technically be more expensive in the long run, leading to more healthcare costs and an overall unpleasant lifestyle. With a little extra time and effort, being budget conscious does not have to mean eating poorly.

 

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