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Posted Jan. 5, 2015

5 Cheap and Healthy Foods for When You're Broke

For most of us, student cuisine means being moments away from getting rickets at any time and questionable pleasures of cold pizza breakfasts, those ramen packets hidden at the back of corner shops and Echo Falls in mugs. Despite what the supermarkets spend thousands to make you believe with advertising and offers, it is genuinely cheaper to eat healthily if you keep in mind a few basic principles like eating what’s in season and learning a few rudimentary cooking skills. And what better time to start than this new year? Here’s some tasty and simple options that mean you don’t have to sacrifice your health when the money runs out.

Making your own humous Rather than just the dip you buy for your Kettle Chips when you want to inject a little class into watching Netflix in your pants of an evening, the humble chickpea dip is actually as healthy as it is easy to make. It’s protein rich and offers a number of crucial vitamins and minerals. This is especially true of the homemade type, which not only removes all of the preservatives of the supermarket kind but also can be made by the bucket load using four very cheap ingredients (chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, salt) and one mid range one (tahini, a sesame paste). Eat it with vegetable crudites and forever shock the parents who think you’re living on takeout from knockoff KFCs.

Turning Japanese We’ve written before about the benefits of eating bento boxes , but the benefits of this Asian cuisine are worth repeating. After all, there is a reason that the country has the longest life expectancies of any country, and until my theory about the life-giving properties of karaoke are scientifically ratified the most likely explanation would be their cuisine. Steer clear of the processed flours of prepackaged noodles, however, and look deeper into your local oriental supermarket for seriously cheap seafood, vegetables and legumes. More adventurous gourmands should also try Japanese fermented foods like miso or koi which your digestive system will thank you immensely for.

Eating seasonally As much as we can’t control our weird food cravings and sometimes want strawberries in September or mushrooms in May, having a rudimentary knowledge of what’s in season and eating accordingly will do wonders for your bank balance and your tastebuds. Food sourced seasonally and locally is cheaper, not having had to travel halfway around the world to get to you, but it is also healthier. Foodstuffs begin to lose their nutrients as soon as they’re picked, so the earlier you can get to them the healthier they will be. Plus, you don’t have to suffer the unique student envy that your vegetables have had a round the world trip when you haven’t been on holiday in eighteen months.

Better yet, grow your own food for guaranteed freshness with zero air miles.

Frozen Over Fresh Another way to ensure that you’re getting the most nutrients from your fruits and vegetables is to buy frozen. They are frozen at their most fresh, locking in all the nutrients. Not only that, but they are often cheaper than their fresh counterparts, and often remarkably so. Plus as a bonus for students they often come ready chopped, so it’s nice to have our laziness confirmed by health benefits!

Fantastic Flaxseed This wouldn’t be an internet article without at least one mention of a ‘hot new superfood’, but flaxseed is the real deal. With countless studies too numerous to name here showing its benefits against diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer, it’s worth that little bit of extra expense to improve the health benefits of things like white bread. Put it into your baking and feel less bad about how much cake you’ve eaten. Plus, I’ve long said that making your own bread is a student must, as there is no problem you’ll have that won’t be made a little better by half an hour of kneading dough (shouting ‘I HATE THESE ESSAYS’ with every punch is optional, but recommended).

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