Back to school tips: How to eat well on the cheap

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While eating box after box of neon orange pasta or bowls of instant noodles might seem like a rite of passage for students everywhere, eating well doesn’t have to break the bank. After all, if we are what we eat, do you really want to be a something that comes with a flavour packet?

Joking aside, your body—and your brain—needs fuel to stay healthy and keep you in good health so you can focus on the task at hand: studying. Not only is being sick a drag, but once you start missing classes it can also be a waste of your hard-earned tuition money, too.

We went right to the experts to get some advice and tips for how to eat well on a budget this school year.

Quentin Gillis, owner of Holy Cow Burgers and Wings:

·         We watch the sale flyers every week. There are certain things we always look for like fresh chicken breasts. Usually between the major grocery stores, you can find a deal every week. When some of those more expensive items go on sale, we stock up and freeze them for later.

·         Search for things that will fill you up and keep you full. A bag of potato chips might fill you up for 30 minutes, but you’ll be hungry again soon after. It’s empty carbs.

·         Stocking up on beans and lentils are great too. If you don’t know how to cook them or include them in a meal, just do a quick Google search. The great thing about the internet is you can find quick and easy recipes for every ingredient.

·         My favourite healthy and affordable meal is a wrap—you just need pita bread, veggies, a little salad dressing and a protein. It’s easy to make, only costs a few dollars, and will keep you full for hours.

·         Oatmeal is a great option for a warm, hearty breakfast. One big bag is cheap, and can last for months!

Steve Barber, co-owner of Red Island Hospitality:

·         Pre-make your meals. Go to a grocery and stock up on healthy protein and veggies. You’d be amazed by how much you can save with a little planning and preparing ahead. This is especially helpful for lunches and it means you’re not stopping for expensive last minute meals when you’re on the go.

·         Buying local doesn’t have to be expensive. If you buy fruit and vegetables while they’re in season, you’ll end up saving and eating fresher produce.

·         Look for student specials. Our restaurants have student prices every night of the week after 8pm.