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Fuel Your Body with the Right Snack

November 10th, 2014

hummus veggies snacksLiving on a college student’s budget is difficult and planning meals ahead of time is not easy with so much of my time going to work and school. When I have lots of school work to do, I usually eat more snacks than meals. I am prepared for those busy weeks! I have stocked my apartment with a supply of nutritious snacks that I can easily grab and enjoy throughout the day. The right snacks give me the energy I need to get me through my busy schedule and keep me feeling good all day long.

This past summer I did a pricing project as part of my work on the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. team. I compared the prices of healthy fruits and vegetables to the prices of less nutritious but more traditional snack foods. As you might expect, sugary fruit snacks, cookies, and chips were often less expensive when compared to, whole wheat crackers, cheese sticks, and fresh fruits. But, when I stepped back to think about what I was getting for my money I realized that the healthier foods were actually a greater value!  I need the protein, vitamins, and minerals that they provide. The other snacks were really inexpensive, but also didn’t really contain the things I need to stay alert and keep my energy up.

For example, I could purchase whole grain crackers and peanut butter for $0.44 per serving. I could purchase chocolate chip cookies for $0.16 per serving, but I would miss out on the whole grain, protein, and fiber that keeps me full. The cookies would cost me less, but it seems to be a case of “you get what you pay for!”  When I see a week coming up on my schedule with lots of exams or projects due, I will stock up on snack foods that include whole grain, protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber. I will also try to make sure each of my snacks includes two food groups. Here are some ideas to get your healthy snack stash started!

  • Bananas and peanut butter
  • Cheese slices and whole grain crackers
  • Sliced Turkey and pretzels
  • Carrots and hummus
  • Yogurt with fruit
  • Apple slices and string cheese

 
Taylor

ISU Dietetics Student

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4 tips for healthy eating on a budget

October 18th, 2010
  1. Eat breakfast. This is the most important meal of the day and the most common one to skip. It’s also typically the fastest and the cheapest to make. Think oatmeal, toast, eggs, pancakes, fruit, low-fat milk.  Just eating breakfast helps charge your brain and body.
  2. Buy staples. Beans, pasta, and oats are really inexpensive and filling. Canned fish or frozen vegetables don’t go bad before you can use them. Eggs are a very inexpensive protein as are beans and peanut butter.
  3. Plan ahead. When you are hungry and rushed, it is hard to think of budget foods. Make a slow-cooker recipe that will last several meals. Divide the food into several containers to make it easier to reheat. Or, keep the ingredients for an inexpensive meal on a shelf so you don’t have to think what to make when you are tired. A nutritious meal includes something from each food group: grain, meat, fruit, vegetable, and milk.
  4. Watch what you drink. Coffee, soda, energy drinks, and alcohol can be dehydrating and costly. Water and milk are healthy and inexpensive. Refillable water bottles pay for themselves within days.

-pointers from Peggy

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