Apr 262009
 
Authors: Betsy Bosley

As a nutrition student, I give out a lot of advice about food.

Usually, the first thing that happens when I have just met a new person and they find out about my major, the conversation takes a sharp detour into huge “gun” building 101 and they ask me why I’m eating a sundae.

The common denominator of discussion with every college student or young professional I’ve encountered, however, has been about how they really don’t have the money to eat healthfully.

Here is my rebuttal.

First of all, I would like to explain that my personal belief is that food should never be skimped upon.

Granted, I am a bit of a food snob and once got in trouble at my job for buying asparagus for the elementary school kids I cook for. Thankfully, the United States. has one of the most inexpensive food markets in the world.

Also, food is the sustenance that fuels our day-to-day activities and eating well is one of the best predictors of whether or not you will be able to skydive on your 97th birthday. You can’t exactly say that about the collector’s edition “Fast and the Furious” trilogy that you’ve been eyeing.

The bottom line is: Eating well does not have to be expensive. I would like to pass along a few tips that have allowed me to keep my body and bank account healthy.

Check out the weekly specials ads on your favorite grocery store’s Web site before you shop.

Buy and cook in bulk if you have the space. You can make a big batch of chili on the weekends and eat on it all week or freeze some or share with the roomies. This can save an incredible amount of money and time.

Actually use the coupons you get with your receipts or in your newspaper.

Convenience foods (pre-made sandwiches, pre-cut vegetables) are more expensive than buying the ingredients and making these items yourself.

The fewer ingredients in an item, the more you should buy it in a generic brand. For example, I think you definitely notice the difference between expensive and generic ice cream, but who can taste the price difference between two different brands of sugar?

Plan a rough outline of the week’s meals ahead of time. When it is mealtime you will have the ingredients ready to go and you will make smarter decisions. Also, packing lunches/snacks will save you lots of money and you won’t have to wait in the ridiculously long lines at the food court.

The last three deal with fruit and vegetable purchases. This is no doubt the area that gets the least love when money gets tight.

For fruits and vegetables, try to buy them in season. You can usually tell this by the price; they will be on sale and any produce that is $1 per pound/item or cheaper is a good deal.

Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutrient-rich as fresh produce and much cheaper. Also, you won’t have to worry about them going bad.

Think outside of the box. During the summer you can have your own garden or find a community garden. If dirt is not really your thing, you can usually find some great deals at farmer’s markets. My favorite supermarket stop is Sunflower Market, which is amazingly inexpensive for fruits and vegetables and also has some more unusual selections.

All of these suggestions take a little work and prioritizing on your part, but making this investment in your health will give you the mental and physical boost that will help you in all aspects of life and will give you an a little extra cash to start saving up for that tandem jump.

For more information, contact Hartshorn Health Promotions at 970-491-1702.

Besty Bosley is a senior nutrition and food science major. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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