Hello everyone and welcome to another post about living the dream in collegeville! Today’s topic, cheap college meals- eat with a budget. This post is not going to go into the healthy meals, of which I will talk about in a later post, but instead, this one will deal with cheap meals that you will be able to make in the comfort of your dorm room. In college, eating healthy is not always an option and I know that there will people many people who are not going to like that I’m posting this, but someone is going to have to, because College is not cheap, and dorm rooms don’t allow stoves.
If you do have a little extra money, I assure you that I will go over healthy meals in a later post, but for now, I want to speak with those people who don’t have the money or resources to be able to eat healthy.
The first thing I want to tell those people, DO NOT FEEL BAD FOR NOT BEING ABLE TO EAT HEALTHY! I get so tired of seeing people being condescending toward those who do not eat as healthy as they do. That is wrong in every sense of the word, especially since they have no clue what you are going through. Just because you have to live off of things like Ramen and other things, does not make you less of a person, nor does it make your value any less. It means you are struggling, and as a human being, you should be helped by others of the same species, and not brought down even more.
So, anyhow, there was my serious rant, a bit early on, but I had to do it just so people know where I stand! Now, let’s take a look at some cheap college meals every college student can make on a budget!
1. Ramen Noodle- The King of Budget Food!
Of course, everyone knows of Ramen Noodle! This is easily the most recognizable food for those on a budget, that there is out there! There are so many different flavors of ramen as well, making your ramen eating experience that much tastier.
I know, I can hear it now. All those insane health nerds screaming at the screen, somehow expecting me to be able to hear what they are saying, and you as well. They are screaming how unhealthy ramen is. Well I have a few things to say to you, oh angry person!
A. Stop Screaming and leave me a comment about how angry you are. I would love to discuss this with you, and I can’t if you merely scream at the computer, because guess what, I can’t hear you!
B. Everyone knows the healthiness of ramen. We know that it is not healthy for you. However, we also know that it is better to actually eat, than to not eat!
Ramen originated in Japan, but I think the process of making them is different in Japan than it is in America. Japan even has ramen vending machines, which is pretty freaking amazing, and I’ll leave you a video about that below, because it is worth watching in my opinion!
I also know that, even with all the flavors (by the way, Shrimp is the best, followed by Sriracha Chicken), ramen can get kind of boring. So I will give you some suggestions on spicing it up a little.
- Since you are probably making this in your dorm room, and not the dorm kitchen, drop in some cheese after you microwave it. Let the cheese melt, and boom! Deliciousness!
- Want chips? Crunch the Ramen up in a Ziploc bag, add the flavoring, and you have a bag of ramen chips!
- Add some hot sauce to the noodles!
- Melt some cheese and add some garlic. Pour over the ramen after draining it! YUMMY!
So you see, there is always new ways to spice up ramen and make it delicious! Ramen is truly the king of budget food and it is a delicious one. If you have the money, with the cheese, I suggest using Velveeta or it’s cheaper version. The creaminess of that cheese is simply amazing, and it goes good with the noodles, though it is expensive compared to a bag of shredded cheese, or sliced cheese.
1 Pack of Ramen-.50
1 Pack of Cheese- 1.50/12 (12 slices in a place, one slice per bowl) .13
1 bottle of hot sauce- 1.50 (assume you will only use a few splashes) .10
1 garlic salt seasoning- 2.50 (assume you use a dash or two) .12
Total cost for the meal- .80!
2. My Personal Favorite- PB & J w/ Banana
Oh my goodness, the greatest comfort food of all time (with the exception of good cereal maybe). I love Peanut Butter and Jelly, with a sliced Banana in the mix. This is a simple food, and it is an effective one, mixing in carbs, with fat and protein, which give you the fuel you will need to start or finish the day.
Most people will be telling me to tell you to use wheat bread, and by all means, if you like wheat bread, please do! Wheat bread can be found for the same price as white bread, and it is at least a little better for you.
I also recommend buying the peanut butter and jelly separate, instead of the two in one you get with brands like Goober. Now look, nothing beats Goober. In fact, I have complained to my small Kroger store in town (the only store that even sold it around here) about the fact that they stopped selling it. I love Goober, and it’s taste is infinitely better than they cheaper brands, or buying peanut butter and jelly separately. But Goober can be expensive, it really can. In fact, if you want more bang for your buck, you are much better off buying them separately because if you buy one’s like Goober, you are paying a little more for a jar that you would get normally with just peanut butter.
I also do not recommend the Smuckers Uncrustable! The price of those delicious little devils are simply outrageous and I don’t think they are worth the money, so much so that I do not even buy them.
Now when it comes to bananas, check the price per pound. Where I live, organic is only ten cents more per pound, and I buy, at most, two pounds of bananas at a time. For me, that twenty to thirty cents is worth it to have organic banana’s but you need to make that call yourself when you are budgeting!
1 loaf of bread- 1.25 loaf (2 slices of bread)-.12
1 jar of peanut butter- 2 (one to two tablespoons of peanut butter)- .13
1 jar of jelly- 1.50 (one to two tablespoons of jelly)- .15
1 Banana- .60 a pound, average 1/4 a pound- .15
Total cost- .55
Another amazing and cheap comfort food is cereal! I know, I know, it can seem expensive when you are used to eating the stuff that is not store brand, but once you break down the price like I have on the other things above, then you start to see how it is not that expensive.
That coupled with the fact that some store brand cereal is actually not that bad, and can be pretty cheap, you have you a good meal that is cheap and easy to make in the comfort of your dorm room! It always surprises me when people think its weird that people like me eat cereal all throughout the day. I love cereal, and I actually started eating it a lot when I was in college, because it is the dream desert in my opinion! I would take cereal over ice cream and cake any day of the week to be honest!
Cereal is also easy to clean up. Get you a cleaning wipe, wipe out the bowl as soon as you are done, and boom! Clean as it can be! The trick is cleaning it as soon as you are done, because if you don’t, it will stick to the bowl, and that because a hassle and it not so pleasant to clean out.
If you need sugar in your cereal, I suggest getting some that already have sugar in them, that way you can save the few dollars and buy something else you may need for college. Milk wise, I know some of you are weird like me and like chocolate or strawberry milk with your cereal, but typically both those cost more than white milk. Stick with white milk, and you can decide how much fat you want in it. Typically they all cost the same price.
1 box of cereal- 2.50 (a cup or two out of the box), .50
1 gallon of milk- 2 (one to two cups), .33
Total cost- .88
Conclusions- Think About it!
In this post I really wanted to get you thinking more than anything else. I wanted to get you in the mindset of breaking down the actual cost of a meal per person. That is why I had the ending of each item broken down into bits that lead up to the total cost. These three meal ideas are just the beginning. There are beans, canned soup, and many other things that a person can buy that is cheap, even if at first glance they do not seem cheap.
There are also other ways to help you in college. One of them is to go out and vote for people you feel will help you in your situation, whatever that situation may be. I’m not going to say directly who I want to win as president, but I’ll leave a link here and let you read about him, and you can decide for yourself what you think of him.
Also you can check out some awesome ways to make money while you are in college! This is easily one of the best ways to make sure you can eat more and eat healthy foods as well.
All in all, I hope you enjoyed this post. I really want to be able to help you guys and gals out, because I know the burden that college can be on people. I have been through that, and now that I’m done with it, I want to help as many people as possible get through it effectively.
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Hey, and don’t forget to comment some of your best recipes for the dorm room! I’m sure there are people who would love to read about some ways they can make food while in their dorm!
Jessie W. Mosley