I just got back from visiting one of my dearest IU friends, who just moved to Chicago! YAY! SO EXCITED I LOVE THIS GIRL ASJHKASLJDFLAS
We were bonding over our choice of “poor student” meals, which have now become “poor college grad” meals. We both were okay at budgeting and figuring out meals and grocery bills at IU, but because she’s in a new town now and doesn’t start work for a few more days, she’s still figuring out where to go for affordable groceries and food staples. Which led to a whole big discussion about budgeting and rationing for food.
When I was in school, I did okay. I lived in CLLC for three years and had a meal plan, and had a very small wage paid out to me for writing at the IDS. I didn’t have to go grocery shopping, really, but I still went to the C-store regularly for some basic late-night food staples- bread, cheese, milk, fruit, Lunchables. (I really love Lunchables. Don’t judge me.) But my last semester, I was on my own. I had to majorly, MAJORLY budget everything, and my family had to help me way more than I ever wanted them to. Thankfully, I was still able to get the food staples for way cheap, and stretch my meals for a few days.
-Tuna salad. I tried not to make it too much, for fear of mercury poisoning, but this was an easy way to get protein and fat and also eat onion!
-Chicken salad. Again, I tried not to make this too much, but that was because I only had so much chicken. But man, I made a damn good chicken salad. Om nom nom. This would give me about 4 meals.
-Huevos rancheros. I LOVE refried beans. I also love fried eggs. When I would be really, really hungry from rationing a bit too much, I would make this. Throw in a little bit of sausage or ground beef with salsa or cheese or sour cream- I mean, maybe it’s not the absolute healthiest thing in the world, but you definitely fill up.
-Macaroni and cheese. I still have never made this from scratch, but it’s not like I could afford to make this from scratch back in the day. I actually used to stretch this by adding extra ingredients- bacon, mushrooms, onions, broccoli. The nice thing about the bacon is that the fat helps the mac and cheese reheat well, as opposed to with nothing added at all.
-Grilled cheese sandwich. I’ve actually seen a lot of spins on grilled cheese sandwiches lately. You get carbs, you get calcium, you get a little fat and protein- awesome. Add in some spinach or tomatoes, and you’ve got more to eat and fill you and make you feel all warm and happy inside.
What other meals or foods are best on a tight budget? Anyone out there with some ideas or opinions?