Off-campus grocery options provide healthy alternatives

Story by Molly Longman

Choosing to eat healthy can be an expensive endeavor.

A study in the British Medical Journal said that on average, it costs $550 more per year, or $1.48 more per day, to buy healthier food.

It is no wonder some people refer to Whole Foods Market as ‘whole paycheck market.’

Despite the ‘whole paycheck market’ world that they live in, college students living off campus are finding ways to stay healthy without breaking the bank.

Drake actuarial science major Nick Iwan, a junior living off campus, said buying in bulk is a great way to save money when grocery shopping.

“I mostly shop at Sam’s Club, Costco or Walmart because you can buy a lot of food for a lower cost,” Iwan said.

Janelle Behnke, a third-year pharmacy student, also lives in an apartment off campus. She said she goes for low prices and shops at a variety of places to find them.

“While it’s open, I like to get my produce from the Farmers Market. I enjoy supporting local vendors, and most of the time fruits and veggies that are in season are cheap,” Behnke said.

The Downtown Farmers Market is open to the public every Saturday starting in May until the end of October. The market spans nine city blocks and is held in the Historic Court Avenue District in downtown Des Moines.

Behnke said cooking most of your meals for yourself is another way to save money.

“I cook for myself almost every meal, especially during the week. For me, it’s a matter of cost. It’s much cheaper to cook your own meals versus eating out. Plus, most of the time it’s healthier, so it’s a win-win.”

P1 pharmacy student Zach Wright agreed.

“It’s possible to plan on cooking meals that are less expensive to save a dime,” Wright said.

Wright has a go-to meal that saves him time and money.

“Breakfast for dinner is my go-to meal. It’s really cheap and easy to make, while being healthy. And why not have the most important meal of the day more than once?” Wright said.

Another way to save a buck is to take advantage of sales, said junior Mike Jennings.

“If I go to a store and there are sales, I can find ways to work them into my diet,” Jennings said.

He explained that he does not limit himself to a specific set of “healthy” foods, he just makes sure everything is eaten in moderation.

“If you make sure you’re getting a healthy caloric intake and nutrient intake, planning what you eat is not very stressful,” Jennings said.

Eating healthy while on a budget is far from impossible. Drake University Student Health 101 challenged students to make $10 worth of groceries into enough meals to last a week with their “10 Dollar Challenge.” The challenge gave students samples of shopping lists and offered advice to help save money when grocery shopping.

For more information on how to eat healthy and do it without spending a fortune, visit the Food Network’s website.

The website gives tips on how to save money, lists healthy foods that cost less, in addition to inexpensive recipes.

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