Wanting to stick to a healthy diet but feeling like it’s burning a hole in your wallet? Look no further. From one broke college intern to another, here are ten things that will save your culinary life this summer.
1. Coconut oil
Coconut oil can be used for just about anything (even removing your makeup) and is a great alternative to other artery-clogging oils when it comes to cooking. It also gives a subtle coconutty flavor which is a major plus in my eyes. Buy a big jar from the grocery store and it can last you the whole summer.
2. Sweet potatoes
These amazing root vegetables are packed with so much goodness for your brain and your body. They are relatively inexpensive and incredibly filling, making them ideal for anyone hungry on a budget. Bake them in the oven with some salt and coconut oil, microwave them, or toss them in the frying pan with some apples and onions to make a delicious breakfast hash.
Apples pack tons of flavor and vitamins into your diet. Eat them plain, on the go, make them into chips, or throw them in with your favorite fruits, vegetables, and proteins to make a delicious and fresh dish.
4. Curry powder
If you’re looking to wake up some of your meals, curry powder is the way to go. Add a little coconut oil, curry powder, salt, and pepper into a bowl. Coat your protein or your veggies with it and then toss them in the oven or on a frying pan to get a deliciously simple meal that you can throw on top of a bed of rice or greens. Other spices like paprika, chili, and ginger are great, too.
Bananas are quickly going to become the stars of your kitchen. They’re inexpensive, delicious, and can be manipulated a million-and-one ways. Bulk up your granola with them in the morning, smother them with peanut butter for a snack, freeze them and then transform them into “nice cream” or even bake them for a delicious addition to any meal.
Tea is the perfect way to wake up in the morning without overloading your body with caffeine, and they can mellow you out before bed. Opt for a green tea in the morning because it’s packed with antioxidants and has enough caffeine to get you going on a sluggish morning. A nice mint or ginger tea can help calm your stomach and your mind before bed. No coffee maker, creamer, or grounds necessary.
7. Peanut Butter
Assuming you don’t have a nut allergy, peanut butter is a cheap and easy way to fill up your body with protein. Make delicious sauces to top your veggies with, mix it with your oatmeal, or whip up a not-so-classic PB&J.
8. Bulk Grains
Grains are a staple in many dishes so it’s great that you can get it at such an affordable price. My favorite thing to do is go to a bulk food store and stock up on a few different varieties without worrying about buying too much. Plus, buying in bulk can save you a good chunk of change.
This is not to say you should only drink water when you’re on a budget, but you should replace your juices, sodas, sparkling waters and alcohol (when you can) with water to stay hydrated and frugal. Take it to the next level with one of these delicious detox recipes. Your body (and your wallet) will thank you.
10. Frozen Fruit
If you’re a smoothie addict like I am, you know how quickly the costs for a glass can get out of hand. While fresh fruit is wonderful, frozen fruit comes at a much more reasonable price. Mix up some bananas, frozen berries, and water for a delicious açaí bowl that doesn’t cost and arm and a leg.