Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Land and Sea

Recently, a few friends have been asking for dinner ideas that can fit into their college budgets. For the last six years I've been a college student, and it wasn't always easy to maintain a healthy way of eating on a tight budget. It has taken every bit of those six years to figure out a easy, practical, and affordable way.

In the beginning of my college career, the poor eating habits that I picked up while being away from home for the first time wasn't completely contributed to lack of funds. The main problem stemmed from not having enough time to grocery shop, and cook during the weekdays. It was more convenient between my studies and job to swing by a fast food joint. Or so I thought...

Two years ago this Christmas, my mom gave me a pre-paid Sams membership card which I absolutely love having! That blue and white little piece of plastic has come in handy on so many different occasions. We're even finding some great deals on beer, liquor, and wine for our wedding from Sam's.

Ok, I'm starting to sound like a commercial (at least I could hear my Fiance saying that to me right now!), and Sam's is definitely not paying me to write this post :) But I do recommend a membership. When it came time to renew last year, I believe it cost about $40 for membership renewal.

So for example, last week I took a trip to Sam's, which is less than 15 minutes from where I live, and stocked up on a 3 lb bag of boneless fillets of tilapia, a 2.5 lb skinless salmon fillet, and 5.8 lbs of boneless/skinless chicken breasts.

*Salmon fillet*

This land and sea trio set me back $30, but when considering I purchased the tilapia at $4.26/lb, the salmon at $2.48/lb, and the chicken at $1.77/lb I feel I got a great deal. Especially knowing that will last us for about a month, and if we were to go out to dinner and purchase any of these meats as an entree, we would be spending over $30 every meal out.

Since this only covers part of the meal, you can take my advice from my post in October on saving money at local farmers' markets and produce stands. By shopping locally at produce stands and farmer's markets, your putting more money back into the local economy and supporting your local farmers by allowing them to keep on farming. And as a added bonus, you can spend another $20 on fruits and veggies for accompaniments that will last you about two weeks, or depending on the fruits and veggies ripeness.

*Chicken breasts and salmon fillets*

Now let's recap... $30 for a months worth of meats, and $20 for two weeks of fruits and veggies. If my math serves me correctly, we're looking at $50 for two weeks of eating right, and then another $20 for the other two weeks' supply of fruits and veggies, puts you at $70 for a months worth of healthy meals.

The picture above was taken after I had already cleaned the chicken of fat, cut the tenders off (top left bag), and split the chicken breasts in half. The breasts are so large, one could be just one meal for two people. After prep, label the ziploc bags with the date and freeze the meat for later use.

So far we've created two light and healthy meals with the chicken. We cooked up the chicken tenders on the stove with some Adobo seasoning, and Italian dressing atop a bed of spring mix lettuce, sliced plum tomatoes, cucumber and carrot slices, and chopped walnuts for a crunch all drizzled with Wish Bone's Light Honey Dijon, my new-found favorite dressing.

Another night, we decided we enjoyed the flavor of the chicken so much from the salad, we prepared it in the same seasoning and dressing and cooked the chicken in the oven with the fresh garlic broccoli, and sliced red potatoes.

Hope you enjoy the lighter side of college budgeting and are able to take a few tips from here! 

No comments:

Post a Comment