Just for fun

Eating Cheap in College

Somehow, even with all of the nutritional knowledge, we received from mom, the television and by osmosis, we still ate things that our bodies probably prefer we shouldn’t back in college. Thinking back to some of these meals, it’s hard to determine what actually goes through our minds. Eating cheap in college is easy and delicious!

As much as most college students want to eat healthy foods, eating healthy costs money and you’re broke in college even if you’re working a minimum wage job or lucky enough to be receiving money from your parents. So kick back and enjoy this list of awesome ways to save money in college by eating cheaply. This blog was written as a sample essay to explore the 20 cheapest foods for college students.

The 20 Cheapest College Eats

1. Cup of Noodles

The inexpensive microwavable goodie that comes in a variety of flavors from beef to chicken to salsa picante shrimp. Want to know how to eat cheap for a month? Buy a bundle of dehydrated noodle cups. You can purchased a ton of these especially when they are 10 for $10. Whenever there’s a late night craving, Cup of Noodles was too good to be true. While the nutritional value is low, it’s a relatively cheap snack.

2. Easy Mac

It’s comfort food that truly reminds of us home. College students have ranted on the convenient nature of Easy Mac and all of its macaroni goodness. After all, who doesn’t like powdered cheese sprinkled over some dry noodles. Seriously, dry noodles are a stable in the cheap foods for college students category. Add pepper for taste. This meal sells for less than a dollar at Walmart stores.

3. Chicken Wings French Fries

Happy hour! Depending on the city, 50 cent chicken wings and french fries are one of the best parts of college. If you don’t attend a campus that has a nearby wing jing, sorry. Actually, we’re not sorry. You should have picked your university more carefully. We told you eating cheap in college is delicious!

4. Canned Fruit

What is the cheapest and healthiest way to eat while in college? The bona fide delicious and nutritious way of getting in your daily dose of fruit? Not canned fruit. There is so much stuff in a can of this that it’s startling, but when you are on a budget, a can of peaches or pineapples saturated with sugar is often your best bet. You might be better off eating a pint of ice cream. Just be careful for products with high fructose corn syrup.

5. Lunchables

As if we didn’t get enough of these in elementary school, Lunchables makes this list because there are enough ingredients in Lunchables that you’ll scratch your head and wonder how your tongue will feel when it tries to pronounce them.

6. Dollar Pies

These were a delicacy of many college students back in the day, particularly apple and cherry. These also went well with a glass of milk (just in case you were trying to be healthy). Nothing like saturated fat, a factor in obesity in the U.S., to cut down on the cost.

7. Breakfast Bowls

You’ll be lucky to find one that is 400 calories or less that is tasty. Stocking up on these is a disastrous trifecta of sugar, carbs that have been run through a processor and of course, more fat than your stomach can stand; but hey, college is a time for experimenting. Why not experiment with a fine breakfast choice such as the immediate gratification of a breakfast bowl?

8. Boyardee

Everything from beefaroni to beef ravioli, the preservatives, and fats in these bad boys worked in perfect harmony with the classic American style. You can purchase these if you receive food stamps in the U.S. Eat more than a couple and you’ll learn there are healthier ways to get your pasta servings.

9. Pop Tarts

These impossible-to-resist breakfast foods deliver on their taste and sugar factor, but quickly pack on the pounds for the college student.

10. TV Dinners

While there are many options out there for dinner, nothing beats the TV dinner. Most grocery stores have them on sale each and every time you go. College students get their jollies out of selecting from fried chicken to pot roast to baked fish. If you’re trying to eat healthy in college on a budget, healthy frozen dinners are your best bet. It takes some hunting in the frozen food aisle, but their are healthy and inexpensive options.

11. Soda

One sip and you’re in sugar heaven. Plus you’ll be too bloated to drink beer. Not that beer isn’t wonderful; it’s just not ideal at 7:00 AM before your geology exam. If you want to beat the freshman 15, don’t drink too many of these.

12. Store-bought Donuts

Full of all of the fats that have been unearthed by science, donuts especially those in the store; are full of that risky sugar that college students love for their munchy quality. This is one of the worst foods for the body – but man are they good.

13. Margarine

Sometimes in college, there was time to actually cook breakfast especially if you had a kitchen in your room or suite. Unfortunately, though, many college students simply buy what is cheap without noting the health costs associated with what they are purchasing. Case and point, a stick of margarine. An artery clogging, blood vessel damaging, heartbreaker that promotes cholesterol, margarine is something that all college students should steer clear of. Good luck with that though, right, because it tastes so good.

14. Hot Dogs

Ah, yes who doesn’t love a good hot dog? I remember eating these my first week of school. With all the fixins – mustard, relish, ketchup, cheese, and every other condiment you can think of. College students especially love them because they are quick and painless and satisfy hunger. If only we knew what really went into the creation of hot dogs at manufacturing factories and plants. Mmm!

15. Processed Cereal

Sometimes all you can do before heading off to class is to get a bowl of cold cereal. Preferably Lucky Charms or Honey Nut Cheerios. There are healthy cereals to buy but who wants to buy shredded wheat or cereal with raisins, when they can eat ones filled with marshmallows or shaped in waffle-like shapes.

16. Packaged Pizza

Almost all college students love pizza and there is a tendency to buy frozen ones instead of calling up your local pizza delivery guy and ordering one. Unless it’s vegetarian, this is one of the worst foods a college student can eat, let alone a person. We only eat this because there are so many choices to pick from and you can often get two or three for the price of one when they’re on sale. It may not be Pizza Hut but these staples will help save money.

17. Wafer Cookies

Supposedly a crisp and charming cookie, one would assume that there would be some nutritional value to them. After all, there are many to choose from, but nope, sorry to disappoint. I remember buying these from the grocery store as a college student because it was a sweet treat I could consume during classes, but there is nothing worse than wafer cookies. Not only for their calorie count but, the unpronounceable ingredients that most brands use.

18. Vending Machine Chips

You’ll probably be hard pressed to find quality chips in a vending machine. Most snack brands that we college students are presented with are Cheetos, Doritos, Fritos (hey those rhyme) and Lays with an occasional Sun Chip thrown in for good measure. The salty taste of all of these, go great with a sandwich or a midnight snack. Too bad they are some of the worst chips to eat.

19. Fast Food

College students can’t get enough of the stuff. Kids and adults can’t either. Admittingly, fast food options have gotten healthier over the years but college students often live off the $1 menu at various restaurants. There was a 23-hour fast food restaurant near my dorm (closed 1 hour for maintenance). I was there so much, the $1 menu became one of my best friends – and it has for many other college students. Just remember, fast food is associated with health risks.

20. Deep Fried Snacks

Who doesn’t love deep fried cheese, which is probably the most well-known of the deep fried snacks. Loaded with hormones and salt, our college student bodies can’t help but be pleased with breaded fat. Don’t you agree?

Start a college grocery budget

College is expensive, so it’s easy to fall victim to eating cheap in college. However, a healthy diet goes hand-in-hand with learning. Please don’t keep corners by consuming unhealthy foods. Start a grocery budget and try to purchase the healthiest options you can afford. Like what you read? Learn more about our essay writing service.


Cite This Post

This blog post is provided free of charge and we encourage you to use it for your research and writing. However, we do require that you cite it properly using the citation provided below (in MLA format).

Ultius, Inc. “Eating Cheap in College.” Ultius Blog. Ultius | Custom Writing and Editing Services, 30 May 2013. Web.

Thank you for practicing fair use.

This citation is in MLA format, if you need help with MLA format, click here to follow our citation style guide.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *