How To Eat Healthy On A Student Budget


Eating healthy on a budget is possible - I know because I've done it myself. In this post I share my best tips on how to make the most of the money you do have.

We can be pretty good at over-complicating things – especially when it comes to what we eat. Not sure if you’re doing it? I have a way to tell:

Have you ever googled a celebrity’s diet?

If the answer is a yes (don’t worry, that’s my answer too) you’re making things harder than you need to. In fact, I can guarantee you that right now, at this very moment in time, you already know everything you need to to eat a healthy diet.

Eating healthy food is simple and it can be done on a budget.

How do I know? I’m doing it. I don’t collect coupons and I don’t buy 20kg of chicken breast to freeze when it goes on special. I just follow a few simple principles.

Don’t have savings?

All of this only matters if you have money to spend on food (and ideally, if you don’t feel stressed about having money to spend on food).

I know that saving while you’re a student is hard. 

You don’t have much time to work and it’s not cheap to be a student either. I get it.

But there are a few things you can do to make it that bit easier. I’ve learned a lot about saving money while I’ve been studying, so I decided to create a free guide to share what I’ve learned with you.

The FREE 5-page guide is on 3 simple ways to save more money as a student.

And in it I share 3 things I do as a student to stay on top of my savings (so I have money for the things I actually want to do, like travel).

I really encourage you to download a copy of the free guide right now – learning how to save more money is such an amazing investment in both yourself as a student and your future. And that’s the whole reason you’re a student, right? Because you decided it’s important to invest in yourself. So make sure you do it!

Just click the button below to download your free copy of the guide:

1. Figure out your budget

This is probably the trickiest bit.

Eating a healthy diet is an investment in yourself – it gives you more energy, makes you more productive and allows you to have more self-confidence. But at the same time, there are other things that you need to spend your money on too so it may take you a little while to figure out the perfect balance.

My budget is $50/week.

Over the past few years I’ve found that this is the amount of money I need to spend to eat the foods that make me feel amazing and that when I spend more than this I don’t really see any benefit.

Your budget will depend on your income, your other expenses, whether health is one of your priorities and how creative you want to be.

If you live in Australia and are just feeding yourself (like me), I would say that $40-$60 per week is a fairly good place to start.

2. Decide what you want to eat

Now I know I said that you already know everything you need to about what a healthy diet looks like, but if you’ve drawn a complete blank I found this awesome post on (7 Days To Skinny Jeans) to prompt your memory.

It’s a reminder of everything you already know and has some great, simple meal suggestions.

The thing about eating healthy on a budget is that you have to either become really creative or sacrifice a bit of variety. So here’s what you can do:

  • choose one breakfast meal, one lunch meal and one dinner meal that you’re going to have every day this week
  • choose 2 breakfast meals, 2-3 lunch meals and 2-3 dinner meals that you’re going to have this week that have overlapping ingredients (if you choose this option it will also serve you to choose meals that only have a small number of ingredients)

I go by the first option – every morning I have muesli with yoghurt, fruit and almond milk and some protein powder (I have the protein powder separately, mixed with some almond milk). For lunch I have either a boiled egg or poached chicken and salad on a multigrain breadroll and for dinner I have a poached chicken and veggie stirfry or I make a healthy vegetable lasagne or something like that to have every night that week.

I’m the kind of person that doesn’t mind eating the same thing everyday (in fact I kind of love not having to make a decision about it!).

But if you like variety that’s ok – you don’t have to sacrifice it – you just have to be a little creative and make an effort to eat things that have overlapping ingredients.

But don’t forget: keep it simple.

3. Choose a few non-negotiables

By this I mean that you should figure out 3 foods that you LOVE eating and make sure you include them in your meals.

For example, I love blueberries on my muesli in the morning and although they are expensive (at $5/punnet) I buy them every week – to me it’s worth it.

I also love avocados, but once they get expensive (over $2/avocado) I don’t buy them – it’s just not worth that much to me.

I think doing this is really important because when you’re eating on a budget it can be really easy to feel deprived and go off-track, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Just figure out a few non-negotiables that you are going to include in your budget no matter what the price (assuming they’re not ridiculously expensive) and it will help you feel more satisfied with what you eat and help you stick to your budget.

You don’t have to skimp on everything!

4. Don’t get caught up in health crazes

This is a big one!

Especially if your Insta feed looks anything like mine and there are always 20 new amazing health foods that everyone says you should be trying.

I’m not saying these suggestions aren’t great ones, but they don’t form the core of what you need to eat to have a healthy diet so don’t over-complicate things.

Eating healthy should be simple.

Once you’ve got the basics down you can start adding some chia seeds to your breakfast but until then, don’t worry about what quark is.

5. Set yourself up for success

Being super restrictive is not the answer to eating healthy but there are things you can do to make healthy eating easier.

And one of those things is definitely restricting the amount of crap food you buy – because if it’s not in the house you’re way less likely to eat it!

Sure, you can buy yourself a couple of treats if you want. But don’t go buying three blocks of chocolate and then be surprised that you ate them. Do things that are going to make success easier, not harder.

And if you’re struggling with saving, don’t forget to download your free 5-page guide, just click the button below!


Are there any suggestions you would add?

Let me know in the comments below!

Sam xx

P.S. If you’re a procrastinator, keep reading to learn about my online course for procrastinators called Get Out Of Your Own Way:

Take your life to the next level

Four years ago, I found myself trapped in a vicious cycle of procrastination and guilt. Whenever I tried to do simple life tasks (like going to the gym, eating right and organising my time) it felt like I was trying to move mountains!

After work, I was too exhausted to do anything more than make food and lay in bed watching another episode of my favourite show. I kept telling myself I deserved a break, but I never enjoyed it. I felt guilty for wasting my time but I didn’t stop (and when I did find myself with time to do the things I wanted, I just kept procrastinating – gahh!).

And I wish it stopped there, but then I beat myself up for procrastinating! I felt like I was behind everyone else and letting everyone down, so I procrastinated even more.

No matter how many hours I spent reading motivation articles on Pinterest or how many times I filled out a new planner, I just couldn’t make myself change – even though I knew I was the one stopping myself from progressing. And I had all the advice right in front of me!

And because this whole situation was frustrating AF (and I knew I was better than that, even though I didn’t have the evidence to prove it) I dedicated myself to figuring out how to stop sabotaging my own success.

After trying hundreds of different things, it finally clicked! And this year I’ve been able to quit my full-time job for blogging, I’m more productive and focused than I’ve ever been in my life and I’ve finally stopped feeling like I’m behind! Plus it’s actually easy to workout everyday and eat healthy (which I never thought would be possible).

And since everything I’ve learned has COMPLETELY changed my life, I decided to put the very best of it together in a step-by-step course!

Get Out Of Your Own Way-6

My online course for procrastinators

Get Out Of Your Own Way is a self-paced online video course that gives you the tools and mindset shifts you need to stop procrastinating, follow through with all your plans and have the courage to finally pursue your dreams – even if your life is totally overwhelming and you have no idea what you want to do!

I’ll just let you know that this course won’t be for you if you’re looking for quick-fix procrastination tips (let’s be real – you’ve seen all those already and they haven’t worked) or you’re afraid to dig deep and uncover the real reasons you’ve been holding yourself back.

But if you’re ready to make a change and need someone to guide you through the very first step – it could be just the thing you need!




Want to eat healthy in college? Need tips and advice on how to save money in your twenties? This is a must-read blog post with advice for all twenty-something students on how to create an inexpensive healthy daily habit!
Want to eat healthy in your twenties? Need tips and advice on how to save money? This is a must-read blog post with advice for all twenty-something students on how to create an inexpensive healthy daily habit!

Author: Sam Brown

  • This is extremely helpful! I find myself going way over budget every week and I’m like, “Do I REALLY need an eggplant, asparagus, golden beets, parsnips, kale, AND brussels sprouts?” I guess not. Lately I’ve been cutting back on buying tons of veggies that usually go to waste and sticking to two a week, and making sure I finish all of them.

    And I’m like you, I totally don’t mind eating the same thing every day. I actually like the predictability. Save the surprises for the bedroom, haha, j/k 🙂

    • Hey Whitney,

      I find myself in that situation all the time – especially when I go to the farmer’s markets and there are so many amazing things to try! It took a lot of self-control to get into the habit of only buying what I know I’ll eat!

      Sam xx

  • I buy frozen everything and I buy NON perishable veggies/fruits like winter squash! Those last forever, and taste delicious whenever you make them, which is great 🙂 So if you buy it this week, you could cook it in 3 weeks time!

    • Thanks for your suggestion 🙂 Buying non-perishable fruit and veggies is a really good way to make sure you always have something healthy on hand and you never have to throw out food because you couldn’t eat it in time! It’s also really good to do if you haven’t figured out exactly how much food you need to buy each week (like when you just move out of home). I know there were quite a few weeks at the beginning where I had to chuck out fruit and veggies because I wasn’t used to buying for 1!

      Sam xx

  • This is such a helpful post! I also love blueberries and I eat them every morning with my oatmeal. I buy frozen ones and I get the biggest bag possible. It’s cheaper in the long run and lasts for a few months! My internship this semester is unpaid (UGH) so I will definitely be using these tips! Thanks!

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