Moving to college, especially in a big city like Chicago, is extremely exciting. There’s so many things to see, so much food to try. But finding the right food for a college budget is awfully greasy.
1. Drink Water!
Soda is where Chicago gets you. You’ll see soda machines all over the place. It goes on sale more and costs more with water. Use your own water bottle, and take it with you when you leave for class. Staying hydrated will help you stay awake and aware, and can even help you keep your body on track.
2. Choose Your Snacks Carefully
Studying and doing homework is a lot better when you have something to snack on. But chips and chocolate are what’s going to do you in. Stick to pretzels, fruits, and grapes- things that you can snack on while also satisfying the cravings you have. You might get some strawberry stains on your notebooks- but are they any different than the Cheetos stains that you would have gotten on there anyway? Getting fruits that will fill you up faster can make all the difference. Yes, that means going to Whole Foods- but it’ll be worth it overall.
3. Grocery Shop Wisely
Most of the grocery stores around DePaul will unnecessarily mark up their prices. Wherever you go, make sure you take your own reusable bags. Not only will you avoid the bag tax, but you will be able to fit more grocery items in one bag. Aldi is a great choice if you’re willing to travel a bit.
4. Do NOT Fall for the Advertisements!
All over town, you’ll see billboards about these apps where people can bring food to your house for an extra delivery fee. Not only food from restaurants, but things that you can get at a convenience store. So you’ll run the chance of falling prey to those late night cravings and justifying junk food because you’re studying. Getting food at the push of a button tempts you way more.
5. Try Cutting Out Meat
If all else fails and you don’t feel like you can resist temptation, try sticking to cutting out meat. The bigger calorie items tend to be bigger meat dishes like burgers. Start with red meat, then white meat, and then fish. You will be surprised at how much better you start to feel and how fast the weight loss starts. The Stu has plenty of Vegetarian and Vegan options, but if you’re having a bad day, Devil Dawgz on Sheffield sells fries varying from snack-size to bucket.
Staying healthy on a college budget is difficult, but the most important thing to remember is moderation. You can stray from these rules every once in a while, but these aren’t set in stone. They’re meant simply to regulate what you eat, not to control it completely. Because sometimes you crave pizza at 1 am because you’re writing a big paper and you need something to keep you going- we’ve been there.