By Chelsea Ware
My first quarter at PSU taught me just how much of an impact healthy eating has on overall well-being. Like many students away from home for the first time, I considered frozen pizzas the base of the food pyramid. When I wasn’t at Victor’s in Ondine eating cake and burgers for lunch, I was at Starbucks setting a record for the most iced coffees consumed in 24 hours. While I didn’t gain the notorious “freshman 15,” I did notice other changes. I was constantly catching a cold, my skin looked dull and I was tired during my classes. I decided to make a change and embarked on a journey to find healthy, nutritious food items that are college budget friendly.
My favorite place to shop is Whole Foods Market. With the nickname “whole paycheck” many don’t see them as being economical. However, I disagree. While they do have some pretty expensive items, they also have a wide array of name brand products that are comparable or less expensive than the same items at other grocery stores. For instance, their 365 roasted red pepper pasta sauce for $2 is amazing. In addition, the knowledgeable and friendly staff is great when it comes to finding low priced items. Whenever I go in, the employees at the butcher counter tell me what is on sale and give me recipes on how to use it. As a result, I’ve never had a problem eating right and staying within my financial plan at Whole Foods.
The Safeway near campus has made many recent improvements to offer healthy eating options. They have expanded their organic produce section and added a larger assortment of nutritious staple items such as brown rice, organic granola, and whole grain bread. With a club card, Safeway makes it convenient and affordable for students to make healthier choices.
The Farmers Market is also a great resource for wholesome eating. For those like me who live on campus, the one in the park blocks on Saturday mornings is a fantastic place to purchasing fresh produce. Strolling by the various booths trying samples and socializing is a fun way to spend the morning, and I love knowing that my purchases benefit the local community.
Learning to cook in bulk with quality ingredients has had a huge positive impact on my health. I have a stronger immune system and I feel much more energetic during the day, and I’m sure that if you try it, you will see a difference too. For quick nutritious recipes, I recommend checking out http://greatist.com/health/cheap-healthy-recipe-collection. Feel free to post your tips for overcoming bad eating habits below!