How I’m Eating Clean On a Budget As a Busy College Student


Hi babes! 🙂 I missed you all! I just want to say that I am SO EXCITED to finally be writing this post.  To be really honest, I have been saying I would write this post for weeks after you all asked and while I have been taking pictures of food and testing and finalizing recipes, I didn’t feel like I had the time to sit down and write it well until now. That being said, I am so sorry that it took so long to get this up! This topic of healthy eating has become a passion of mine and I’m so excited to share this series.

Also, I hope that this post/series will be super helpful to you! I think that something I believed for a long time was that you have to have a lot of money to eat healthily and to be in good shape. That is SO not true! You don’t need a gym membership to be in good shape, you don’t need fancy equipment, and you don’t need a huge grocery budget. I’ve done everything I’m going to write about while paying for school :).

All of that said, let’s get into the post! If you made it this far you’re the best, lol! Also, I’ll touch on fitness in the next post in this series. I want to make this a series so that the posts don’t get too long, and I can cover everything! 🙂


Honestly, this section will be kind of empty. So sorry guys! I try to eat a breakfast bar here and there or some fruit, and pretty often I have a mid-morning snack like hummus and crackers. I also love to eat everything bagels with cream cheese, so I have those as a breakfast treat sometimes! I also like granola. I work early in the morning, which is why I typically just bring a snack with me to work instead of eating a whole breakfast.

Breakfast grocery list:

  • Everything bagels (these can double for dinner with eggs and fruit or bacon!)
  • Cream cheese (I always toast the bagel and eat it with cream cheese)
  • Strawberries, mango or raspberries
  • If I eat a breakfast bar it’s a CLIF bar, although I haven’t had one in a while.
  • This past week, I tried Trader Joe’s Just the Clusters Maple Pecan Granola and it was SO good!



I do eat some snacks throughout the day, usually around 3 when I get home, or around 10 if I brought a snack to work because I work morning shifts. I honestly love snacks, and I have a weakness for chips, lol. When I was in high school I stopped eating chips completely because felt like I ate them too much (I totally did), and now they’re more of a treat for me! I try to eat things like cheese or hummus with crackers, but every now and then I have to pick up a bag of Hot Cheetos or Cool Ranch Doritos. I have a problem lol!


  • One snack I love is hummus with roasted vegetable crackers. ALDI sells pine nut hummus for around $1.50 and crackers for $1.40, and both are SO good!
  • I’m not sure if this is a snack and it’s definitely more of a splurge, but every now and then I buy myself a box of Bubly. My favorite is the strawberry! 🙂
  • I also really like cauliflower. I’ll be really honest, I don’t love to snack on most veggies, but these are really good especially with a dip! Kroger has little packs of pre-cut cauliflower and other veggies that sometimes go on sale for $1.25. 🙂
  • Also, this is a really simple snack, but I love to snack on cheese. I really do think that I could live on cheese, lol! I buy the 1 lb block of cheddar cheese from Walmart and use it for cooking as well.


IMG_4549 2

Lunch/Dinner Meals:

I decided to combine these categories because as of right now, I’m only cooking for myself so I use a lot of these recipes interchangeably for meals. I’ll start by talking about some of my favorite ingredients to use!

First, I like to have a salad with a lot of my meals and add in some veggies. I personally only like to use romaine and baby spinach, because those are the only two I really like that are really nutritious! You can also use kale, but I personally HATE kale haha. However, if you love it that’s a good option too! 🙂 I also put carrots in my salad because they’re good for you (high in vitamin A), and also because I don’t like to snack on them and like them better in a salad.

When buying meat, I eat a lot of chicken and usually buy it by the pound at Kroger’s meat counter. I also like bacon and ground beef, but don’t eat it as much because I don’t think it offers as many options when  I’m just cooking for myself! I also buy a rotisserie chicken every now and then, shred it and freeze it for quick meals. Kroger has a slightly more expensive but organic rotisserie chicken option for around $8! But if you need a cheaper option, Walmart and Sam’s Club have them for $5 (I personally think Sam’s is a little better quality!).

Here are a few of my favorite recipes! –

  • I made this Creamy Italian Chicken for Michael last week (first picture). We both loved it! The only changes I made were: I only used half a can of cream of chicken, 3/4 of a box cream cheese, and four whole chicken breasts instead of four halves. I would cut this in half if it’s only for you though because it made a lot! I served it on top of rice, with french onion potatoes and a salad.
  • Chicken Caesar Spinach Pasta Salad – You can also make this with kale, but this is the only thing I like with kale in it and I always end up buying too much. So last time I used baby spinach and it turned out great! I do everything in this to taste, so I don’t have a recipe, but it’s super simple. The ingredients are kale or spinach, black pepper, caesar dressing, rotisserie (or homemade) chicken, and pasta. Parmesan would also be really good to add!
  • Southwest Chicken Wrap – I sautee chicken with this Weber seasoning, olive oil, a little salt, and sometimes butter, then put it on a tortilla with southwest ranch dressing, romaine lettuce and shredded cheese. It’s so good and filling, and can be made healthier with a whole wheat tortilla or using the lettuce in place of a tortilla!
  • Sometimes I also have breakfast for dinner and have an everything bagel with cream cheese and two eggs.
  • Lastly, if I don’t feel like cooking too much, I just sautee some chicken in the same seasoning and mix it with noodles and cheese and a little butter, or rice with stir fry sauce and broccoli.



Lastly, here are two pics with my favorite cheat meals – Italian (I could eat it for every meal) and Chickfila (for obvious reasons), lol. I try to eat clean but it’s ok to have a cheat day every now and then! Treat yourself 😘. I hope you all loved this post and that it helps you out! Let me know on insta or in the comments if you try any of these. Thanks for reading babes!


Gabby 🙂


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