4 Ways to Eat Healthy on a Renter’s Budget


Nutritious switch: Instead of mayonnaise, try picking up a jar of mustard the next time you go for groceries. You’ll save calories and money. (bradleypjohnson via Flickr)

It’s not always easy for the typical apartment renter to eat healthy on a budget.

With rents being pretty high in the Washington, D.C., area, and with all the hustle-bustle of just living, working and playing, some busy people will say the heck with it and stock up on Ho Hos, potato chips, ice cream and hit the drive-through several times a week … or have food delivered nearly as often.

No one says you don’t deserve a break today, but not only is too much of a good thing bad for you health-wise, but McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Burger King (let alone pizza joints and sub places) are heavy on the pocketbook.

[ Related: 4 Tips for Selecting a Roommate ]

Here then are four simple, quick ways to eat healthier on a budget.

1.       Replace sugary beverages with water – OK, not everyone will do this, obviously. And some people love their diet soft drinks as well. And yes, you’ll probably have to get a water filter installed under or on your sink, or at least get a water pitcher filter (you could buy bottled water, but you wouldn’t be saving as much). Drinking water is both healthy and cost effective. Replacing at least some quantity of Coke or orange juice with plain old water, yes, even bottled water, can only help your body and budget.

2.       Eat beans and lots of them – Did you know beans are loaded with protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber, or that most have little fat and can be eaten in a variety of dishes, or even alone? Whether pinto, kidney, lima or garbanzo (commonly known as chick peas, a personal favorite), beans are good, cheap, nutritious fare. CommonSenseHealth has a great list of healthy beans with their nutrition information. WebMD has an excellent article on the disease-fighting powers of beans as well.

3.       Eat lentils – Lentils are among the most healthy and cost-efficient foods in existence. In fact, they’re so good for you that the U.K.’s The Telegraph asks: “Are lentils the perfect food?” Protein, folate, iron, potassium and fiber, what else do you need? Oh yeah, they’re also low in fat.

4.       Mustard over mayonnaise – Some people crave mayonnaise, which is understandable, but did you know mustard has no fat and little or no calories? And it’s cheaper (I looked to make sure, in fact), especially when you buy generic. Always buy generic when you can.

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Scott D

Scott D

Scott is a local writer and has been with the Apartment Showcase blog since its inception in 2010.

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