Fat, sugar and salt leads us to eat more fat, sugar and salt

ZooFari, Wikimedia


Evan-Amos, Wikimedia








Food scientists and marketers have cracked the code on how to make food irresistible. They have learnt how to manipulate any food by layering on as much of the 3 key ingredients as possible. As you may already have guessed, the 3 star players in creating irresistible food are fat, sugar and salt [1].

After reading this post you may start to notice the clever techniques that restaurants use to load on these three addictive food factors. Next time you are dining out, go through a couple menu items and you will undoubtedly find the culprits (though cleverly hidden) behind overeating. Certain salads, for example, are prime models of meals that have been designed by food developers to deliver appealing visual cues and stimulate our appetite. A standard restaurant salad contains lettuce covered in a creamy, sweet dressing, paired with some protein which itself is usually fried or battered and then topped with honey roasted nuts. If you break it down, that’s basically sugar and fat paired with more fat and salt and then topped with sugar. You don’t realize this when you’re eating it because in your mind a salad means vegetables, which means healthy and low-calorie.

It’s no wonder that the weight of the average Canadian and American is on the rise [1].

Eating fat, sugar and salt leads us to crave more fat, sugar and salt [1]. These ingredients activate our reward centers, and upon constant stimulation, we develop an insatiable appetite. Rewarding foods are reinforcing. Hours in the lab are spent figuring out the perfect amounts of fat sugar and salt to keep us hooked [2].

Eating has become more than just sustenance, people eat for experience too. Food can be linked with so many emotions depending on the setting it is served in and how you were feeling when you ate it. This is exactly what restaurants play on when designing their space, creating slogans and engineering the menu. They take advantage of your emotions to deliver an unforgettable meal.

Food addictions, compulsive or emotional eating and overeating are not unique behaviours [2]. They apply to people of all sizes and backgrounds. I can admit that I have a slight food addiction. I love food so much that I think about it constantly. Before I sleep, I think about what I will eat for breakfast when I wake up. When I’m eating one meal, I’m constantly thinking about what I want to eat later.

Luckily there are ways to curb cravings and keep food consumption in check:

1. Be aware of hunger levels. Learn to differentiate between actual hunger and cravings.

2. Avoid processed foods that you cannot stop eating. Eating just one often leads to another and another, and before you realize it you will have eaten the entire package.

3. Stay hydrated. Taking fluids (ex. water, tea, juice) with meals increases satiety. Also, when your body is thirsty it doesn’t care whether it gets water from water or a hamburger, which may lead some people to think that they’re hungry.


1. The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David A. Kessler

2. http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2013/03/05/f-vp-crowe-food-addiction.html

Healthy Minds Breakfast!

Healthy Minds is hosting a breakfast as a part of Stress Less for Exam Success.

Nutrition is very important for academic success so come join us  for food and information about the important link between health and academic success.

Date: Wednesday April 3rd, 2013

Time: 9-11am (or until food runs out)

Location: Centre for Student Involvement in Brock Hall

Oatmeal Blueberry Banana Bread: The friend-maker

The finished product: Oatmeal Blueberry Banana Bread

Post by the Wellness Centre Nutrition and Physical Health team

If you’re looking for a healthy baked treat that you can eat as a study snack or even grab on the way out for breakfast, look no further! This week we’re featuring low-fat Oatmeal Blueberry Banana Bread!

This recipe is almost fat-free, uses minimal added sugar, and has no butter! How often is something so delicious butter-free? If you’ve never tried the sweet tangy combination of bananas and blueberries, prepare to fall in love with this simple recipe. It’s also a great recipe to share (your friends will adore you).

This recipe has a variety of health benefits:

  • Oats have tons of fibre to help keep you full longer.
  • Blueberries have the highest antioxidant capacity of all fresh fruit, which can boost your immune system and help prevent infection.
  • Bananas are high in potassium, which helps the body’s circulatory system deliver oxygen to the brain.

In short, this recipe can help you feel refreshed, full, and focused between meals or when you’re starting a long day of classes. Continue reading “Oatmeal Blueberry Banana Bread: The friend-maker”

Lemon- Soy Red Snapper with Veg: Inexpensive and ready in a snap

Post by the Wellness Centre Nutrition and Physical Health team

Looking to switch up your weekday meal routine? Give fish a try! This versatile recipe can be used with any fish, including salmon, basa, tilapia, or mackerel. The lemon soy marinade provides a delicious full-flavoured tang that’s sure to delight your taste buds.

Even better is the fact that this recipe is relatively inexpensive and is easy to make: a perfect combo for any busy student.

Benefits of this meal

This meal is great for you because:

Easy Overnight Oats: Never skip breakfast again

Ready-to-eat oats with hazelnut and honey topping

Post by the Wellness Centre Nutrition and Physical Health team

You’ve heard it time and time again: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Unfortunately most of us don’t have the time to make a healthy breakfast in the morning.

Often it’s a choice between sleeping in, showering, or eating. Don’t let that happen to you again! March is Nutrition Month and so this is a great time to try incorporating healthier eating habits into your day (like eating breakfast regularly).

Try this super simple recipe that can be prepared the night before and made in endless variations. It’s really inexpensive, too, which is always a good thing.

Benefits of eating breakfast

Eating breakfast is good for you because it:

No-bake Energy Bites!!

Don’t you hate it when you are studying, but all you can think about it food. Then you head to the kitchen and nothing seems appetizing? Then check out the latest video made by the Nutrition Team at the Wellness Centre! This recipe is quick, easy and healthy and will be able to help you with those cravings.

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The Holiday Starbucks post – how to have them while staying healthy

Lately, you’ve been seeing them everywhere….Starbucks red cups!  Peppermint mocha, eggnog latte, creme brulee, gingerbread latte….and they’re not just offered at Starbucks.  It’s cold, it’s rainy, it’s dark, it’s the holiday season, who wouldn’t want one?  While it may be difficult to completely refrain from having that tempting drink, it is possible to make it a bit better for us!  Try the following tips, even if you do one at a time!

(1) Switch up the whole milk.

  •  Ask for skim, 2%, or soy milk to be added to your drink instead of whole milk.

(2) Skip the whip.

  • You can save a lot of empty calories and bad fats by cutting down on the amount of whip cream you add to your drink!

(3) Ask for half-sweet.

  • Even though you aren’t so sure about having your drink less sweet, give it a try!  Some drinks taste just as good (if not even better) when you ask them to add less sugar!


I love food, and if you ask me to eliminate holiday drinks from my life, honestly speaking, I would say no.  However, I love my good health just as much as I love food, so what I like to do is to have smaller portions of food and choose healthier alternatives whenever possible.  This way I can eat my favourite things and still maintain good health — one of the keys to well-being!


Healthy Minds Breakfast

Healthy Minds is hosting a breakfast as a part of Stress Less for Exam Success.

Nutrition is very important for academic success so come join us  for food and information about the important link between health and academic success.

Date: Friday November 30th, 2012

Time: 9-11am (or until food runs out)

Location: Centre for Student Involvement in Brock Hall


Coffee VS. Tea

It is a common assumption that tea is better for you than coffee. It turns out that this is not the case. As an avid coffee drinker, I was extremely happy to come across this information. Both coffee and tea have health benefits, but can also become very unhealthy quite quickly.

I know that most people, including myself, love to indulge in a souped up Starbucks topped with whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate. This is exactly where your early morning pick-me-up can turn into the equivalent of a McDonald’s burger. Once you begin adding cream and sugar to your coffee or tea, it can become unhealthy. Try to avoid adding too much “extra stuff” to your coffee or tea.

On another note, let’s look at some of the health benefits of drinking coffee.

  • Contains antioxidants.
  • May lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease, type II diabetes, and gout
  • Will also reduce risk of certain cancers such as liver and colon

Now let’s note the health benefits of drinking tea.

  • Contains flavonoid antioxidants
  • Contains fluoride which protects teeth
  • Green tea may offer protection against lung cancers

As you can see, whether you choose coffee or tea is really up to you. Here are a few things to remember when deciding between the two.

  • Both contain caffeine which should be taken in small amounts. Try decaf if you’re enjoying an evening drink.
  • Excessive coffee drinking does cause tooth discolouration
  • Tea contains tannin which can lead to anemia

Overall, the choice is yours. Personally, I go for one cup of coffee in the morning to get me going and then switch to green tea for the rest of the day. Which do you prefer, coffee or tea?

Sources of information:

  1. Coffee or Tea: Which is Better?
  2. Coffee vs. Tea: The Health Benefits Compared


Study snack: Honey-glazed Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas

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As we finish up the last few weeks of class and head into exam season once again, it is easy to fall into bad eating habits amidst all the madness

Why waste time on food preparation when we have papers to finish and chapters to catch up on, right? But this is the period when your body needs you to take care of it the most.

Fortunately, the Wellness Centre Nutrition Team has a solution for you: study snacks.

Study snacks

Study snacks have so many things going for them, why wouldn’t you love them?

  1. They are delicious. “I don’t like delicious food”, said no one ever.
  2. They don’t take much time away from surfing Reddit and Facebook to prepare.
  3. They help you get in nutrients you otherwise would be lacking in.
  4. They keep your mouth occupied when trying to focus – hey, fewer chewed up pens? We could all use that.
  5. They make you the most popular person at your study group table.

The key is to choose your study snacks wisely. And to help you with that, we have gone the extra mile to provide you with a simple, delicious recipe to try your hands at making!

Honey-glazed Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas


  • 1 15 oz. can of chickpeas
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp honey


  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • Place the chickpeas in a bowl.
  • Add canola oil, cinnamon, sugar, salt, and honey. Mix.
  • Line baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Spread chickpeas evenly on parchment paper.
  • Bake for 40 minutes.
  • Cool and enjoy.

Eating well on a budget

Bulk food aisle in a grocery store
To save money, try shopping for food in the bulk aisle.
Image credit: bcmom via Flickr / Creative Commons license, some rights reserved

Many students have made efforts to eat healthy, but not everyone can stick with this goal. One of the common barriers is that people think healthy foods are pricier and less convenient.

As a student trying to make their way through a degree, high tuition costs may be hard to swallow. Some of you might have multiple jobs just to keep up with your bills. Fortunately, there are ways you can stretch your food dollars and stay nourished so you can focus on your goals.

Tips for eating well on a budget

  1. Plan ahead. Make a shopping list and browse for coupons before hitting up the grocery store. Check newspapers and flyers for coupons, and visit grocery store websites to see what’s on special.
  1. Stop at the bulk aisle. Buying in bulk is often much cheaper than pre-packaged foods.

Continue reading “Eating well on a budget”

Eating at UBC: Hidden Gems

As a wheat-free vegetarian, I usually have trouble finding decent places to eat out, let alone places with delicious food.  Luckily, UBC has an array of fantastic eateries that cater to people with special diets and a heart for social responsibility tucked into different corners of buildings on campus.

Sprouts: A volunteer, student run cafe located in Room 66 in the basement of the Student Union Building.  This quaint room has a lovely selection of vegan and wheat free bakery items, along with fresh coffee or tea. My favorite item has got to be the mouth-watering Quinoa Blondie!  You can also find vegan soups and breads made with UBC farm and other local ingredients.  On Friday’s Sprouts hosts “Community Eats”, a by-donation hearty vegan hot-lunch.  Yes, believe what you read friends, a HEARTY vegan meal!  Don’t forget to bring your own tupperware!

Agora Cafe: Another volunteer, student run eatery located in the basement of the MacMillan Building.  Vegetarians can rejoice at the range of delicious lunch items including soups, quiche, veggie-packed lasagna and sandwiches.  Agora also has a diverse offering of baked goods, including their infamous granola bar – a delectable bar that has almost become a daily staple in my campus life!  This cafe’s philosophy is to “aim to be affordable, available, appropriate, safe and sustainable”, so you can be sure you are getting amazing food for a great price.  With plenty of seating room, Agora is a prime spot to grab lunch with friends or relax into your studies with a coffee and baked good, each for only $1.00.

The Loop Cafe: A relatively new eatery on the scene, the Loop is located in the eco-friendly CIRS building.  This cafe offers soup, salad and hot food bars, with a menu that changes every other day.  You can also find regular and gluten free bakery items to pair with self serve drinks including italian sodas, fresh teas and coffee.  The CIRS building is one of the greenest buildings in North America, known for its sustainable practices and goals in remaining energy-neutral.  This means that all food at the Loop Cafe is sourced as close to UBC as possible. A must-visit spot, if only to gaze at their beautiful gypsy tea!

With these three eateries, you are sure to find food that is scrumptious, affordable and supportive of social responsibility.  Keep in mind that both Sprouts and Agora are run by student volunteers, meaning that they need people like YOU to help them continue to run.  Visit their websites to check out how you can get involved.

Raw Foodism: Dreamcake Edition

Since attempting to be as vegan as possible this past year, I have become increasingly interested in taking it to the next level by going RAW!

Raw eating is a food movement that avoids both exposing food to temperatures over 48 degrees Celsius and/or eating food that requires cooking. This ensures that important nutrients and enzymes aren’t destroyed while also preventing the formation of free radicals and toxins that the heat of cooking may create. It is said that increasing your consumption of raw foods can increase energy, mental clarity and ensure a better sleep. Connecting with the Earth through eating more fresh foods also means less packaging, an eco-friendly plus!

Raw foodism doesn’t have to be only fruits and veggies. In fact, I found a recipe for a “dreamcake”, or a raw version of a cheesecake and gave it a go this week with my friend, Brandon (a baking genius). The crust is made of dates and walnuts and the cake part is made of cashews, agave (a natural sweetner), coconut oil and raspberries. The recipe was super easy, relatively quick to whip up and all of the ingredients are easy to find at any grocery store. The KEY to success in getting creative with raw eating is having a food processor or a very strong blender! Brandon’s non-vegan perspective on the final result was that the dreamcake was “interesting, more like a cashew lemon sorbet”. Although it was tasty, it was a far cry from cheesecake. However, seeing how simple it was to make this recipe, I am even more motivated to keep trying new ones!

Raw eating can seem intimidating, but it actually turns out to take even less time than baking and usually only involves pressing the “pulse” button on your food processor. There are a ton of fantastic recipes on the web for raw “baking”, a way to become more concious of your eating habits, have a higher nutrient intake and re-connect to the Earth and the fresh food it naturally provides.

Raw Brownie

Rawmazing Recipes

Why Eat Raw?


Shopping at Vancouver’s Fantastic Summer Farmers Markets

Eating local doesn’t have to be scary and challenging, now that the Farmer’s Market season is in full swing. Unfortunately, few students are even aware of the markets that are operating throughout the summer in Vancouver. If you are into the local food scene or just curious to learn more about shopping locally and eating nutritionally, here is a guide and some useful tips to shopping at a Farmer’s Market – what to look for, locations to shop, the seasons for the different fruits & vegetables and any other helpful tips you might have.

10 Tips for Smart Shopping at Vancouver Farmers Markets:

1)      Get there early to get the best available produce. This also applies to meat and fish – the freshest loads arrive in the morning. I try to be there as soon as the markets are open.

2)      Bring your own reusable bags to save from using plastic. Stay green while shopping!

3)      Bring cash – most vendors will be cash only. Occasionally some larger vendors will have Interact, but its always better to be prepared.

4)      Always ask the farmer or vendor what is in season right now, especially with fresh fruits and vegetables. There is a period during the growing season when each produce is at its best and is most plentiful. Try to educate yourself on this matter before heading to the market so you know what to look for. Here’s a great resource and a handy calendar for fridge décor to keep track of what’s in season.

5)      Find a balance between unnecessary handling someone’s produce and feeling for perfect ripeness.

6)      Don’t be afraid to ask for a taste test of something before deciding to buy it! Vendors like it when you show interest and want to learn more about their products.

7)      If you are on the hunt for a rare, specialty item, such as a Fuet salami from Spain, go straight to the meat section. Don’t waste time looking – just ask for what you’re looking for and someone can always direct you where to go.

8)      Make an effort to educate yourself on where your food is coming from by asking lots of questions and reading written material about the farms.

9)      Don’t be too stingy or expect cheap prices – the purpose of Farmers Markets is to help support local farmers working hard to provide the community with the best, freshest (and hopefully organic) produce. This comes with extra costs that are essential and relative to the added benefits of supporting farmers markets. At the same time, it’s wise to compare prices between different stands for a similar product, such as heirloom tomatoes, and to see which looks better and offers the best price. Put your money where it counts for you – whether it be that special cheese, variety of wine or luscious chocolate – the extra added cost is most often always worth it.

10)  Go with a friend and make it a picnic afterwards with your goodies. Shopping at Farmers Markets should be social and fun!

Summer 2012 Vancouver Farmers Market Directory:

Granville Island Farmer’s Market
Everyday, 9am – 3pm
June 7 – October 25
Location: Granville Island – outside the Public Market

Trout Lake Farmers Market
Saturdays, 9am – 2pm each week
May 12 – October 20
Location: North Parking Lot of John Hendry Park at Trout Lake, between Templeton and Lakewood south of the 13th Avenue Alley
Please note: There is no parking in the North Lot and no parking on 13th Avenue. Please park away from the area and walk in. Better yet, walk, cycle or take transit if you can!

Kitsilano Farmers Market
Sundays, 10am – 2pm
May 20 – October 21
Location: Parking Lot of Kitsilano Community Centre

West End Farmers Market
Saturdays, 9am – 2pm each week
June 2 – October 20
Location: 1100 Block of Comox Street across from Nelson Park at Mole Hill

Main Street Station at Thornton Park
Wednesdays, 3pm – 7pm
June 6 – October 3
Location: 1100 Block Station Street along Thornton Park across from the VIA Rail Station and near the Main St. Skytrain Station


Some great blogs with healthy recipes:




Best vegetarian blog out there: http://www.101cookbooks.com/

Refreshing, Delicious, AND Healthy Summer Snacks!

As we splash into July and August, we’re all hoping to see those hot, blazing, sunny days!  And what does summer weather call for?  Summer treats!  Ice cream, popsicles, pop; you name it!  Sadly, these snacks are quite high in sugar and do not provide a lot of nutrients….which is why I’m writing this post!  I have a few ideas here of what can be your favourite snacks this summer:

Frozen Fruits

Bananas, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi…..just put them into a plastic container and stick it in the freezer!  Don’t forget to peel your bananas first!

Frozen Yogurt

Purchase little containers of yogurt at your local supermarket and pop them into the freezer and ta-da!  A sweet, icy, and nutritious treat!

Ice Water

Sounds like a plain one eh?  Think again!  Have fun with your water by adding slices of lemons of cucumbers, or some mint and ginger to get some crazy flavours.  Be creative!


Make your own smoothies.  Drink them as is, or pour them into popsicle moulds/ice cube trays and freeze them.  Here is a couple of super-healthy and tasty recipes from our UBC Wellness Peers.

Healthy summer snacking isn’t that hard now, is it?  Do your mind and body a favour by trying out these snacks I suggested; however, do still have a little bit of your favourite ice cream sundae!  Just remember the 80-20 rule (eat healthy 80% of the time and treat yourself for the other 20%)!

What foods do you like to have in the summer?  Share it with us!

Eating Seasonally: Nutritious and Delicious!

As spring gives us a taste of the warm summer months to come, produce prices begin to reduce and I am reminded of the blessed bounty of locally grown food available in BC.  Although we are able to buy almost anything we might desire all year round, there are personal and community health benefits to eating seasonally and locally that motivate me to think twice before I purchase produce grown oceans away from me.

By eating according to what the Earth provides seasonally, we can remain in touch with nature while reducing the environmental impact that producing and transporting non-seasonal produce has.  The peak nutritional value in produce is reached when it is ripened via nutrients from the stem that it grows from.  Produce shipped from thousands of miles away is picked before it is ripe and loses nutritional value each day after it is harvested.   When grown in the appropriate season and conditions, produce is able to exhibit all of it’s natural nutrients and grow abundantly.  This means more nutritious and cost-effective fruits and vegetables for your belly and wallet!

I challenge you to:

  • Invite a friend to spend the morning exploring the plentiful and diverse farmers markets in and around Vancouver
  • See if you can cook an meal entirely made of products grown within BC
  • Take a moment to savour the freshness and flavour that bursts from produce grown locally and with love
  • Venture to a local farm – who knows what you will find! Corn mazes, country stores, u-pick berries, farms tours and more are available just a few kilometers from your doorstep

In buying local products, you are supporting your community’s ability to produce delicious and nutritious food while reducing your own carbon footprint.  A worthy way to spend those scarce student dollars!

Check out the links below to find out what foods to look for each month and where to buy them!

What’s in season this month?

Where can I buy local?

Farms in the Fraser Valley


Vegan Baking!

Have you always wanted to try out vegan baking, but have been scared to or did not have the right resources? Or are you already a vegan and looking for some fun new baking recipes to try out this summer? Then look no further. Below are some excellent resources and tips to get you started on your vegan baking adventure!

Substitutions to make your favorite recipes vegan:

Do you have some favorite recipes, but want to try and make them vegan for a change? There is an excellent resource provided by PETA that provides easy substitutions for a few key ingredients so your favorite recipes can easily be made vegan.

Excellent recipe websites:

If you are like me, then you are always looking for new recipes to try out and experiment with. It can be hard to figure out which websites to look at when there are so options from just googling “Vegan Baking”. Here are some of my favorite websites: Vegan Baking, All Recipes, Food Gawker. Something to pay attention to before trying out a new recipe is the recipe rating and the comments below. The rating will tell you how many people have tried this recipe and liked it and the comments usually have helpful tips to change up the recipe and make it better.

Follow these tips and you will be baking vegan treats in no time!


Mmmm Vegan Apple Pie!!
Mmmm Vegan Apple Pie!!

Brain Foods

Tips for Eating Healthy While Studying

For those of you starting summer school here are some helpful tips for you while studying. Summer school can be stressful with course material being packed into a short amount of time and I have noticed as my stress level increases so does the amount of junk food I eat. This is a typical pattern I experience during stressful times and it is obviously not the best way to keep my brain active and alert. I tackle this problem with the following gradual, but conscious changes:

1)      Snack on Fruit – I tend to always get a craving for chocolate or sugar when I study long hours, but some fruit, or yogurt with honey might also do the trick. Especially good while studying are blueberries. According to The Society of Neuroscience, Blueberries may help “optimize brain function.” If you are still craving chocolate, look at tingkelly’s post on how to maximize the health benefits of chocolate.

2)      Munch on Nuts – Another bad habit that I have when I study, is a need to munch on some sort of salty food. Much healthier than chips, are nuts. I usually go to Costco and buy a large tub of cashew nuts, probably enough to last you 2 months, and for only $10. Nuts are a great snack as they are good for your brain. According to The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, nuts, fruits, and vegetables “may improve immunity, vascular function, and brain performance.” – A great thing while studying.

3)      Drink Water – I usually find that while studying, I am not drinking as much water as I should be. With the weather getting warmer and with the need to be able to perform at your peek, drinking water is essential! According to a Luminosity.com a website that provides brain training games, “A lack of water results in cognitive deficits in attention, memory and processing speed.” – So stay hydrated while you study.

Good luck with your studies and remember to eat fruit & nuts, and stay hydrated!!

Fruit in a Blender
Smoothies make an excellent study snack!!



Healthy Minds Tip: Busting nutrition myths

Vegetables in a grocery store.
Image credit: karindalziel / flickr

Healthy eating and nutrition can sometimes be confusing. From day to day we can hear mixed messages about what we should and should not eat. How do you know what is truly right?

In celebration of Nutrition Month this March, the Dietitians of Canada are busting some of the top nutrition myths. See how you stack up by taking this quick myths and facts quiz with answers provided by the Dietitians of Canada: Continue reading “Healthy Minds Tip: Busting nutrition myths”

Eat Healthy, Save Money

Many students have made efforts to eat healthy, but not everyone can stick with this goal. One of the common barriers is that people think healthy foods are pricier and less convenient. Being one of those people who strives to maintain a healthy diet, I would like to share my experiences.

When I first decided to add more veggies and fruits to my diet, I enjoyed the change tremendously, but eating at salad bars and smoothie places everyday drained my budget quickly. I spent around $20 a day for just lunch and dinner. It was not until I started to make meals myself that I realized I could certainly eat healthier for less money.

I decided to prepare meals myself for 5 days. I put around $60 in my budget and bought fresh ingredients including eggs, vegetables, bread, deli meat…to make foods like sandwiches, salads, or vegetable woks. Then, for 5 days, I made myself lunches and dinners. Although the ingredients were set, there were ways to combine them differently to make alternative dishes. To my surprise, the food I bought successfully lasted for 10 meals, each meal containing an adequate proportion of vegetables, meat, carbohydrates, and fat. Overall, I spent about $12 a day on average, that was $40 less a week compared with eating out. If you have a freezer, it is also a great idea to buy frozen fruits and make smoothies yourself.

My experience suggests that preparing food at home may save money and maintain a healthy diet. I suggest starting out small, like bringing lunch to school 2 days a week.