We've got this question from a reader:
Can you recommend a diet for college students on a low budget?
Here is the answer
You have not described the type of diet you are interested in. I assume that you are not talking about a diet to lose weight, but a diet that is geared towards to eat healthy and build muscle.
The food of expensive organic is obviously off, fast food restaurants (occasionally) and discount department stores are in. Here is your shopping list:
- White rice (5-pound bag)
- Canned Tuna (Brand Live Planet, if possible in cellophaned stacks by CostCo)
- Canned chicken
- Mayonnaise (made with olive oil)
- Dave's Killer Bread
- Cottage cheese
- Dehydrated fruits
- Natural peanut butter
- Milk. Lots, lots of milk.
This diet is not perfect, but you're college-age, which means you're pretty indestructible and can survive a non-optimal diet for months, if not years. Even so, a diet consisting of the foods listed above covers most of your fatty acid and nutritional needs and is probably healthier than 99% of your compatriots' food.
Buy a small rice cooker. Use it to make tubs of rice that you can store in your lean refrigerator. (Cook it first and then put it in the fridge to make the starch more resistant.) Mix the canned tuna or chicken in it with a little olive oil to make a pretty tasty meal.
Use the same canned chicken, along with tuna, peanut butter, or hard-boiled eggs (with Mayo olive oil spread) to make a variety of sandwiches with Dave's Killer Bread, which is a nutritional phenomenon due to its loneliness.
Milk, however, can be your insurance. It's pretty cheap and each jar has about 8 grams of protein. While I'm not one of those GOMAD guys (gallons of milk a day), I think pure milk is a good substitute for a lot of conventional, normal manufacturers made in China of convicts and protein powders. 1
The only thing missing from this "diet" is some vegetables, but vegetables are easy to get. Just make it a rule that if you eat at a fast food restaurant, you have to order the unfriendly, obligatory salad they offer on the menu. Think of it as the penance you have to pay before you eat your bacon cheeseburger.
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