10 Ways To Make Dinner On A Budget

The next installment of our budgeting series tackles the last meal of the day. Sometimes you don’t have time to make a big dinner between the end of classes and the beginning of the night shift. Nonetheless, it’s very important to make time to eat at regular intervals. So here are some great ideas for making your evening meal worth the time.

10. Potatoes ($0.73 / lb.)

Recipe: Loaded Scalloped Potatoes

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Potatoes have been a side and dinnertime staple for a very long time, and for good reason. They’re cheap, full of nutrients, and can be prepared a thousand different ways. They’re also a great source of potassium!

9. Pasta ($1.19 / lb.)

Recipe: Ground Turkey Bolognese

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Who doesn’t love pasta? It’s a great staple that can be made in a variety of different shapes and with a variety of sauces. There’s a ton of reasons to load up your pantry with pasta – not the least of which is that it’s filled with complex carbohydrates. These kinds of carbohydrates that let’s you stay fuller for longer.

8. Beans ($1.34 / lb.)

Recipe: Zesty Wheat Berry-Black Bean Chili

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Beans are another wonderful addition that can be added to salads or soups, or even making them the biggest part of your meal, like with burritos!

7. Canned Tuna ($1.49 – $1.89 / lb.)

Recipe: Tuna Pasta Salad

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Canned tuna is a very easy way to sneak protein into your diet, and it’s super easy to store (at least before you open it). This super fish can help lower blood pressure, boost your immune system, and increase energy. So, basically the main three things that stressed-out college students need.

6. Flank Steak ($7.27 / lb.)

Recipe: Korean-Style Beef Tacos

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This next ingredient is a little more spendy, but who says you can’t treat yourself some of the time? This is one of the leanest parts of the cow, and you can it at a great bargain if you keep your eyes peeled. This kind of meat can give you an iron boost, increase vitamin B-12, and help your metabolism.

5. Carrots ($1 / lb.)

Recipe: Spiced Carrot Fritters

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This is another great staple in your salad and veggie trays! Carrots can boost your immune system, reduce cholesterol, and improve digestion!

4. Chicken ($3.18 / lb.)

Recipe: Spinach, Chickpea, and Chickpea Pitas

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Chicken is delicious and cheap and easy to freeze, so it’s in a million different recipes. Many of which are used every day by college students. The benefits of chicken are the cholesterol control (depending on how you prepare it), a reduced risk of cancer, and blood pressure control.

3. Tilapia ($3.51 / lb.)

Recipe: Tilapia with Sweet Potato Cakes

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Tilapia is a great white fish to fill your freezer with and it’s a nice change if you’re sick of chicken. Tilapia can help you boost immune system, increase bone strength, and improve hair health.

2. Ground Beef ($3.50 / lb.)

Recipe: Tex Mex Meat Loaf

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This is another great protein option for college students, and beef tacos are a favorite of nearly everyone. This red meat option has lots of protein, full of B vitamins and can help boost iron levels.


1. Sticky Rice ($0.35 / lb.)

Recipe: Coconut Mango Sticky Rice

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Need some fast energy? Sticky rice is your answer! This long grain can also help skin health and lower high blood pressure.


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