Following a Meal Plan when Finances are Tight

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope
Making the transition to college when in recovery from an eating disorder may feel overwhelming at times.  Being in a new environment and in different surroundings can make things that you used to do in recovery more challenging.  This may be especially true when it comes to your meal plan and knowing how to find all the foods you need to feed your body appropriately.  You may be in a different environment, such a dorm room, where your cooking abilities are limited to a microwave and small refrigerator.  Other challenges that college students commonly face have to do with finances, and having enough money to buy the foods that you need on a daily basis.

Planning Ahead

checklist-154274_640No matter what challenges you may be facing as a college student, with careful planning and preparation, you can be successful in following your meal plan and sustaining your recovery efforts.  If you have limited financial resources to work with each month, it will be important to have a budget and stick to it.  Feeding your body adequately and appropriately is necessary for you to live and to maintain your recovery, so allotting enough funds towards your food should be a priority.  This may mean cutting down on other outside activities that are non-priority, such as going out.  Remember that your ability to attend college is made possible by your recovery, so keep this in mind while you are budgeting.

Consider utilizing the campus cafeteria as a means of incorporating a meal plan into your college expenses.  This can allow you the options of having a place to eat your meals when money and time is tight.  Learning to shop sales at grocery stores and using coupons, club cards, etc. can also help you save money on your food budget.

Regardless of your situation, nourishing your body should be your top priority, and there are several resources that can help ensure that you are eating adequately.  If you are struggling with making ends meet and find yourself lacking resources you need to feed yourself appropriately, be sure to reach out to a college counselor or mentor who can help advise you through this situation.


Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What are some of the challenges you have faced as a college student in recovery?


The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders.  These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.  We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors.  If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on August 28, 2015. Published on

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