Wondering how you can eat healthy on a budget? We’ve got you covered

Written by Guest Blogger

Matilda Boateng is an internationally educated nursing student with a passion for public health. Her extensive experience as a nurse has shown her how health knowledge and literacy can positively impact long-term health and well-being. In her free time, she enjoys spending quality time with her family and actively participating in church activities. 

Are you looking for some practical tips on eating well and budget-friendly meal ideas? I have you covered! I completely understand the struggle to maintain a healthy and well-balanced diet on a tight budget. Managing a budget can be difficult as a student, and unpredictable food prices can make that even more challenging. Despite this, there are ways to make sure you get the nutrients your body needs without breaking the bank. Here are some of our go-to tips and resources.

York’s Open Fridge program

Student Counselling, Health & Well-being (SCHW) hosts an Open Fridge in their reception area that offers an array of free snacks like drinks, cookies, yogurt and more. I call it “grab-and-go.” Why? Because you don't need permission to access it! It’s intended to provide food to those on campus who need it and is open to all York students.

Stay hydrated on campus

Did you know that York has ditched plastic water bottles across campus as a part of its commitment to reducing plastic waste? It's important for me to be environmentally conscious and one way I do my part is by using a reusable water bottle. There are around 70 water refill stations at Keele and Glendon campuses. There is even a water station right outside of SCHW that I use daily and can always count on for clean, cold and filtered water!

Too Good to Go

If you’ve ever wondered what stores do with leftover food at the end of the day, check out the Too Good to Go app. It shows you local restaurants and stores in your area that are selling “surprise bags” of food at a reduced cost. This can help you save money while also helping you do your part to reduce food waste.

Try a new recipe or a new dish at York

There are multiple food-related workshops and resources offered at York that you can access.

Teaching Kitchen

York’s resident registered dietician and on-campus executive chef host free cooking classes that combine culinary teachings using healthy ingredients, nutrition education and mindfulness. 

Feel Good University Eating and Living (FUEL) cookbook

Ashlyn Nguyen (one of our very own peer health educators) and the Health Education & Promotion team have produced FUEL, a cookbook full of recipes that are easy to make and budget-friendly. It was inspired by Ashlyn’s experience as a York student balancing a busy schedule, living independently and eating well.

Pro tip: Eating a variety of foods each day is important for making a difference in your overall health! Canada’s Food Guide can help you learn more about how to create a balanced diet.

Value meals

If you’re looking for great meals for a great price, York’s Value Meal program has so many diverse and healthy options for $5.99, including new plant-forward dishes. They are available at Stong, Winters and Glendon Dining Hall.


Regenesis hosts many initiatives across campus that provide fresh, organic and locally sourced produce and aim to empower students to make healthier food choices. Visit the Yum Market and have a taste for yourself!

A complete list of Food Resources at York can be found on the Division of Students website.