How to eat healthy on a student budget

Check out these free resources on how to eat healthy on a student budget.

Why eat fresh produce?

Reduced risk of chronic diseases

A daily intake of fruits and vegetables may contribute to reduce risks of heart disease, certain types of cancers, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Increase intake of rich-nutrients

Fresh fruits and vegetables are an important source of rich-nutrients for the human body. Nutrients include potassium, fiber, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin C and many more.

Feel good: mentally and physically

Pairing healthy and fresh produce with daily exercise is a great way to release stress and improve overall mood.

Healthy eyes, skin and teeth

Vitamin A promotes healthy eye and skin health while protecting against infections. Produce includes apricots, carrots and tomatoes. Vitamin C maintains positive dental health. Produce includes kale, broccoli, strawberries and pineapples.

Tip—Use the Cougar Food Pantry to save money on non-perishable items. Shop outside for fresh fruits and vegetables to support a balanced diet. Be sure to check out our fresh food events.

Information from United States Department of Agriculture.

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Buy food locally

Buying produce from local farms is a great way to receive a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits. Eating local produce also supports your community agriculture and food systems!

Farmers market

The city of Vancouver has a total of four local farmer markets including: Camas Farmers Market, Ridgefield Farmers Market, Salmon Creek Farmers Market and Vancouver Farmers Market. Review days, times and more information.

SNAP (Fresh Match)

SNAP has partnered with Camas, Salmon Creek and Vancouver Farmers Market where customers who use $5 of snap benefits at a farmers market can receive up to $5 more to buy fresh and healthy produce! Read about Fresh Match.

WIC Program

The Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) has created the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program to supply additional funds for fresh produce to eligible women. Learn about WIC.

Farm Finder

Hosted by Washington State University, Farm Finder is a great navigator to find local, fresh and organically grown produce in your area. Search Farm Finder.


LocalHarvest is a great resource to search for local farms, farm stands, food co-ops, farmers markets, and restaurants that serve local and fresh produce. Search LocalHarvest.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Participating in a CSA is a popular way to support local farms and receive seasonal ultra-fresh produce. By signing up with a local farm, you receive a variety of fruits and vegetables and it's a fun way to try new recipes! Find a CSA near you.

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Why buy bulk foods?

Less material waste

Bulk foods reduce the amount of material waste from food packaging such as plastic from going into landfills.

Less food waste

Shopping for the exact quantity needed decreases the chance of excess food to be thrown away.

Economically savy

Consumers of bulk foods save money by only buying the desired amount needed.

Locally shop bulk

Winco Foods, Fred Meyer's, Chuck's Produce, New Season's, Whole Foods, Natural Grocers

Information from Bulk is Green Foundation.

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How to shop organic on a student budget

Choosing organic

Organic produce isn't always cheap, but consuming organic food is good for the body and the environment.

Human health

Organic foods provide higher nutritional value and are free from synthetic pesticides which include harmful toxins.

Planet health

Organic agriculture encourages soil health, sustainability and establishes ecological balance.


The Environmental Working Group produces a "Dirty Dozen" and "Clean Fifteen" cheat sheet every year suggesting when to buy organic.

  • "Dirty Dozen"—These foods are commonly dosed in harmful pesticides. Try to buy organic from these fruits and vegetables.
  • "Clean Fifteen"—These fruits and vegetables are treated with less pesticides and are best to buy when on a budget.

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