One fact holds to be true – college is expensive. Expenses such as textbooks and school supplies are only a couple of things on the long list of items we need in college. One of those items is also food. Whether you choose to eat healthy or not, food is rather expensive in college. If you’re someone who wants to find a way to keep the muscle you built in that last workout session, here are 5 foods that can save your muscle and your wallet from emptiness.

1. Tofu

While I’m positive that most have eaten foods much worse, I’ve tried whey powder that makes tofu taste like candy. Not to mention, whey powder is expensive. With the multitude of brands that claim their whey powder to have x% protein and minerals more than the other leading brands, unless you’re a professional bodybuilder, the only thing that’s going to be affected by those extra minerals is your wallet. Go to your local grocery store and buy some tofu (I personally like extra-firm tofu since it’s not as mushy). It’s a cost-efficient and hunger-fighting solution to the otherwise expensive, shiny 5lb tub of whey powder.

2. Quick Oats

This is a great source of fiber, vitamins and minerals that can help keep the weight down, which will eventually help you show off those muscles you’ve been working on. I love oatmeal, especially instant oatmeal. Unfortunately, I slowly found out instant oatmeal was $3 dollars more than quick oats. Purchase a small tupperware (if you don’t already have one laying around) and take a ½ – ¾ cup of quick oats to school. Instant oatmeal also tends to have added sugars (calories), so the savings are not only in your wallet but also in your tummy, too.

3. Ground Meat

For anyone who enjoys meat and can’t afford a big, juicy steak every night, try ground meat. All the essentials, for half the price. Simply put some salt and pepper and a little bit of taco meat powder from the packet (usually less than $1.50 which you can use 3-4 times) on your ground meat with some wheat flour tortillas and you’ve got yourself a solid replacement (though personally, nothing is as tasty as the steak).

4. Dried Fruit

This is a great alternative to fresh fruit. Yes, we all love fresh strawberries and a crisp, sweet apple. However, they go to waste much faster than dried fruit. With the amount of nutrients that dried fruit still gives us, they make for a great on-the-go snack and we won’t have to worry about not finishing it, since we can zip it up and eat it tomorrow.

[Photo credit: dongkwan on Flickr]