Eva’s Eats – Budget Binging


Part of the problem with grocery shopping, whether you’re a student or a working adult, is cost. This often comes at the expense of nutrition, choice, and taste. I mean, let’s face it; when your wallet is tight you’re likely going to go for the cheapest and most convenient foods available. This usually means bins stashed away in your closet full of chips, Rice Krispies, Oreos, and instant noodles; filling your fridge with frozen and ready-yo-eat meal to ever be conceived. We’ve got a lot of athletes at SVC, and the truth is that this crap (and, yes it is crap), is among the unhealthiest things you can eat. But really, what else is there to eat? What can you make in your dorm room that will fill you up without completely emptying your wallet? Even if there is something, odds are it’s not going to be all that good for you. This brings us to  this week’s piece on a wonderful, diverse, and inexpensive ingredient.

Whether you call it a wrap, flat-bread, or tortilla, the concept is virtually the same: a delicious package to hold any filling you can possibly come up with. Though the freezer aisle may have its offerings of bean and cheese filled, or some Doritos shell monstrosity at at least $2.99 a pop, but please, don’t ever think these are your only options! Below are several suggestions for basic, inexpensive grocery items, so you to make your own healthy wrap right in your dorm room. You may not even need a microwave!

A quick note-

I’m not saying to go out and buy everything listed; just keep in mind that you can eat well for very forgiving prices, and what you make yourself is usually a lot healthier than its frozen equivalent.


The Wrap:

The first ingredient, of course, is the tortilla. Whether you prefer corn or flour, there are plenty of varieties. With just one trip to the Walmart/Price Chopper Plaza, I was able to find multiple different flavors all under $3.00/ pack and ripe with whole grains. The varieties include:

  • Organic sun-dried tomato-$2.49/ 8 ct
  • Spinach (rich in vit K)- $2.49/ 8 ct
  • Garlic pesto- $1.99/ 6 ct
  • Jalapeño- $1.99/ 6 ct

The Protein:

  • If meat is more your thing, cold cuts cost $2.50 for a 12 oz. pack at Walmart. This includes roast chicken, turkey, honey/ and or Black Forest ham, roast beef, or salami.
  • Tuna fish costs only $1.06 per can for white albacore in water, while the sealed packages are around $3.40/ 12 oz pack.
  • If the vegetarian lifestyle is more up your alley, cans of beans (pinto, black, red) cost only $0.48/ can, while refried (if you’re stuck on the burrito), costs $1.28 for a 1 lb, 12 oz can.


  • Because every sandwich or wrap requires cheese of some kind, both Walmart and Price Chopper offer sliced provolone, cheddar, Monterey Jack at $2.70/pack.
  • Whole fat plain Greek-Yogurt costs $5.29/ a 36 oz container, while non-fat is a bit cheaper at $4.39 for the same size.
  • Sour cream (cheaper still), with the Great Value brand costing only $0.92 for a 12 oz container!

Fun Fact: Greek yogurt and cheese are both excellent sources of protein, containing 5 grams per serving, and yogurt is often a healthy alternative to sour cream.

Veg and Grains:

  • The best deal I could find was a 3 lb bag of frozen veg medley containing peas, corn, carrots, and broccoli for $2.99. (In the coming winter months, frozen vegetables are the best, healthiest choice. During the freezing process, fruits and vegetables retain nearly 97% of their nutritious value, as opposed to the vegetables that are shipped in from Mexico and California, which begin to lose their vitamins and minerals the moment they are harvested, right up until they are put on your plate. Most lose over 50% of their vitamins and minerals before they are even cooked)
  • Marinated mushrooms and stems are only $0.98 per jar.
  • Hot peppers are a bit more expensive depending on what you are looking for, but as a heat freak, in my opinion it’s worth it. A small jar of red chilies, jalapenos, banana, or arbol peppers cost around $1.25 depending on what you are looking for.
  • Instant rice costs $1.98 for 2 cups or 4 servings of rice. According to its package, it cooks in a minute in the microwave, though I have not tried it myself.


  • Mayonnaise is $3.22 for a small jar.
  • Dressings/ pre-made aioli costs about $2.58.
  • Stone ground, spicy brown, or Dijon mustard costs $1.76 for a rather large bottle.
  • Pace salsa, not the best, but the cheapest, is $2.00 a jar.
  • Canned tomato sauce or paste starts at $0.36 depending on how much you want.
  • Pre-made herbs/spice blends are the most expensive item on this list, aside from the Greek yogurt, at $3.74 per 4 oz. However, only a tsp or so is needed, so this will last a long time.


To get you started, here is a recipe I came up with while I was playing around with these ingredients. As I am not overly creative with names, I call it the Spicy Cheese steak wrap:

1 Cheddar Jalapeno wrap-$0.33

2 oz roast beef- $0.42

2 slices provolone cheese-$0.45

1 oz mushrooms and stems-$0.12

Jalapenos to taste-$0.12

Mayo to taste-$0.07

Pinch of chili seasoning-$0.05


Spread mayo on ½ wrap. Lay out the cheese slices on top of the mayo. Sprinkle on the mushrooms.

Place in the microwave for 15 seconds, or until cheese begins to melt.

Scatter jalapenos over the melted cheese and mushrooms. Sprinkle the seasoning over the jalapenos and swinish with the roast beef.

You can either wrap and eat it as it is, or wrap it and heat it for another 15-30 seconds or so, to eat it hot. The total cost of this wrap is: $1.56.


These ingredients offer many other possibilities. Other ideas include a garlic pesto tuna melt, sun dried tomato and chicken with mozzarella, spinach and turkey with cheddar and Dijon, rice and veg with banana peppers….and the list goes on. Mix it up! That’s the beauty of making your own food; you can make whatever you want, however you want it!