Grocery Shopping Guide for a College Student

Grocery Shopping Guide for a College Student

Cheryl Nuzum

As college students, we understand the struggle of grocery shopping.
“Should I even spend my money on groceries or just eat out instead? What if I don’t have a stovetop/oven/(insert necessary kitchen appliance) to cook the food – is it worth it? Are there any healthy foods I can buy without spending all my rent money? If I have a meal plan, is it not necessary to buy groceries? But damn it, sometimes I just get sick of eating at Lakeside three times a day!”
Here is a basic grocery guide for the broke, hungry, cooking-inept college student in all of us.

Breakfast:

Always go classic and simple when it comes to breakfast. Sure, an egg-white omelet sounds healthy, but let’s be honest; it’s much easier to pop a frozen waffle in the toaster and call it a day. (Bonus – breakfast food is good at any time of the day, whether you’re running late for class or writing a paper at midnight that’s due at 9 a.m.) So, make sure you get something you’ll actually eat.
[accordion title=”Breakfast” close=”0″]- Cereal
– Fruit
– Pop-tarts
– Eggo waffles
– Yogurt
– COFFEE!!!!!![/accordion]

Lunch:

Mid-day is one of the trickier times for college students. Half of us are just then waking up to start our classes for the day and the other half are either finishing or smack dab in the middle of class. If you happen to be home during this time, I recommended fixing a decent meal. If you’re still on the go, grab something you can eat on the go but try to make it a little healthy.
[accordion title=”Lunch” close=”0″]- Choice of sandwich fixings – lunch meat, cheese, pickles, etc.
– Chips or mini snack bags
– Fruit, such as apples, bananas, grapes, etc.
– Granola bars
– Bottled water/Gatorade/juices/etc – drinks you can carry in your backpack and don’t have to worry about spilling[/accordion]

Dinner:

This is where things can get complicated. Consider these factors:
1) You actually have to have the means of cooking the food.
2) Are you cooking for one or are your roommates chipping in?
Either way, you have to be conscious of what you’re buying and make sure it’s actually worth it. Don’t buy something you know you should eat but is truly either going to spoil or sit in the back of your freezer until the end of the semester. Pick and choose as necessary.
[accordion title=”Dinner” close=”0″]- 1 lb of ground beef
– 1 pckg of choice chicken (Personally, I usually get boneless skinless chicken strips. They work for almost any chicken dish and you can choose how much you use for each meal. This is especially helpful if you’re only cooking for one or if you want to use the chicken for multiple dishes)
– Choice of pasta and sauce
– Frozen pizza
– Vegetables of choice (Frozen veggies are great because you can cook them either on the stove or in the microwave super easily)
– Fruit of choice (You’d be amazed how delicious a side of sliced tomatoes or avocado with a little salt and pepper tastes – bonus points for eating healthy!)[/accordion]

Classics:

Here are some simple, delicious foods that are a cure for most cravings and savable for those times you really are flat-broke.
[accordion title=”Classics” close=”0″]- Hot Pockets
– Bagel bites
– Mac n cheese
– Ramen
– PB&Js
– Popcorn
– Anything instant[/accordion]

Essentials:

[accordion title=”Essentials” close=”0″]- Bread
– Butter
– Milk
– Condiments
– Olive Oil
– Ice cream (that counts as an essential, right???)[/accordion]
Not everything on this list needs to be in your shopping cart every week. In fact, I wouldn’t even recommend that! The good thing about this list is most of these items are cheap and they can and will last you a while. (Who ever heard of someone finishing a jar of peanut butter in a week?) This grocery guide is just a sample of where to start. Modify this list as necessary to fit your needs.
Eat cheap, eat healthy, eat well.