As a college student, you only have so much money to go around. Making sure you’ve got enough for rent, bills and food can be challenging. Let alone having enough left over to enjoy your college years! By looking at your grocery bills and making sure you’re not wasting money on things you don’t need, you can save money.
Grocery shopping doesn’t have to be expensive and you can probably reduce what you are currently spending by making a meal plan and some smart decisions. Making sure you’re not wasting food is important, as there is no point in buying things that won’t keep or that you won’t eat. Buying in smaller portions can be a great way to avoid food waste. When buying things like fresh fruit and vegetables or meat, make sure you keep an eye on it and plan to eat it before it expires.
There are also certain things which are so much cheaper at the supermarket. Often this is true for things like snacks which you may want to buy from convenience stores on campus to save you time. But they most likely hike up the prices of. It’s a good idea to always go to the grocery store with a shopping list of these essentials, which will mean you always have meals and snacks in your pantry and fridge. A list can also help you from impulse buying treats like ice cream! So here is a simple college student grocery list for you!
Essential Grocery List For College Students
This is a huge money saver. Being able to make coffee at home rather than choosing expensive store-bought options can make a huge difference to your weekly expenses. Get yourself a travel cup that’s insulated and you can have hot coffee all morning long!
Quick Breakfast Items
Breakfast is often listed as the most important meal of the day. Whether you’re fueling up for a long day ahead or just preparing to be away from somewhere you can make your own food, make sure you have healthy breakfast items at home. These could include instant oatmeal, fruit, yogurt and cereal. Starting your day with a meal at home is a great way to reduce the expense of eating breakfast, lunch and dinner out. Whatever you prefer to eat for breakfast, make sure you stock up!
If you have mini-fridge, having chicken breasts on your college grocery list makes so much sense. This high-protein food can be quickly cooked into a variety of delicious options. Here are some of my favorite easy lunch recipes, including some chicken meals. Chicken is a versatile type of meat as well that can be swapped out in many recipes.
Cheese is one of those foods that I could eat a lot of. That’s why I love cheese sticks. I still get to indulge my cravings, but I can’t go crazy and eat a whole block of cheese. They’re also great as a snack that you can throw in your bag for when you’re out and about all day. No more heading to the vending machine for unhealthy chocolate bars!
This is not only an ideal breakfast option, but you can have oats for a midnight snack or when that 3pm hunger strikes! If you find oats boring, there’s probably a way you can mix it up to make it more exciting. Try peanut butter, frozen or fresh berries, cacao nibs, honey or even nuts. There are so many different options that you can usually mix and match what you have in your cupboard to make a delicious meal, any time of the day or night.
This high-energy snack is the ultimate to get you through marathon study sessions. With a mixture of nuts for protein and fat as well as fruit or chocolate for sweetness, this snack is perfect to pack on the go or to eat at home. If you buy in bulk that you break it down into snack-size servings, to avoid overeating without realizing it.
Peanut Butter and Jelly
I probably don’t even need to mention these two. They are essential in all college dorm rooms and kitchens. Peanut butter is one of my favorite snacks and I love to buy it in single serves to take out and about with me. But having a jar of both peanut butter and jelly at home means that you’ll always be able to make a snack, no matter what time you end up studying until!
Making sure you have access to fresh, healthy food can be hard on campus. Not everywhere is set up for this. Making sure you get some fresh, in-season fruit from the supermarket is always a good idea. The vitamins and minerals from them will keep you healthy and your mind focused!
If you’re a vegetarian, you’ll want to make sure you have a variety of beans on hand. This is especially true if you’ve got access to a kitchen. Try to use different kinds of beans to ensure you’re getting all the different essential amino acids. They aren’t all found in one kind, unlike meat sources of protein, so making sure you eat a variety will make sure you’re getting what you need.
This is definitely one of my go-to’s in the chiller at the grocery store. Having yogurt on hand, if you have a fridge, means that you can mix up your oats or cereals for breakfast. Or eat it as a snack with fruit or nuts to add some protein and fat to balance out your macros.
Tinned fish is a great way to have protein on hand that doesn’t have to be fresh. I highly recommend getting tins that are easy to open. Mix up what you buy too. Tuna is probably what most people reach for first, but try something new. Tinned salmon is high in calcium and sardines are a great small fish option, meaning it contains less mercury.
You know I don’t mean potato chips. I mean chips that are made from vegetables that aren’t potatoes. And there’s a huge range out there now! Sweet potato, kale, beet or okra. Make sure you have a look at the ingredients list to see what else is included. They do sometimes sneak strange things in there! Here are some of my faves.
Boiled eggs are a great snack that you can make a bunch of and then keep in your fridge for up to a week. Just peel when you’re ready to eat! Add some seasoning or salt and pepper to increase the flavor and enjoy these high-protein hits. There are also so many ways you can cook them to create a full meal, depending on what kitchen tools you have access to — scrambled, an omelette with fresh veggies or fried.