Lets me just say that healthy eating in college is ridiculously hard. There’s zero time to finish all your reading, let alone cook a well-balanced meal! Grocery shopping is key to success, but how do you know what to buy without going way over budget?! First, check out my post on healthy eating in college, and then read on for my healthy, affordable grocery list!
Keep it simple
Don’t overbuy, and don’t fret about having the perfect list. Don’t stress too much about making sure everything is organic and eco-friendly and clean and pesticide free and all those other confusing
(not to mention debatable!) concerns. Don’t beat yourself up over buying prepackaged food–sometimes it’s necessary with a college schedule! Most of all, be kind with yourself. Don’t freak out if you eat something “bad,” it’s not a big deal.
Remember the food pyramid that was forced on you in grade school? Think of that now, it’s actually super important when considering your grocery list. Here are the groups you need to keep in mind when shopping:
There are a lot of healthy options for each group. Here are some tips for getting started grocery shopping in college.
Money Saving Tips
Grocery shopping can be majorly expensive, especially on a college budget. I’ve found that it’s easy to keep costs down by using a list (and sticking to it!) as well as using some money saving apps. Here are some resources for keeping costs down as a college student!
- Ibotta – The Ibotta app lets you get rebates on all your receipts. It works for most major retailers, and it’s basically free money. All you have to do is scan your receipt to start getting cash back on purchases you’re already making. It also lets you know when there are local deals and coupons, double score! I’ve made over $20 just by scanning my receipts!
- Swagbucks – Swagbucks isn’t a grocery app, but it is a great way to earn rebates and gift cards for grocery shopping. I’ve used Swagbucks to get over $50 in gift cards to places like Walmart and Amazon.
- Grocery Pal – The Grocery Pal app lets you see local coupons and discounts all in one place.
I like to choose two different fruits for my grocery trips, but if you can adjust that if necessary. In season fruits are generally cheaper, so keep that in mind when shopping. Another thing to consider is buying easy fruits to take on the go, such as apples or oranges. Kiwi might be your favorite, but they are not very practical to take to class.
You can buy and cook whatever veggies you prefer, but I like to keep it simple because I know I will not bother with any fancy cooking routines during the semester. My favorite go-to’s are frozen veggies (microwavable!) and potato’s which can be baked in the microwave. These are excellent for quick meals. There’s also a wide variety of canned veggies available too which are incredibly easy to prepare.
Stick to whole grains if you can, such as whole grain pasta and bread. You can fit a lot of your snacks in this category as well, such as popcorn, oats, and cereals. Remember to read labels before you buy, and check for important information like sugar and fat content.
I usually only choose one meat product each time I go to the grocery store, but I naturally don’t care much for meat. I’m a veggie person. Chicken breast is my favorite, and it’s a good thing to buy in bulk because you can freeze anything you don’t use. Chicken is also easy to prepare. There is pre-cooked chicken options as well in case you don’t have access to a stove/oven.
I personally don’t have a good relationship with dairy. However, Greek yogurt and cheese are really important to me. Once again, check labels for sugar and fat content. I prefer drinking almond milk and consuming almond milk products over other non-dairy options. A friend of mine has recently brought a potentially harmful ingredient to my attention, so read more on that here if you’re so inclined.
While you might not think snacks belong on a healthy grocery list, I think you should most certainly keep room for them in your budget. Buying healthy snacks at the store will prevent you from searching for snacks later that might not be as healthy. I personally opt for crackers, popcorn, baked chips, and granola bars.
My grocery list
Reasonable, right? How do you keep your grocery list healthy? Let me know in the comments!
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