Eating Healthy while Living Off Campus

Do you live off campus and find yourself not eating as well as you could? I know grocery shopping can be annoying or maybe even confusing, but it’s vital! A common myth is that healthier food is more expensive, and I’d have to disagree. Think of a bag of chips. At Walmart, they might have two family size bags of Lays for $5 if you’re lucky. I could buy 3-4 bags of carrots with that money. I spend about $30-$40 a week, which is a lot less than what some of my friends spend.

Here’s what’s typically on my grocery list:

  • Spinach (Aldi)
  • Carrots (Aldi)
  • Mini portabella mushrooms (Aldi)
  • Cherry tomatoes (Aldi)
  • Avocado (1)(Aldi)
  • Honeycrisp apples (2)(Aldi)
  • Frozen raspberries (Aldi)
  • Frozen peas and/or mixed vegetables (Aldi)
  • Eggs (Aldi)
  • 100% Whole wheat bread (Aldi)
  • Whole wheat wraps (Aldi)
  • Whole wheat pasta (Aldi)
  • Salmon fillets (Aldi)
  • Marinara sauce (Aldi)
  • Tortilla chips (Aldi)
  • Salsa (Aldi)
  • Organic granola bars (Aldi)
  • Almond milk (Aldi)
  • Sweet potatoes (Walmart)
  • Amy’s gluten free/vegan frozen burritos (2)(Walmart)
  • Pizza dough (Walmart)
    • Cheese (I try to stay away from dairy, but I buy this when I want to make pizza)

This list lasts me all through the week, however, it doesn’t include random things I may need every once in a while such as olive oil or condiments. Also, the food I enjoy eating may not be what you like so our lists may vary! Aldi is a great place to grocery shop. The prices are very fair, especially compared to Walmart. Also, many items from Aldi are organic and many of the items, such as the tortilla chips I buy, only have a few ingredients which I love.

Some of examples of meals I make for breakfast and lunch with the items on this list include scrambled egg wraps with spinach and mushrooms, avocado toast, and spinach salad with tomato, sunflower seeds, carrots and an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. A few meals for dinner include salmon with sweet potato fries and peas, pizza with red sauce, spinach, and mushrooms and cheese, and egg salad sandwiches if I’m feeling a little more lazy. Here’s a picture of my salmon, sweet potato fries, and peas dinner:

Salmon, sweet potato fries, and peas.

There are plenty of healthy snacks included in this list. I love the burritos also. I’ve never been a huge fan of frozen food, but the burritos at the end of the list are made with natural ingredients and are very good for you! At the end of my busiest days, when I have the least motivation to cook, I’ll make one of these instead and pair it with some salsa and maybe some carrots or some other vegetable option.

Grocery shopping doesn’t have to be this huge, daunting task! I even try to organize my lists based on what I will run into first in the aisles at the grocery store. There are various small tips and tricks you can learn to become a more efficient grocery shopper, but the most important skill I’ve learned is bringing in all the bags at one time. No way am I making two trips, ha! Now make a list and stay focused; you’re gonna do great!

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