Once you’ve moved off campus, you are no longer required to be on a meal plan, meaning you are now responsible for buying and making your own food. This can be a huge struggle for students, especially those who are inexperienced in the kitchen, but also don’t want to eat microwavable food for the rest of the semester. Rest assured- not all hope is lost! With a helpful sum of my tips and recipes, you will be eating like the king or queen you are!
Why Should You Care?
Why bother eating healthy you ask? Well, it is commonly known that eating is essential for energy, and succeeding in school. A study performed by Burrows and colleagues show students perform better academically when consuming all three healthy meals a day. Additionally, results displayed that the students who consumed more fruits than the other participants received greater academic scores. So, there’s some proof in the pudding for ya.
But How Can Eating Healthy Be Possible In School?
I know what you’re thinking… healthy eating is so much more expensive. To that, you are not completely wrong, “The researchers found that healthier diet patterns—for example, diets rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, and nuts—cost significantly more than unhealthy diets (for example, those rich in processed foods, meats, and refined grains). On average, a day’s worth of the most healthy diet patterns cost about $1.50 more per day than the least healthy ones” (Harvard 2013). I asked a fellow friend of mine at West Chester University who was a freshman last year; she stated to me that even though her meal plan was $1,500 for the semester, the food was “meh,” and she mostly ended up eating something she brought herself in her dorm. So, with the increase to a healthier diet only being $1.50 based on the Harvard study, it’s not that bad when you start doing all the math on what your meal plan used to be.
Here’s a quick breakdown:
The average college meal plan in America is around $4,500 for only 8 months out of the year, which equals to $18.75 per day for 3 meals. Meanwhile, it should only cost you $4.25 to make a typical meal (Fay 2021).
My 2 cents…
Not all college dining halls are the same- food can be crappy, let’s be honest. Or, you can be lazy and not want to walk there in the first place- I’m not judging! But, then you end up skipping a meal or two and eating things that are quick, and, quite frankly, not the best at energizing your body. We’ve all heard of the freshman 15… let’s not continue to add onto that.
So What’s The Solution?
Grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s! Trader Joe’s is great for a variety of reasons, so let me rattle off a few:
- Non GMO
- Specialized food
- BANGIN’ frozen food section
- Friendly staff members!
Okay, but you may be wondering, is going to Trader Joe’s for your food shopping really worth it over going to a local, and bigger, grocery store? My answer to that is yes. Consumers Checkbook found that Trader Joe’s is in fact 16% lower in overall prices of goods, and more specifically produce was 24% lower than the prices you’d find at any other typical store. That’s basically getting 25% off right? Trader Joe’s makes eating fresher and healthier foods so much more accessible.
With that let’s get into my favorite picks at Trader Joe’s!
My Go To Grocery List
Shakshuka Starter Spiced Stew of Tomatoes and Peppers
Hashbrowns Shredded Potatoes
Vegetable Pad Thai
Riced Cauliflower Bowl
Vegan Kale, Cashew & Basil Pesto
Mandarin Orange Chicken
No Prep Required/Favorite Snack Options:
Peanut Udon Noodle Salad
Creamy Hummus & Vegetable Wrap
Pita Bite Crackers
Dark Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter Cups
You don’t need to panic now that you are on your own. Buying groceries can be affordable, easy and healthy, and Trader Joe’s is a great place to start your journey. I only listed a small portion of what they have to offer, but you can find your own go to’s and favorites!
Remember feeding your body is essential to staying focused, driven and successful in school… and that, my fellow friend, is the most important takeaway.
Happy food shopping!