Life @ U of T

Introduction

My Trip to the Grocery Store: Healthy Eating on a Student Budget 

My Trip to the Grocery Store: Healthy Eating on a Student Budget 

Does anyone else find grocery shopping challenging? Now that I live off-campus, I’m fully responsible for grocery shopping and making all my meals. At first it was really overwhelming— I didn’t know how often to shop, what to buy, and how to balance healthy eating with my student budget. Now, I’ve figured out a pretty easy way to structure my grocery shopping, so I thought I’d take you all along on my weekly grocery store trip! 

To prepare for my trip, I begin by creating a grocery list based on four categories: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.

For breakfast, I think about what will give me lots of energy in the morning and is relatively quick to make. This week, I decided to get ingredients for oatmeal. So, I bought a bag of oats, some oat milk, and apple sauce, which I’ve found is a super easy thing to add to oats to make them taste delicious.

A picture of oatmeal, oat milk, and apple sauce

For lunch, I try to keep things portable and easy to take to school. This week, I decided to pick up ingredients for bean salad. I make this meal all the time, from an online recipe I found. I basically just mix together beans, beets, celery, and a sweet vinegar dressing which is easy to make. It’s an especially good lunch because I can take it to school in a tupperware, and it’s meant to be eaten cold, so I don’t have to worry about finding a microwave on campus to reheat it. Additionally, beans are a great source of protein, which gives me lots of energy throughout the day.

 

A picture of celery and three cans of beans

A picture of a bean salad
Completed bean salad!

Dinner requires the most planning for me. I go grocery shopping once a week, and I always try to plan out at least three meals I can make that week. I tend to make a lot of food when I cook a dish, that way I can spread leftovers out through the next couple of days and not have to cook every day. 

But, I’ve found it important to not get too many fresh ingredients, because they sometimes go bad by the end of the week. Because of this, I always try to think of one meal I want to make out of fresh ingredients, and two other meals I want to make out of dried/non-perishable ingredients. 

This week, I chose to make a stir-fry with tofu, eggplants, broccoli, and tofu for my fresh-ingredients meal of the week.

A picture of tofu, broccoli, zucchini, and mushrooms

I also bought ingredients for two more meals which won’t go bad quickly— I bought a jar of pasta sauce and potato gnocchi, in addition to soba noodles, which are super easy to make into an amazing peanut noodle salad that I love. 

A picture of soba noodles, pasta sauce, and gnocchi

I also pick up snacks which are easy to take to school, and add fun variation into my diet. This week, I got granola bars for class, and kombucha for a special treat!

A picture of two boxes of granola bars and two bottles of kombucha

So, grocery store trip complete! What are your top tips for grocery shopping and meal planning?

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