Grocery Guide: Foods Every College Student Should Have in Their Kitchen

Grocery shopping in college can be a drag in so many ways. It’s hard to be both healthy and cost-conscious all while trying to navigate the endless aisles – but your weekly trip to the grocery store doesn’t have to be painful.

Making a list, planning meals and keeping track of what you already have hidden in your pantry can help to avoid the frenzy every time you head to the store. Familiarizing yourself with the layout of Wegmans, Trader Joe’s, Target, Walmart or wherever you like to do your shopping, is an easy way to shorten the length of your trip and minimize the possibility of getting lost or sidetracked.

So what should you be buying at the grocery store each week? How much money should you be spending? The reality is that it’s different for everyone.

The amount of money spent on groceries varies per person based on the foods they like to eat – whether the food is organic or not. It also depends on how often a person eats; if you eat more throughout the day, you’re going to need more food to get through the week.

The foods that everyone should remember to buy each time they go to the store are those that they know they’ll eat. It’s easy to waste food by buying items just because “you feel like it.” This is where meal planning comes into play — buying versatile foods can be a way to diversify your meals and to avoid getting tired of what you have stocked in your kitchen.

The next time you take a trip to the store, consider planning ahead and picking up some of the items on this list to make your shopping experience as easy as possible.


For those who aren’t vegan or strict vegetarians, eggs are a refrigerator staple. They can be fried, whisked into pancake mix, added to fried rice and so much more. Depending on how often you eat them, eggs can last a while with a fridge life of about 3-5 weeks.


Whether you love salad or hate it, it’s always a good idea to have some greens around. Romaine, arugula, mixed greens, iceberg – whatever you like— greens are healthy sources of fiber, calcium, iron and many more essential vitamins.


A great snack to have in your pantry, popcorn is a fibrous, whole-grain, low-cal option for snacking on whenever you’re craving something crunchy.

Fresh Fruit

Fresh fruit should find its way onto every grocery list. Most fruit goes bad in the fridge within a week, but there are so many ways to finish it all before it goes bad. Berries can be blended into smoothies and are also a great snack on their own. Fruits, like apples and bananas, pair perfectly with nut butter.

Nut Butter

There are so many nut butter options beyond your classic peanut butter that are tasty on their own or great in addition to other meals. Whether you’re a fan of almond butter, cashew butter or good ol’ PB, nut butters have a long shelf life and are an essential addition to any pantry.


Yogurt doesn’t always have to mean Yoplait. There’s a wide variety of yogurts, ranging from Greek to vegan yogurts made with almond milk and coconut milk. Yogurt is a good on-the-go snack, but is also great for mixing with granola, fruit and honey for a healthy and filling breakfast or even dessert.

Rice or Quinoa

Grains like rice or seeds like quinoa go great alongside anything from chicken to salmon and also act as a great base for a bowl filled with lots of veggies.


It’s so easy to heat up a burger on the stove skillet for a snack or as the base of a meal. You can find a wide variety of burgers in stores, including classic hamburgers, turkey burgers, veggie burgers, salmon and tuna burgers, and more. They’re an easy purchase that can be kept in the freezer for a long time before going bad.  

Your Favorites

Don’t forget about the treats you love to eat! Regardless of what your guilty pleasure is, you shouldn’t feel guilty about splurging on it. Many college students worry about eating too many snacks with little nutritional value, but it’s important to remember to treat yourself. Don’t avoid foods you love just because you’re afraid of overdoing it. Buy the foods you crave, while keeping in mind to maintain a balanced diet.


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