With only a month left of school, it's time to get serious about shopping.

Two months in, meal plans start to run low and the options at the POD may start to get repetitive. Before you aimlessly walk the aisles of a grocery store trying to figure out what to buy, make sure you remember the essentials. With a few items to stock your pantry, picking food will be a lot less complicated, and you'll find yourself going out to eat and panicking over your next meal a lot less.

Peanut Butter

You simply cannot go wrong with a good jar of peanut butter. The nut butter is perfect for sandwiches, toast, smoothies and dipping pretzels or apples in. For a late night snack, eating a spoonful right of the jar is a delicacy for some. Not only is it practical, peanut butter is filling and a good source of protein. Cashew butter or almond butter work as alternatives or soy butter for those with nut allergies.


Don't forget fruit. Bananas are the cheapest fruit and easy to store as they come in their own natural container. They are easy to add to a bowl of oatmeal or cereal to make it filling and nutritious. On their own, they make a great snack or breakfast.


People feel strongly about avocados, one way or the other. They make a delicious, filling snack on their own when eating with a spoon. The contents of an avocado mashed up can be a toast topping or the beginning of a good bowl of guacamole. While typically seen as a snack food, Avocados provide healthy fat in a quick way that doesn't involve a stove or even a microwave.


While some cereal contains more sugar than grains, other cereals become one of the easiest ways to eat breakfast (or any meal). Look for whole grain or whole oat cereal with seeds or nuts added. Some come soaked in honey or have dried fruit mixed in. Eat with milk, plain as a snack or over yogurt.


Milk can go bad fast but is a staple for making cereal or oatmeal. Make sure to buy milk in smaller containers so you don't buy a big gallon that will go bad quickly. If you are dairy free or prefer a different taste, almond milk or coconut milk is about the same price and serves the same purpose.

Hummus (and veggies)

One of the greatest snacks of all time, hummus is a healthy mini-fridge option. The chickpea dip is paired with veggies such as carrots or chips. Similar to hummus, chips and salsa is an ultimate after-school snack.


As one of the cheapest ways to eat protein, a dozen eggs is a great thing to grab if you have a place to refrigerate. In your dorm kitchen, scramble a quick egg for breakfast or make an omelet. All you need to make eggs into a meal is a few veggies and some cheese. Typically viewed as a breakfast food, eggs make a hearty meal anytime of the day.

Protein Bars

Make sure to have a few protein bars you can grab when you sleep late and need a last minute meal on the way to class. A good protein bar is packed with vitamins and will give you the energy you need for the rest of the day from working out to running to the next place you need to be.


Salt and pepper are essential for most everything you'll cook. There's no benefit to eating eggs when you forget to grab something to season them with. Make sure to throw salt and pepper in your cart along with any other spice you enjoy from dried herbs to garlic powder to nutmeg to cinnamon.


Potatoes can take longer to cook, but they're one of the fastest ways to get full on a root vegetable. Sweet potatoes are a popular choice to throw in the oven for 45 minutes and then cover in sugar and butter afterwards. Normal russet potatoes contain similar nutritional values and can be cooked the same way, then topped with savory options from cheese to pepper. Whether you decide to top it to perfection or eat plain, potatoes are another way to eat healthy quick, cheap and from a dorm room.

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