The typical college grocery list reflects a student's lifestyle and needs, so items should be budget conscious, easy to prepare and healthy. The list should include a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, proteins, grains and condiments.
Fruits that are relatively inexpensive and easy to take along are apples, oranges, bananas and strawberries. Economical vegetables include potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, celery, spinach and frozen vegetables. Bags of salad mix are another good option because they are ready to eat.
Many excellent protein sources require little preparation, such as milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, tofu, black beans, quinoa, and deli ham and turkey. Other types of protein that require a bit more prep time include chicken breasts and thighs, salmon and tilapia fillets, flank steak, ground beef, pork chops and nonbreaded frozen shrimp. Frozen dinners are often quick and relatively affordable, but the nutritional value varies significantly among brands.
The best choices for carbohydrates are those made from whole grains, such as whole wheat bread and tortillas, brown rice, oatmeal, couscous and whole-grain cold cereals. Healthy and speedy snacks include protein and cereal bars, single-serving soups and trail mix.
Staples should be kept on hand at all times. These include peanut butter, salt and pepper, olive oil, butter, garlic, fresh lemons, mustard and fruit juice.