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College students cooking and groceries habits


By Annabelle Guysi

It’s been a long standing belief that some college students will only eat ramen noodles or go out because they can’t make anything else. The reason for this could be that college students are too busy with school and work to put any effort into their cooking and grocery habits. 

Although there are some cons about buying groceries whether it’s about the cost or having to buy too much or too little of food, don’t worry, there can be an upside to going to the store to fill your nutritional needs. Grand Valley State University student, Rebecca Bruce shares her take.

“I kinda like it!” said Bruce.  “It’s like my own little alone time, I’ll put in my airpods and I’ll listen to a podcast or music.” 

Bruce said grocery shopping is not a hassle for her.

Many college students work multiple jobs to be able to afford groceries, so grocery shopping can be a hassle for some students. Grand Rapids Community College student Griffin Thompson, who works 40+ hours a week, knows this challenge.

“Financially, yes, we work a lot to afford the bare minimum of food,” Thompson said.

When it comes to how much college students spend on groceries both Bruce and Thompson say that they spend about $70 on groceries per week.

“It kinda varies, because there is some weeks where I’ll stop in a grocery store more than once and make little purchases but I would say $70…I’d say a lot of vegan products are a little more expensive, so that could affect it,” said Bruce, who is vegan. 

Most of the time, college students live on their own so they have to prepare and cook their own meals. So students have to rely on their cooking abilities to keep themselves properly nourished. On a scale of 1-10, of rating their cooking ability students expressed their cooking skills.

“I think I’m like 8.5-10,” said Bruce. “For meals I would cook a stir-fry with tofu and vegetables, but I’m not like making pizza dough or using flour or anything. I like putting foods together rather than making anything.”

Likewise, Thompson said, “I’d say mine is about 7. We cook at least one meal every day at some point normally at dinnertime then we eat the leftovers for lunch and breakfast the next day as well. Most of the time it’s me who has to cook, as well.” 

GRCC culinary students also had some tips and suggestions for college students when grocery shopping.

Buying certain items in bulk is helpful,” said culinary student Audrey Meyering. “I use my mom’s Costco membership which comes in handy. I think Aldi is a great option for cheaper food options.

Meyering also provided some easy and affordable meal suggestions for students while also sharing her favorite meal for students to try.

“I usually go for things that tend to be pretty filling like pasta with added in frozen veggies or something with potatoes tends to be something I gravitate towards,” she said. “As far as snacks go, I think anything that pairs well with peanut butter like pretzels or graham crackers is always good … I love quesadillas and they are so easy to make. I usually add chicken and black beans along with salsa and sour cream.

For students who struggle with having access to food regularly, GRCC has a food pantry available to assist students. Visit here for more information on the food pantry and here for food assistance.

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