Grocery shopping for yourself doesn’t seem like a big deal until you roll your cart through the sliding doors. Then, if you’re anything like me, you’ll start complaining and crying a whole lot.
It’s frustrating because it seems like it should be easy to pick up some food. Shopping like an adult is confusing when you’re not really an adult. Not yet. Not until you pay your phone bill or think about credit or something.
There are a few super important things to keep in mind, whether you’re making your own meal plan or following a specific Trader Joe’s menu. These tips will help fight those anxiety supermarket tears so read on, my friends.
Don’t go too healthy
Look, everyone wants to eat healthy (me included), but buying only veggies and juice is going to get really boring really quickly. It’s all good and fine to buy healthier foods —fruits, veggies, eggs, milk, meat, rice — but make sure that if you’re a snacker, you get something to gnaw on.
My personal trick is buying a big bag of pretzels, that way I have something to munch on when berries aren’t gonna cut it. Otherwise, I might impulse buy Skittles or soda at the dining hall just because there aren’t any snacks around my apartment.
Freeze your meats
Freeze. Yo. Meats. Meat can be too expensive, but you can freeze it for a long time and actually use all of it. Then, you can buy a bunch without wasting anything. Or, you know, make six pounds of stir fry and eat the leftovers for a week like I do.
Freezing meats also means fewer trips to the store, which is always great. #gogreen
Don’t skip frozen foods
Look, there’s no way you’re going to have the time to cook a delicious meal every night. Sometimes you’ll have too much homework or a practice will run late or you’ll just be worn out. Grab a frozen meal, or six, so you don’t have to go hungry (or spend money on delivery).
Frozen vegetables can be just as good, too — toss ’em in that infamous stir fry and they taste just like the fresh thing.
More is better
You might be a little worried about the cost of a cartful of food, and a cartful is probably too much for one person to eat anyway. And planning your entire week of meals could get a little intense and overwhelming. You don’t need to know what your lunch is gonna be on Thursday when it’s Sunday morning, ya feel?
If you have a freezer, don’t be afraid to buy a little more than a week’s worth of food in case you can’t make it to the grocery store in exactly seven days. Also, buying in bulk is usually cheaper than buying smaller packages, so you’ll actually be saving money in the long run. Cha-ching.
Remember the essentials
Make sure you remember eggs (useful in recipes and quick if you want a healthy breakfast, aka omelettes all day erry day). You should probably get some flour, some cooking spray, some olive oil, and some spices if your roomies don’t share or don’t have any. Try to picture the meals you’d make if you were at home (with a fully stocked fridge, remember those?) and have all the essentials on hand if you’re feeling super inspired in the kitchen.
Also grab some canned foods (like soup) for quick noms.