It can be really difficult to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet on campus because the tastiest options in the dining hall usually consist of junk food. As the school year passes by, the dining hall food becomes less appetizing but it seems to be a better choice than spending $100 a week on delivery. But there is another option — making your own food. Buying your own groceries can be expensive, so I've come up with a healthy cheap grocery list that will save you money and help you eat a nutritious and well-balanced diet. 

All of the produce that is listed can be incorporated into any meal of the day. In addition, each grocery item provides its own unique health benefits and will keep you fuller for a longer period of time. So put down that bag of Cheetos and keep scrolling.

1. Oatmeal

cereal, wheat, pasture, oat, oatmeal, barley, hands, handful, handful of oats, grain, Rolled oats
Jocelyn Hsu

Oatmeal is a great way to start your day and even finish your day. This grain is naturally gluten-free and contains many minerals, including magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and iron. Plus, it's a good source of fiber. Don't restrict oatmeal to only being a breakfast food. It can be enjoyed for every meal of the day, even dessert. 

2. Eggs

egg, chicken, egg yolk
Jocelyn Hsu

Eggs might just be one of the most nutritious foods on earth. They are an excellent source of protein and are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and good fats. If you're rushing out the door in the morning, try this scrambled egg recipe you can make in the microwave while you get ready for class. 

#SpoonTip: Try to buy cage-free, pasture raised eggs, because the use of cages presents various animal welfare issues

3. Canned Black Beans 

cereal, coffee, black beans, beans, vegetable, azuki bean, pasture, legume, kidney bean
Zoe Malin

Black beans are a great substitution for ground beef/pork and will keep you fuller for a longer time due to their high fiber content. They help maintain healthy bones and even help lower blood pressure, which is a huge concern around midterms and finals due to the increase of stress and anxiety. Instead of heading out to the nearest burger chain, make these homemade black bean burgers and you have lunch for a week. Just one less thing to worry about.

4. Bananas

Jocelyn Hsu

Bananas have so many amazing properties that include improving digestion, lowering blood pressure, and they may also help prevent asthma. So go bananas and make yourself delicious pancakes for breakfast and creamy ice cream for dessert.

5. Broccoli

broccoli, salad, cabbage
Ali Platt

Broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables ever since I was a kid. This vegetable contains a high percentage of Vitamin C, which aids in the absorption of iron, and is also a good source of potassium. While broccoli is delicious on its own with hummus on the side, spruce things up with cheesy broccoli tots and forget about regular fried tater tots.

6. Lentils

cereal, buckwheat, legume, lentil, vegetable
Christin Urso

If you're vegetarian or vegan, you might already know that lentils are a good source of plant protein. Furthermore, one serving of lentils provides more 50% of the daily recommendation of fiber. This amazing legume makes delicious vegan lentil sloppy joes that are a million times better than the ones served in the dinning halls.

7. Canned Tomatoes

pasture, cherry tomato, cherry, tomato, vegetable
Caroline Ingalls

I think most people would argue that fresh tomatoes are better than canned ones, but canned tomatoes also have their perks. Compared to fresh ones, canned tomatoes last longer, are easier to store, and cost less. Whether fresh or canned, tomatoes are a great source of Vitamin K, which can reduce the risk of cancer, and make a delicious soup for when you're feeling under the weather. 

#SpoonTip: Make sure to buy canned tomatoes that are low in sodium to have better control over seasoning.

8. Cheese

cheddar, milk, dairy product, dairy, cheese, slices
Caroline Ingalls

Whether you buy cheddar or gouda, cheese contains a great variety of nutrients that includes calcium, which many Americans tend to lack in their diet. Calcium is a necessary mineral that builds and maintains strong, healthy bones. So load it up on your fancy caprese panini or top off a hasselback potato with some cheesy goodness.

#SpoonTip: Instead of buying pre-sliced cheese, opt for a brick of cheese. It might require more work but it will save you a couple of dollars. Also, avoid highly processed cheese such as American cheese.

9. Zucchini 

vegetable, squash, zucchini, cucumber, courgette, marinated cucumber, sweet
Kirby Barth

Zucchinis are often overlooked in the grocery store, but this budget-friendly veggie has a whole host of different uses and benefits. Whether grilled, baked, sautéedroasted, or hidden in dessert, you'll end up with a hearty and tasty meal. In addition, zucchini helps maintain eye health and keeps skin looking youthful. Just make sure not to discard the peel as it's the most nutritious part of the vegetable.

10. Canned Salmon 

salmon, seafood, fish, salmon fillet, Protein
Jocelyn Hsu

Personally, I would rather eat some salmon nigiri or fresh wild caught Atlantic salmon, but canned salmon is a great alternative if you're on a tight budget. Salmon is an excellent protein source and has a high Omega-3 content (aka brain food). Why not try some baked salmon balls or a nice pasta dish for dinner? Good for your brain and good for your tummy.

11. Quinoa 

cereal, quinoa, corn, millet, condiment
Christin Urso

Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, making it the perfect grain for people with a gluten intolerance. Furthermore, quinoa is a complete source of protein, as it contains all 9 essential amino acids. But the best thing about quinoa is that it's very easy to incorporate into any meal. Start your morning with a warm cinnamon apple breakfast bowl or a hearty savory breakfast bowl with avocado and an egg on top.

12. Sweet Potatoes 

vegetable, fish, bread
Amanda Giudice

Sweet potatoes are sweet, starchy roots that are rich in Vitamins B and C, and their peel contains high amounts of antioxidants. This root only takes a few minutes to cook in the microwave and can be used in hundreds of recipes. Craving tacos? Make these chipotle sweet potato tacos that incorporate three other ingredients from this grocery list — black beans, tomatoes, and cheese. Or maybe you're in the mood for some sweet potato toast.

13. Frozen Mixed Berries

berry, pasture, blueberry, sweet, bilberry, blackberry
Jocelyn Hsu

Frozen berries are a great alternative when fresh berries are not available. They can last a long time in the freezer while still maintaining their nutrients. Berries are packed with fiber, aid in cancer prevention, and protect against against heart disease. Start your day with a healthy mixed berry smoothie or cool off on a hot summer afternoon with a sweet banana berry popsicle. Delicious and nutritious.

Prices vary from city to city and state to state but, on average, the groceries on this list tend to be budget-friendly nationwide. In addition, all of the produce listed has a wide array of health benefits and can be used in a variety of different recipes for every meal of the day.