Ah, summer – a time of new opportunities, no classes, and endless food possibilities. While many of us are out in the mystical real world with summer jobs, internships, or other activities, it's also a time to fend and cook for ourselves. If you're not used to going without a dining hall or parental food source, or if you just want to make sure you're getting the biggest (and tastiest) bang for your buck, these tips will help you navigate your summer food plans.

Be a breakfast breadwinner

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so don't skip out just because you need to make it to internship orientation on time. Breakfast is probably the easiest meal to prep ahead of time, with a delicious variety of options from overnight oats to savory omelet muffins. Even if you need to just grab a granola bar on your way out the door, make sure you have something to hold you over until that coveted lunch break.

We <3 sheet pans

A simple sheet pan, aluminum foil, and olive oil are the foundations for a world of dinner possibilities. Roasting veggies, proteins, or even beans in the oven with some olive oil and spices is one of the simplest, and healthiest meals to throw together in a flash. If you roast a batch veggies over the weekend, they can last throughout the week and also supply your lunchtime serving of veggies. Just the phrase "oven-roasted" sounds worlds better than "microwaved." And you'll impress your coworkers with your kitchen skills.

Buying in bulk is better

If you're a creature of habit and know you'll be chowing down on some of the same foods throughout the summer, definitely choose bulk options from the start. Costco's cheap, industrial sized nonperishables — such as oats, cereal, and nut butters – are my favorite. But most grocery stores have a bulk aisle with dispensers for grains, nuts, and other non-packaged price-by-weight items. These are pretty much always cheaper than buying packaged, smaller quantities, and they're just as good.

Pennies add up

It might not seem like a big deal, but checking the price per unit weight of some foods can reveal big price disparities. If you're shopping for produce for your morning smoothies, check out the frozen aisle for cheaper options that are often just as nutritious. Also, for almond milk and other nondairy substitutes, the refrigerated cartons are typically less expensive than their shelf-stable counterparts. You need to refrigerate after opening anyway, so might as well opt for the cheaper one. These small adjustments will add up over the course of the summer, making sure your paycheck doesn't go straight to the grocery store.

Brown bag is better

Resist the ever-tempting urge to buy lunch daily from the workplace cafeteria. Although the convenience and proximity make this option seem like a natural choice, the prices at these cafes are usually a bit inflated. Why not bring your own creative culinary creation to show off to your co-workers? Plus, these lunches don't need to be complicated – some bread, pasta, or fresh veggies provide a plethora of possibilities for healthy, quick fixes.

With these tips in mind, you can master your new summer job with the confidence of a seasoned, yet economical chef. Maintaining a healthy, balanced adult lifestyle is all about moderation – including moderation itself. So don't forget to occasionally treat yourself, too! After all, you've worked hard for it.