There's a wide range of skill and interest when it comes to college students cooking for themselves. Some of us grew up helping out in the kitchen since we could stand on a stool. And some of us have yet to attempt scrambled eggs. Our grocery lists are consequently quite different. 

For some, college is the opportunity to try new things and cook often, while for others meals are just meant to as fuel between endless hours spent in the library.

In a highly unscientific poll, I collected over 500 responses to the question "what 3-5 items make it to your grocery list every week?", and confirmed that there are definitely different types of college chefs out there.

The Simple Chef

sweet, egg, cake, cream, chocolate, pastry
Caty Schnack

"Bread, chicken, pasta, eggs"

Most of the responses I got were made up of simple ingredients, which leads me to believe that most college students keep it simple, easy and affordable when it comes to making meals.

Eggs were the most common response, followed by yogurt, milk, cheese, bread, chicken, pasta, and peanut butter. Some specified that it was goat cheese, or Ezekiel bread and Trader Joe's peanut butter, but most of the responses were not too shocking.

Others that were mentioned often were cereal, hummus and almond milk. These chefs will occasionally buy "a green vegetable" but usually leaves the produce for the more nuanced shoppers.

The Meal Planner and Herbivore

sweet, pastry, cake, strawberry, cream, syrup, pancake, chocolate, berry, jam
Kristine Mahan

"Organic beets, organic frozen strawberries, dates, organic bagged spinach, gluten free pretzels, light popcorn"

These college chefs include the vegetarians who write tofu, granola and tea on their weekly grocery lists, and specified that they don't just buy any yogurt, they're the 1/3 of the responses that noted Greek yogurt. In the poll that asked for 3-5 items, there was a general trend of more than 5 items listed, often mentioning the various produce items bought.

The most commonly purchased fruits and vegetables are spinach, bananas, apples, avocados, carrots, and berries. Closely following were sweet potatoes, broccoli and kale.

The One Who Doesn't Need Much

sweet, chocolate, coffee, candy
Katherine Baker

"Fiber One"

Unlike the Meal Planners who could have easily written their entire shopping lists in their poll responses from memory, these college chefs are harder to read. In the same poll (remember, it asked for 3-5 grocery items) there was one thing written down. Some of these very short lists noted rice cakes, yogurt, Snapple, milk or garlic powder.

The Stereotypical College Kid

pasta, soup, vegetable, macaroni
Caitlin Wolper

"Bread, alcohol, fries, Ramen noodles"

When parents call after 2 weeks of not hearing from their son or daughter to ask how grades are and whether they're eating enough, these are the minimalist chefs that respond "yes.", They focus less on what they're eating and more on what problem set is due next week, or where they'll be spending Saturday night. 

Common items on grocery lists here included prepared meals (specifically Trader Joe's meals such as mushroom ravioli and mac and cheese), Lean Cuisine, frozen pizzas and Ramen noodles.

The Nostalgic Chef

cereal, sweet, oatmeal, corn, cornflakes, wheat flake, wheat
Rachel Hartman

"milk, Flavor Blasted Goldfish, cosmic brownies, cereal"

Remember those college students I mentioned that spent their childhoods in the kitchen? This is quite the opposite. These chefs are the ones who reminisce more on the snacks that were most popular for trading at the elementary school grade lunch table in the cafeteria.

The most popular third graders are reveling in success as they continue to buy lunch meat and loaves of bread, Pop Tarts, Cheerios, Powerade and Teddy Grams.

College students clearly shop differently from one another. Your roommate may be stocking up and keeping the fridge full of vegetables that you've never even heard of, and you might be happy sticking with your eggs for breakfast and Ramen for lunch and dinner. Whatever chef's hat you wear, revel in it.