Once I was officially moved out of my college dorm room and into my new apartment, reality set in. I actually had to go grocery shopping, and not just for snacks that I would stash for after-party munchies.

I landed my first salary job and I thought I was unstoppable. That was until I returned from my first day of work and all I had in my pantry was Ramen. I knew it was time to mature into my adult foodie form, but I didn't know where to start. I needed to transition from snacking to "real" meals and I needed to do that before one of my roommates ate my last pack of noodles.

Grocery Shopping on a Budget 

cheese, beer
Amanda Gray

Graduation meant the end of a buffet style meal plan at the campus café. For a while, I was just eating out, until I realized that I was too broke to live like a Kardashian. For the first eight months, I started eating scrambled eggs for breakfast, chips and salsa for lunch and salad for dinner. That was until I met my partner who broadened my cooking horizons. A $40 budget for grocery shopping provided an array of chicken breasts, ground turkey, pasta, taco shells and pork chops. I now see the light. And I must say, "Thug Kitchen" is a beginner's kitchen bible.

Portions, Portions, Portions

lettuce, carrot, corn, tomato, salad, onion, vegetable, pepper
Angela Kerndl

In school, I was working out daily (thanks to a flexible class schedule), which allowed me to splurge when it came to eating. With less time to workout after work, every calorie counts. I've never been one to count calories, mostly because I realized that it drives people crazy. So instead, I had to train myself to eat until I was content, rather than eating until I was so full I could die — which is actually a lot easier said than done. 

One tip that I have found to be helpful is to make a huge pot of pasta on Sunday night and then ration it out as lunches for the rest of the week. That way I don't feel the need to smack the entire pot for dinner (it has happened before and I am not proud). Check out these other incredible hacks to avoid overeating.

Body Transformation

Madelyn B Bucher

I was a collegiate athlete, but once my senior season was over, so was my regular workout routine. Because I wasn't doing 6 am workouts followed by three-hour practices in the evenings, my muscles started to disappear, as did my appetite. Clothes started to fit differently and I realized that I needed to be more aware of the food I was eating, which meant less Taco Bell and more veggies.

mocha, milk, cappuccino, espresso, coffee
Gabby Phi

Each year away from undergrad has been a learning experience when it comes to my relationship with food. I have found a passion for cooking and I'm obsessed with baking loaves of bread from scratch. I am still trying to navigate the nutrition part of adulting, but I'll be damned if that means giving up one of my three cups of coffee each day.