Home > Resources > Campus Life > College Cooking 101 > 30 Great Food Finds

30 Great Food Finds

Between consuming cafeteria pizza and ramen noodles, the addition of the freshman 15 is a mystery no longer. Many students don't realize how many healthy meal options are actually available in college — they assume the campus dining halls are their only options. Knowing what ingredients to look for at the grocery store, the level of preparation required, and how to make affordable choices can help students eat better while in school. Cooking your own meals is the key to avoiding the deep-fried, high-carb food that is often available in college cafeterias.

Outside of the cereal aisle, the grocery store is unfamiliar territory for most college kids. Plan out a week of meals and make your list before you actually go to the grocery store. By doing this beforehand, you will avoid making impulse purchases and breaking your budget. The grocery store is full of inexpensive and healthy items that require minimal preparation. When combined correctly, the items on this list provide healthy meal alternatives that help you reintroduce meats and vegetables into your diet.

Fruits

Fruits are great because, if in season, they are cheap and very portable. If you live in a dorm, they are a great snack to keep on hand, especially if you are on the campus meal plan. Some of the most economical, healthful and easily purchased are:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Grapes

Vegetables

Fitting vegetables into your meals is easy...certainly not as difficult as it seems! If you eat mac and cheese or any other semi-instant pasta dishes, just add in the veggies while boiling the water for your pasta.

  • Stir-fry mix
  • Frozen peas
  • Frozen broccoli
  • Baby carrots
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes

Protein

Often, college students are protein deprived. It's certainly easier to make ramen noodles, but not as healthy. Adding protein to your diet is a great way to increase your energy and balance your carb intake. Protein is more filling and has less calories per gram than carbs.

  • Milk
  • Lunch meat
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Trail mix (good high-protein snack)
  • Chicken tenderloins (frozen)
  • Black beans (good addition to rice or cous cous)
  • Hummus

Breads, Grains & Pasta

  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Whole grain bread
  • Rice
  • Cous cous
  • Tortellini
  • Whole grain cereal

Meals on the Go

  • Cereal bars
  • Campbell's single serving soups
  • Lean Cuisine Frozen Dinners

When purchasing single-serving meals, observe their protein, fiber, and fat content. These three areas should tell you a good deal about the product you are consuming and help you determine if it is in fact a healthy option. A good product should have higher amounts of protein and fiber and a low fat content.

Miscellaneous

  • Olive oil
  • Butter

Latest College & Financial Aid News

Harvard Supporters Back University in Admissions Trial

October 16, 2018

by Susan Dutca

Harvard students and alumni will testify in support of Harvard during the admissions trial this week, defending its "race-conscious admissions policy" against claims that it discriminates against Asian-American applicants. The trial is the latest chapter in a lawsuit filed in 2014 by Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA).

Harvard University has been accused of "balancing its undergraduate classes to ensure that it had admitted its desired share of students of each race and ethnicity" and also for penalizing Asian-American applicants by "systematically giving them lower scores on a metric admissions officers use to measure personality." Adam Mortara, a lawyer representing SFFA, stated that the university scores applicants in four categories: academic achievement, athletic ability, extracurriculars, and personality. While referencing admissions data, he concluded that, despite their higher academic performance, Asian-Americans are admitted at lower rates. [...]

Professor Sent Abroad After Posting Hateful Tweets

October 9, 2018

by Susan Dutca

An associate professor in security studies at Georgetown University who, last week, wished "death and castration" to GOP senators supporting confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is no longer teaching but will be "traveling internationally for university research." [...]

File FAFSA Immediately for Best Chance at Getting Money for College

October 2, 2018

by Susan Dutca

The official 2019-2020 college financial aid season began yesterday, October 1st, so it is critical that you file your Free Application for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA) ASAP! Whether you are headed to college for the first time next fall, or you plan on attending college next year, you will want to complete your FAFSA as soon as possible, as many states and colleges award financial aid on a first come, first served basis. [...]