• Monika

No more freshman 15 - college food prep & groceries mastered

Does your daughter or son leave for college soon or maybe you are the one leaving? You definitely want to check this post.

I've put together a list of groceries (perishable and non-perishable) that you can keep handy, and use before you leave, and throughout the year, as well as links to quick & easy recipes perfect for meal prepping or daily cooking.

Make sure you share this article with your friends and family - I know everybody can use some help during this extremely busy time of year.


You, or your child, will most likely fall into one of two categories:

1) Eating all meals at the college's cafeteria, with limited (if any) access to a fridge.

If that's you, read NON PERISHABLE section.

2) Living in an apartment/dorm with a fridge.

If that's you, read both NON PERISHABLE & PERISHABLE section.


  • turkey or beef sticks (such as these CHOMPS free range snack sticks - also available at Trader Joe's) or low sugar nitrate free jerky (such as this, look for no more than 5 g of sugar per serving);

  • raw & unsalted nuts - buy single serve packs, or even cheaper buy larger bags and divide them into smaller zip lock bags. You can make your own trail mix with various nuts, and organic raisins (sulfite & oil free) or unsweetened organic dried berries;

  • raw & unsalted seeds - pumpkin, sunflower and chia seeds are my favorite, I sprinkle them on yogurt, cottage cheese, add to salads and even cereal;

  • organic plain popcorn - my favorite one is Trader Joe's Organic Olive Oil popcorn but this brand works great too (look for brands that use olive oil, coconut oil or avocado oil and plain sea salt);

  • organic pretzels - I like Pretzel thins like these;

  • 5 g or less sugar KIND BARS;

  • shelf stable protein shakes such as this one;

  • protein bars such as this one;

  • apples and bananas store pretty well without a fridge - you can have fruit with either one of the options above for a more satisfying meal/snack.


  • whole milk greek yogurt* or whole milk cottage cheese* (Good Culture is my favorite brand);

  • fresh fruit such as bananas, apples, strawberries, blueberries, etc.;

  • baby spinach* or any dark leafy greens mix*;

  • omega 3' rich eggs*;

  • nitrate free turkey or ham slices;

  • Ezekiel bread;

  • avocado oil mayo (Primal Kitchen), unsweetened ketchup (Primal Kitchen), Dijon mustard;

  • coconut aminos and/or balsamic vinegar;

  • 1 ingredient, all natural nut butter;

  • cucumber, tomatoes, radishes, peppers for salads*;

  • zucchini or zucchini noodles;

  • Rotisserie chicken;

  • BPA free canned wild salmon, or packets of tuna (mercury tested);

  • organic whole milk;

  • low sugar, high fiber cereal such as this one ;

  • cheese sticks;

  • ground cinnamon spice;

  • plain unsweetened oatmeal;

*buy organic whenever possible and your budget allows

Breakfast ideas (using ingredients from grocery lists above):

- Ezekiel bread with peanut butter and sliced banana w/cinnamon;

- Banana pancakes with cottage cheese & cinnamon (recipe HERE);

- oatmeal bake w/cottage cheese or greek yogurt (recipe HERE);

- whole milk & cereal with sliced 1/2 banana or berries, dash of cinnamon, handful of pumpkin seeds (low sugar, high fiber);

- overnight chia seed pudding (recipe HERE);

- 2-3 eggs on 1-2 slices of Ezekiel bread with spinach & tomatoes;

- omelet with ham, cheese, spinach and peppers with 1-2 slices of Ezekiel bread;

- greek yogurt with fruit and nuts or seeds, cinnamon;

- egg quiche (recipe HERE)

Lunch & dinner ideas:

- salmon or tuna (mixed with avocado mayo or ketchup, or both) on Ezekiel toast with spinach, tomatoes and cucumbers;

- turkey and quinoa (or rice/oats) quiches with veggies (recipe HERE);

- rotisserie chicken with spinach salad w/seeds, side fruit;

- salmon or tuna salad (recipe HERE);

- greek yogurt w/fruit and cheese stick;

- chicken or deli meats lunch/dinner salad (recipe HERE);

- sautéed rotisserie chicken with coconut aminos (or balsamic vinegar) and spinach or zucchini noodles;

- turkey stick with cheese stick, side veggies + fruit;

- ham and cheese sandwich with mustard on Ezekiel toast with spinach cucumbers and tomatoes;

- egg quiche (recipe HERE);

For more adventurous cooks, here's a list of my favorite dinner recipes:

Turkey Meatloaf

Turkey & black bean chili

Chicken, sausage, collard greens soup

Sausage and lentil soup

Turkey meat sauce

Lemon and garlic chicken thighs

Turkey and Quinoa Quiches

Other articles that may come in handy during time in college:

What to bring to the movies?

To snack or not to snack?

My weekly dinner meal plan + grocery list

How to improve your sleep today

Hope you enjoyed this article. Make sure you share it with your friends and family who are going through the same thing as you are. We can all use some help from time to time.

If you have any additional questions you can e-mail me HERE.

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