These Are the Healthy Staples Every College Student Should Buy at the Grocery Store

There's really no escaping talk of the "freshman 15" when you first enter college, but even if you're an upperclassman living off-campus in your own apartment, you might find it challenging to make healthy decisions about food. You're constantly on the go, and when you're staying up late, spending countless hours studying or writing papers, it can feel much easier to order Postmates or mindlessly snack on potato chips than whip up something yourself. It is possible to make your own snacks and meals in college, though — start with this healthy grocery list, then check out our meal prep guide, designed for busy schedules and small spaces.

POPSUGAR Photography | Jae Payne


Protein helps keep you full so you can fend off unhealthy cravings. Look for these animal and plant-based options.

  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Seafood
  • Deli meat
  • Tofu
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Greek yogurt
StockSnap | Ryan McGuire


Fruits are not only a delicious, filling snack, but they're also perfect to throw into a smoothie on your way out the door.

  • Berries
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Watermelon
POPSUGAR Photography | Jae Payne


Build a salad or roast your vegetables and pair them with just about any dish for a filling, nutrient-rich meal.

  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Bell peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Asparagus
Pantry Staples
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Pantry Staples

Stock up on kitchen essentials that can help you throw together a meal in minutes.

  • Nut butter
  • Oats
  • Cereal
  • Canned beans
  • Whole-wheat bread
  • Pasta
  • Pasta sauce
Frozen Foods
POPSUGAR Photography | Hajar Larbah

Frozen Foods

You don't need to avoid the frozen section of the grocery store just because of the frozen pizza and ice cream pints.

  • Frozen vegetables
  • Frozen fruit
  • Multigrain waffles
  • Chicken burgers
  • Veggie patties
  • Turkey sausage
  • Frozen cooked rice
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Skip the fried and greasy options, instead choosing healthy snacks that will help fuel your study sessions.

  • Edamame
  • Popcorn
  • Dark chocolate
  • String cheese
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts
  • Rice cakes
  • Hummus
  • Energy bars