One of the biggest perks of living in off-campus housing is that you don’t need to eat cafeteria food anymore! No more living off of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, ice cream, and dry cereal! And it finally means you can use your very own kitchen to cook up your favorite meals, keep your favorite snacks on hand, and stock up the fridge with all of the cheap beer you could ever want (only if you’re of drinking age, of course). However, the downside to living off-campus is that you have to make regular trips to the grocery store — and possibly learn how to cook in the first place. But for some, this is also part of the fun!

If you recently moved into a Kent State off-campus apartment, but you still haven’t made a trip to get some groceries, now is the time. Especially if you are still living on PB&Js, ice cream, and cereal. There are dozens of easy-to-make meals that are healthy, delicious, and affordable. So before you head to the store, here are some tips on stocking up on all the essential food items for your new apartment.

Grocery Shopping Tips For Your New Off-Campus Apartment

Get Some Basic Pantry Items

Whether you’re a frozen meal kind of person, or someone who wants to make meals from scratch, you can never go wrong with having a few items around to make sure you do have food to eat in a pinch.

  • Pasta – spaghetti, penne, elbows, or farfalle (bowtie) are all great options
  • A couple jars of pasta sauce – consider jars that come with meat
  • Canned soup
  • Cans of beans – black or pinto beans
  • Peanut butter – because it’s easy, nutritious, and delicious
  • Jelly or honey
  • Bread or tortillas
  • Snacks – pretzels, granola bars, dark chocolate
  • Nuts – Walnuts, almonds, or pistachios

Baking & Spice Essentials

Even though you may not be a gourmet just yet, if you do plan on making meals at home, here are a few items you’ll want to have around just in case. It can be amazing how a few ingredients can add a lot of flavor to a simple dish. Even if you are just making a box of macaroni and cheese, adding some Italian seasoning can really step it up.

  • Olive oil
  • Sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Italian seasoning
  • Onion powder
  • Chili powder
  • Soy sauce

Refrigerator Items

Whether you’re just snacking or need to make a whole meal for yourself and your roommate, a few items to have in the fridge will make sure you’re eating healthily. These items will also help you stay on budget!

  • Slices of cheese
  • Eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Lunchmeat
  • Fruits and vegetables – apples, carrots, cherry tomatoes, peppers
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Chicken or beef – just make sure you use it before it goes bad

Thinking About Meals in General

When you’re walking down the aisles of the grocery store or through the produce section, it can sometimes be easier to think about what to buy in terms of what makes a complete meal, rather than thinking of a recipe and finding specific ingredients for that meal.

For example, a healthy and well-rounded meal will include a protein, a fruit and/or vegetable, and a grain. Many people who are new to apartment living and cooking go straight to chicken and beef for their protein, but if you’re on a budget, consider other protein alternatives, such as beans or other legumes, eggs, or even rice, which has more than four grams of protein. Choose vegetables that you like, so you’ll be sure to actually eat them. If you don’t like broccoli, don’t get it. Go for bell peppers, green beans, or cucumbers. People often choose a type of bread for their grain, but it could also be a side of rice or oats.

Fats are also an essential part of a healthy diet. Avocado is a great and versatile option to have around, as well as eggs, dark chocolate, nuts, cheese, olive oil (or simply a can of olives), and sunflower seeds. And even though it may be slightly more expensive, salmon, pork, and tuna also contain healthy fats. If you are on a budget, canned tuna is a great pantry item and can be added to a variety of meals, including pasta casseroles or sandwiches.

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Shopping for your new apartment can be overwhelming, but start simple with these basic items and you can work your way toward more ingredient-heavy meals. Stocking up your kitchen doesn’t have to be expensive, either! Beans, eggs, certain cheeses, and rice are all inexpensive foods that can make a filling and tasty meal — just be sure to use your favorite seasonings!

At Kent’s Best Apartments, our kitchens are spacious and have everything you need to make your favorite meals. Located in Kent, Ohio, Kent’s Best Apartments have buildings in Hickory Mills, Summit Hill, and Whitehall Terrace. We offer a variety of different layouts, including studios and one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. Our apartments also feature a gym and pool for you to enjoy after classes, as well as pet-friendly apartments! So if you end up burning some toast or overcooking your salmon, your pet will be there to help you clean up!

Living in off-campus apartments is the start of living an independent life! With these grocery shopping tips and our beautiful apartments, we hope that you love creating meals and memories at Kent’s Best Apartments. Fill out an application for our off-campus apartments here!