• Amanda Vanderbeek

    Amanda Vanderbeek

    Class of 2012
    Ely, MN
    Elementary education

    Amanda's Bio:
    I grew up in the Twin Cities, but now live up in Ely, MN near the BWCA, where my family has been for the last 7 years. I have three brothers, who I adore, and I enjoy fishing, playing basketball, and rough housing with them whenever I can. My mom has been a daycare provider since I was born, which served as inspiration for me to pursue a degree in Elementary education. I also love to paint, draw, and DANCE! I have been dancing for twenty years and am a dance instructor in Superior, WI....I can't imagine a life without it!

  • Malvern Madondo

    Harare, Zimbabwe
    Mathematics & Computer Science

    Halle Nystrom

    Graduate Student
    Fargo, ND
    M.S. Health Information Management

    Laura Salazar

    Bogotá, Colombia
    Marketing and Business Management

    Shauney Moen

    Graduate Student
    Oak Grove, MN
    Doctorate of Physical Therapy

  • Katelyn Gehling

    East Bethel, MN
    Exercise Physiology for Pre-Physical Therapy

    Daniela Moreno Gomez

    San Salvador, El Salvador
    Computer Information Systems and Finance

    Shivani Singh

    Mumbai, India
    Management & Marketing

    Jin Baek

    Aurora, CO
    Biology and Chemistry (Pre-Med)

  • Laila Zemar

    Casablanca, Morocco
    Biochemistry, Biology and Pre-med

    Yael Ikoba-Ndjip

    Brussels, Belgium
    Accounting Major; Finance minor

    Kathryn McCarrick

    Saint Paul, MN
    Elementary Education

    Brooke Elvehjem

    Mora, MN

  • Bryan Chavez

    Richfield, MN
    Accounting and Finance

    Conrado Eiroa Solans

    Madrid, Spain
    Psychology Major, Biology minor

    Neena Koslowski

    Apple Valley, MN

    Jason Chavez

    Minneapolis, MN
    Psychology, Organizational Behavior, and Social Work

  • Takudzwa Munjanja

    Gweru, Zimbabwe
    Health Information Management, CIS minor

Food on a Budget

Food is one of the most prevalent expenses for college students during the school year, regardless of age.  While it is true that freshmen have a meal plan through the college (which actually does save them a substantial amount of money on food), they still will purchase food for snacks, late night dinners, and going out to eat.  Upperclassmen are no exception, and in fact, we tend to spend way more on our food off-campus being that most of us opt out of meal plans.  This means one thing: being a smart grocery shopper (which is a skill that many of us intend to have, but unfortunately do not).  We impulse buy, let things go bad in our refrigerators from not planning ahead, and ultimately waste money. 

I plan to help with the planning aspect of this venture.  The question is, what products are good to have on hand for a busy and budget-pinched student?  And secondly, for items that are perishable (can go bad), what storage methods are there to ensure the longest period of freshness before having to toss food?

Let’s start with some of the basic items and ingredients to stock up on.  Believe it or not, there are other foods that you can buy and have ready to go that are not only budget-friendly, but are also good for you. Ramen is not the only option!

  • Canned soup: Progresso and Campbells often have their products on sale.  Check out the weekly circulars for Cub and SuperOne to get a small supply for the cupboard.
  • Pasta: Creamette noodles and even whole grain store brand pasta can be purchased for around $1.00 when the store has a special.  Pasta noodles are in actuality a better deal than Ramen (which runs about $.20 per package) and are healthier for your body, as well.
  • Spaghetti Sauce: Has an endless shelf life, can instantly create a meal, and tastes good to boot.
  • Frozen entrees: These also go on sale frequently.  While some of the frozen dinner entrees out there are very high in sodium and not extremely healthy, there are some newer varieties that are much more nutritious.  Look for Smart Ones, Lean Cuisine, and Healthy Choice. 
  • Spices: If you check out the local dollar store, you can buy even the most expensive of spices for next to nothing.  Having a collection of garlic powder, cumin, paprika, minced onion, and cinnamon can instantly add flavor and punch to any entree or meal you are making.
  • Frozen Veggies: I tend to go for the frozen vegetables over canned, not only because they are much cheaper in terms of servings, but because they are actually more nutritionally rich and taste fresher.  Corn, green beans, peas, and broccoli are all cheap and healthy choices to add to entrees or have as side dishes.

Now, of course, the most basic of foods to have on hand do not have an infinite shelf life.  Eventually, they will go bad, and it is important to check the dates on your products and know how to store them properly. 

  • Milk: Obviously a necessity.  If you are a heavy milk drinker and use it everyday, worrying about expiration is not really necessary.  However, if you use milk more sparingly like myself, it is wise to buy a smaller container of it to store.  Buy a quart or even just a grab and go bottle instead of a full gallon to avoid waste.
  • Fresh veggies: Be sure to seal any baggies completely that your vegetables come in (i.e. lettuce, carrots, and broccoli/cauliflower).  Air flow is the primary cause of wilting and drying out/rotting.  For vegetables that you can cut as you use, such as cucumbers, potatoes, and onion, cover the cut end with tin foil or place it in a seal-tight container for use in the future.
  • Meat: Ground beef and deli sliced meats are great to buy when they go on sale.  Ground beef can actually be stored in the freezer and thawed when you plan on using it, so it can be kept for longer periods of time.  However, deli meats are usually best for only a week or so after opening.  Be sure to keep them double sealed in a plastic bag once opened and that you watch for signs of spoiling.
  • Cheese: Most cheese will last for quite a long time, especially processed cheeses like American.  However, for block cheeses, ensure that you properly double seal them when cut and watch for signs of spoilage after about two weeks if they still haven’t been consumed.
  • Fruit: Apples last a pretty substantial amount of time and are not much of a concern in terms of spoiling (use them within a few weeks).  However, fruit such as bananas and pineapple can become over-ripe if they sit too long.  Bananas that stay in bunches will ripen faster, so if you wish to reduce the ripening speed, separate them.  To help in the use of fresh fruit, I find it always helps to cut the entire fruit up when you want to eat it (such as cantaloupe, honeydew, or pineapple).  This ensures that you will munch on it more easily since it is readily available (aka late night snack attacks!).

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