As a freshman at DePaul, meal planning or grocery shopping is not something that often crosses your mind. With an on-campus dining hall
located in Lincoln Park as well as the Loop campus offering a variety of choices for you to spend your meal plan money, most of the work is done for you when it comes to food. However, most sophomores, juniors, and seniors opt to live off-campus without a meal plan, and this comes with a new set of challenges.
Fall quarter of sophomore year, I spent a lot of money eating out and ordering delivery because I was used to having a meal plan and the prepared food that came with it. This was not sustainable for me monetarily, which is why I ended up instead beginning to invest time in grocery shopping and cooking for myself. It’s not as difficult as it may seem, and is even easier once it becomes habit. Some of the staples in my daily routine include avocado toast for breakfast, smoothie bowls for lunch, and some type of grain and vegetable combination for dinner. None of these foods are particularly pricey, and they each leave room for creativity and variation.
When you move off-campus and begin to live more independently, it is important to set a routine for yourself that is realistic to follow. This is what works for me, but something completely different may work better for you. The important thing is that you’re taking care of yourself (and your bank account) with the food choices you make.