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Let’s face it, cooking in college is not fun. Unless you’re some master chef/baker, it’s so hard to figure out what to eat in college. I want to eat healthy, but the easiest things to cook are not always that healthy.

For example, going into my sophomore year, I only knew how to cook a few things: quesadillas, eggs (scrambled and fried), avocado toast, pizza, and grilled cheese. That’s about it. Yes, I know, those are probably some of the easiest things to make, but it’s all I could do. Recently, I finally learned how to make pasta, which is incredibly easy now that I know how to do it. So now, I alternate between making pasta, pizza, quesadillas, and grilled cheese for dinner each night. Not the healthiest, I know.

meat cheese pizza on wood plate
Photo by Jakub Kapusnak from Foodies Feed

Since I moved into an on-campus apartment with a kitchen this year, I dropped my meal plan. I figured I would go grocery shopping once a week and get takeout when I didn’t feel like cooking. This plan proved much harder than I originally thought — mostly because Boston is expensive. I knew Boston was expensive before, but until I really had to fend for myself and buy my own food without the protection of a meal plan, I never really knew just how expensive it was. That’s where Trader Joe’s came in.

Man, do I love Trader Joe’s. It’s so cheap there, and the food is of amazing quality. Not only is their food of good quality, but it’s also all very healthy (for the most part). Even their frozen dinners taste amazing. I go to Trader Joe’s once every week to buy the week’s groceries, and it usually only comes to around $35 — which is literally amazing. Most people at BU also already love and praise Trader Joe’s for its prices, but if you haven’t tried going there yet, consider this your sign to go. (I might write another article only about Trader Joe’s and all its glory because it’s just that amazing.)

Trader Joe\'S
Jocelyn Hsu / Spoon

With the help of Trader Joe’s, I have been able to expand my meal selection, and I am so grateful for it. My roommate, who is a natural chef/baker, also encourages me to cook new things and gives me tips on how to make simple meals more appetizing. For example, now I make pasta with things like pesto, spinach, and tomatoes instead of just tomato sauce and cheese.

I know all of this is probably very common knowledge to most people, but for novice cooks like me who are just getting started, the world of cooking is now looking very exciting. I know that there are definitely people like me going into college who don’t know how to cook much, so I hope this article helps at least a little bit — even though the only advice I really gave was to go to Trader Joe’s and throw pesto in your pasta (but hey, I’m still learning too).

I’ve also recently discovered that Trader Joe’s sells its very own college cookbook, The I Love Trader Joe’s College Cookbook: 150 Cheap and Easy Gourmet Recipes. This sounds exactly like what I need, so I will definitely be buying it.

Hopefully next year, I will have a few more recipes under my belt.

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Hi! My name is Isabelle Durso, and I am a sophomore at Boston University studying Journalism and Film & TV at the College of Communication! I am so excited to be a part of this amazing, empowering community of young women.
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