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Top 5 Things on My Grocery List as a Vegetarian Living in a Dorm

The dining hall can either be loved or dreaded; I feel like there’s nowhere in between. I have heard from upperclassmen that the dining hall used to be better in previous, non-Covid years, but currently it doesn’t have many options, especially if you have dietary restrictions. In my case, I’m vegetarian. So every other week or so, I head to the grocery store and spend additional money on food—can we please get rid of the dining plan requirement? Here are 5 things that you will find in my cart every time I visit the grocery store.

Carrot Sticks
Carrots
Christin Urso / Spoon

It might be the way the pandemic has changed the dining halls’ organization, but my options for vegetables are usually limited to a salad, which consists of assorted lettuce and a few shreds of carrot and tomato slices. So, I go out of my way to get my vegetables on my own. Carrot sticks require absolutely no prep, and I’ll usually eat them with hummus as a midday snack.

Hummus
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I don’t know when I developed my love for hummus, but it’s one of my favorite dips, especially with carrots. My favorites are the Olive Tapenade from Sabra and Cilantro Jalapeno from Trader Joe’s.

Dairy-Free Yogurt
Chobani Greek Yogurt
Alex Frank / Spoon

While the dining hall now has yogurt cups, I’m trying to cut down on my dairy consumption, as I continue to read about the negative effects of dairy on the body and the environment. I prefer to buy a tub instead of individual cups since it’s cheaper that way. So far, I’ve tried both coconut milk and almond milk yogurts, and I really like them both!

Granola
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I feel like as I’ve grown older, I’ve noticed that I don’t like regular cereal as much. I’ve grown to like granola a lot. Granola is often a part of my breakfast, whether I eat it with my favorite vanilla almond milk or dairy-free yogurt and fruit. I try to switch up the flavor every time, so I don’t get bored of it.

Pre-Cut or Easy-to-Eat Fruit

Like vegetables, it’s hard to find a lot of fruit options in the dining hall. There are fruit cups and bananas, and while I’ve never had a problem with the latter, you never know if the fruit will be ripe in those fruit cups. Thus, I will get the bananas from the dining hall but find other fresh fruit somewhere else. Oranges, grapes, and apples are usually my top choice when I pick fruit, since they’re easy to prepare in a dorm. Otherwise, I will grab pre-cut fruit containers; this week I grabbed pineapple since it doesn’t spoil quickly.

As I continue on as a college student, I feel like these items will never not be on my grocery list. I feel lucky that I am able to afford to go grocery shopping a few times each month, and that I have a grocery store close to my dorm.

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