4 grocery tips for feeding yourself

I’ve been living on my own in an apartment in downtown Toronto with two of my friends for about eight months now. Therefore, I’ve been feeding myself for about eight months and let me tell you, it’s a bit of a challenge. Unless you’re Gordon Ramsay. 

When I was in my first year of Ryerson’s Creative Industries program, I lived in residence at Pitman Hall where I was on a meal plan. Sure, I didn’t love the food all of the time, but I underestimated how hard it is to feed yourself… multiple times a day… every day. So here I am with four food tips I’ve learned about feeding yourself. 

1. Plan your meals 

Before you go grocery shopping, it is so important to plan your meals for the week. This prevents you from buying too many groceries and food that you won’t need. I like to look up recipes on Pinterest, Tasty and even YouTube before I go grocery shopping to see what ingredients I need and how much I have to buy. 

Bonus: check to see if you have any of the ingredients lying around first!

A photo of a pan with paella in it

I love to try new recipes every week—here is some paella I made once!

2. Eat what interests you

If you love to eat nothing but vegetables and super-healthy foods every day, I’m impressed. If you don’t, then don’t force yourself to buy only salad ingredients for the whole week. Chances are you won’t like what you’re eating and you’ll get sick of it. This might lead to ordering takeout frequently (so expensive!) or not eating at all. I’m not telling you to eat ice cream for all three meals each day, because that’s not a great lifestyle choice—even though I wish it could be. Plan out meals that you’ll actually enjoy, not meals you want to eat just because it’s healthy. There are so many easy recipes on the Internet that you will probably find something you like.

3. Look for savings!

As a university student, I love to save that cold hard cash whenever I can. Groceries are so expensive, especially in downtown Toronto. When planning out my groceries, I use the app Flipp to look at flyers for my favourite grocery stores to see what’s on sale. I also like to sign up for free programs like PC Optimum for exclusive member-only deals and offers. As well, the Metro on Ryerson’s campus has 10% off for students every week from Tuesday to Thursday. Chances are if it’s in my fridge or freezer, I bought it on sale. 

A photo of groceries on a table. Products are rainbow chips ahoy cookies, raspberries, tomatoes, zucchini, black beans, blackberries

One of my grocery hauls! Everything on this table came to around $15

4. Use your freezer

When I was growing up, my mom always had a million and a half things in our freezer and I never understood why. Now, I do. I’ve learned that just about everything in the grocery store is meant for families, or at the very least, more than one person. It’s hard to go through a loaf of bread or bag of bagels by yourself before it goes bad. This is why I love to freeze things *just* before they go bad so I can keep it fresh and use it for longer. It’s also great if you can mooch some homemade food like pasta sauce off of family members and make it last for some homemade cooking (that you don’t have to make). 

Being on your own can be intimidating in many ways, but it doesn’t have to be a huge challenge food-wise. It’s time to channel your inner Masterchef and make whatever your heart desires. 

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