A box of cup ramyun and chopsticks in front of a laptop

Ramyun and k-drama makes for the perfect night in / Image by Sophia Wasylinko

University life is expensive, especially during inflation. And one of the priciest things right now is food.

I didn’t pay much attention to my grocery bill until this year. Nowadays, I plan out my week’s meals more carefully to make the most of my food.

The following list includes ingredients that I have in my kitchen and that every student should, too.

Side note: if you have allergies, dietary restrictions, or don’t believe in the consumption of animal products, feel free to substitute with another ingredient of your choice where you can.

Let’s dig in!


Rice is a common food the world over and can offer substantial nutrients, depending on the variety. My roommate and I eat rice often with chicken, beef, shrimp, or sausage.

Rice keeps for ages and comes in different sizes of bags, so it’s perfect for those that live alone or with multiple people. It’s also supposed to be easy to make, though I’ve had my fair share of challenges using the pot method.

Sometimes it’s perfect, sometimes the bottom is burnt, and most of the time it’s soggy.

Maybe I should take Uncle Roger’s advice and buy a rice cooker.


Need protein, but don’t want to spend $10 on a pound of beef? Eggs are good option. This simple food can be prepared in a gazillion ways: fried, boiled, scrambled, with bacon, sausage, or vegetables.

I also make mug quiches when I want a change, or if I need to use up my eggs. They work well for a quick lunch. And if you have day-old rice, you can make egg-fried rice.

(Thanks to Uncle Roger, I can’t think of egg-fried rice the same way again!)


I don’t eat as many fruits and vegetables as I should for one simple reason: I can’t guarantee that I’ll finish everything before it goes bad.

So, when I do buy veggies and fruits, it’s something that will last a while and that I know I’ll eat. That means apples, bananas, cucumbers, and tomatoes.

Tomatoes are so versatile. They can be enjoyed in a sandwich, salad, or soup. They come big, small, on the vine or in a container, and are even a nice addition to your home or backyard for those into growing their own produce. 


Cheese has been part of my identity since childhood and goes well with so many things: pasta, chili, peanut butter sandwiches. (I’m weird.)

Seriously, though, you can have cheese for every meal. And there’s something for everyone: classic cheddar lovers, goat’s milk aficionados, vegan folks. You can go for dollar value and buy it in blocks, but you can also get it pre- shredded or sliced. You can even get it in different snack-sized shapes, like Babybel’s rounds or The Laughing Cow’s wedges. 

I’m biased, but I’ll say it: students need cheese in their lives!


Last winter, I discovered Aaron and Claire’s “9 New Ways To Enjoy Korean Ramyun Ramen Recipes hack” video. When I returned from Christmas holidays, I decided to try the recipes out.

Ramyun is a lifesaver! It can be eaten plain for those bold enough, though I usually cook it with cheese and egg, tomato and egg, or milk—ingredients that are in many students’ fridges.

These recipes help alleviate the spiciness (somewhat) and elevate the ramyun to a whole new level. Perfect for watching YouTube or a k-drama. (Tip: go the extra mile and add spring onion, pork, or gochujang.)


So, the next time you’re in a grocery store, keep these ingredients in mind. You’ll save money, have a few meals lined up for the coming week, and be a happier student. Take care!


Sophia is a fourth-year Creative Writing and Journalism student. She was the News Editor for The Navigator last year. Outside of The Nav, Sophia volunteers with VIU Cultural Connections as a Peer Helper. Three things she wants to do in the future are: travel to Japan and Korea, attend a Stray Kids concert, and adopt one or two black cats.

Let's Make Things Official

Get a curated list of articles sent directly to your email once a week. It’s not delivery, its Delissio