By Josh Williams

One of the best benefits associated with moving away to college is the sweet taste of freedom. No longer do you have to listen to your parents yell at you to clean your room, do the dishes or feed the fish. Upon entering college, you have the benefit of exercising freedom that you might have not experienced before. This includes choosing when to wake up, whether or not to go to class, and even what to eat for your meals.

However, freedom of food choice does have some downsides to it, which all come down to personal responsibility. For example, no longer is there a parent to buy your groceries and cook meals for you to happily eat. As it turns out, those groceries that always happened to be in the fridge and in the pantry at home do not magically show up in your fridge and your pantry in your dorm room. Instead, they have to be purchased. While this is almost as shocking as when you found out that Santa Claus was not real, steps need to be taken to ensure that you have the right kind of food that fits your needs. Here are some suggestions:

Whole grain rice or pasta: $1 – $4. Pasta is high in fiber and low in calories. It also has a long shelf-life.

Bananas: About 25 cents each. Bananas contain loads of vitamin C and potassium, and have few calories.

Oatmeal: $2 – $3. Oatmeal is a breakfast food that is really good for you. It contains high amounts of dietary fiber and is low in calories.

Tuna fish: Under $1 per can. Tuna is high in protein, low in fat and low in calories.

Low-fat yogurt: Around 50 cents for individual servings. Yogurt has the ability to be really good and cheap. It offers numerous vitamins and can be mixed with a lot of items to make a tasty little meal. Yogurt is a must-have in any fridge.

Now that you have some healthy ingredients, what do you do with them? Here are some healthy meal ideas with a few other cheap ingredients:

Breakfast: A parfait can easily be made from a bowl of low-fat yogurt, mixed with chopped up bananas and dry oatmeal.

Lunch: Tuna fish on whole wheat crackers with a side of whole wheat rice makes a quick and easy lunch. A sandwich with low-fat peanut butter and sliced banana on wheat bread with a side of low-fat yogurt is also a healthy option.

Dinner: Whole wheat pasta with spaghetti sauce and whole wheat bread as a side is a cheap yet filling meal.

Being on your own is difficult at times, with all of the responsibilities that come along with being free of parental oppression. However, if you can adapt to the hardships of supporting yourself, being away on your own can be a blast. Just make sure to choose the right foods, and the taste of freedom will be much sweeter.