Look through any college kid’s kitchen and you are likely to find ramen, Pabst Blue Ribbon and ingredients for PB&J sandwiches. This is due to the fact that most college students are on a tight budget and may not have time to cook.

The obvious truth about buying the cheapest most convenient foods is that they aren’t the best for you.

Since I have been moved out of my parent’s house and started doing my own grocery shopping, I have become increasingly paranoid about what’s going into my body. Research about farms and factories where our food is made has turned me into a food snob.

Here is my reasoning for being paranoid: chicken that is not organic, and non-GMO is pumped with hormones. These hormones are injected into chickens to make them larger in a short amount of time. On top of this, most chicken is pumped with water injections to make the chicken look bigger, but when it’s cooked it shrinks down to its actual size.

In most cases, you won’t be getting all that you pay for. A $5/lb of boneless chicken meat is typically 15 percent chicken broth (water) which means you (the consumer) will only be getting about $4.75 chicken and $0.75 water.

Bovine growth hormone is injected into cows to make them mature faster and produce more milk. BGH produces insulin-like growth factor-1, which increases the risk of some cancers, like colon and breast.

Eating out is a normal occurrence in college, mostly to the places that give you the most bang for your buck. A lot of my friends love to go to Olive Garden for the buy one pasta get one deal they run seasonally. If you can cook the pasta in the microwave, it’s probably not real food.

Look online and you can find former kitchen employees talking about the quality of food served at chain restaurants. You’ll find admissions that claim that the kitchen in all Applebee’s is allegedly just a line of microwaves. Google ‘confessions of chain restaurant worker.’ I dare you.

It’s not just food, either. Antiperspirant has an aluminum-based compound that plugs sweat ducts and can cause cancer.

Do you see why I’m paranoid now? I love good food and I love cooking, but I refuse to buy cheap groceries. Yes, I am one of those people that buy organic produce and all natural products.

Being on a college student’s budget, it’s not easy to eat well all the time.

Here’s how I do it: I buy my fruits and veggies from Sprouts, my kombucha from Natural Grocers, some meats in bulk from Sam’s and the rest from City Market. Coupons from Sprouts are usually available in the paper and a City Market card helps with fuel points and deals.

Just because you’re a college student doesn’t mean you have to eat like one. Planning out shopping for different products at different places can help your wallet and your body.

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Cassidy Jimerson
Cassidy Jimerson is a mass communication major and a junior for the 2017/2018 academic year. Jimerson has contributed to several publications including CMU's Horizon Magazine. This is Cassidy's first year with The Criterion and is serving as the newspaper's assistant news editor. Cassidy also writes opinion pieces for her column "My Wine Ate My Homework."

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