The student guide to grocery shopping

Posted at: 11 Dec 2019 | Communication

The busy lifestyle of being on an exchange programme is exciting, exhilarating and fun. It's no secret in the mist of having fun and studying that it is difficult to stay healthy, not to mention the many temptations to eat out in a great city like Amsterdam. Here is a list of places where you can buy your groceries and stock up your pantry. I’ve also included a recipe to help you stay track!

Albert Heijn

This is my go-to store for specialty products when I am trying out new recipes. They have a wide range of products and have many stores located in Amsterdam. To keep my costs down I do use my loyalty card and buy Albert Heijn-branded products. In some selected stores they do not accept Visa or Mastercard card, so always bring your maestro card or cash.


You can find pretty much everything here. The prices are good and they have a wide variety of products. I like to buy my staple food here like rice and legumes/beans. This is a good store to stock up on foods that will come in handy on a rainy day.


I live pretty close to Lidl, so I am always in here looking for a good bargain or lower prices. Here I buy my snacks, such as my nuts and seeds e.g. almonds, cashews and walnuts. Sometimes you will find good deals on fruits and vegetables as well as on bakery goods and bread.

Aisha stocking up at her local Albert Heijn grocery store.

Dirk van den Broek

This store has such a wide variety of products. I love it when they have deals on my favourite products, especially the 'buy one get one free' deal on plant-based alternative milk products. This is where I buy my frozen fruit for my morning smoothies.


A place to buy ecological and organic products. It is an organic supermarket chain and I tend to buy one or two items like arame (algae) or grains like amaranth for my porridge. It’s a bit on the pricey side, but it is so worth visiting.

Independent grocery stores

Lastly, I like to visit grocery stores or markets where I can find food items from all over the world. My parents are from the Caribbean, so I grew up eating foods items like yams, cassava, okra and West Indian hot pepper sauce, which I miss dearly. Not to worry as there are many stores from different parts of the world. Throughout my time as an exchange student in Amsterdam I have come across Indian, Middle Eastern, Bulgarian and many Surinamese food stores dotted in various locations.

So, you can see there are so many places to shop for groceries. Once a week I tend to go out with my groceries list and it usually has around 10-15 items depending on discounts, offers and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Having a list keeps me in check, so that I can stay on track with monthly budgeting, make sure to choose healthier options and helps me to avoid buying food from the campus canteen daily.

Winter is here so I wanted to share with you all my delicious and nutritious soup recipe called 'Leftovers Soup'. Basically anything I have left in my fridge or pantry at the end of the week gets thrown in, I just mix up and go with the flow. Enjoy!

Aisha's 'Leftovers Soup' recipe.

Leftovers soup recipe


1 red onion chopped
3 garlic cloves chopped
1 sweet potato
1 small pumpkin
3 tomatoes
Half of a fennel bulb
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup of water
1 bay leaf
Half scotch bonnet pepper (optional, if you like it spicy)
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tsp Olive oil


  1. Add the mustard seeds, coriander seeds and cumin to a pan with the olive oil and add in the red onions and garlic and slightly sauté.
  2. Add tomatoes, sweet potato, pumpkin and fennel to the pan. Cook slightly for 3 mins and add vegetable stock and water and boil.
  3. Simmer all contents and add the bay leaf and scotch bonnet pepper (optional). Keep the pepper in for 3 mins- 5 mins and take out before it gets too hot! Simmer all contents until the vegetables are soft.
  4. Cool down a bit and mix all contents with a blender.

Make sure to check my profile and feel free to ask me anything about going on an exchange at the AUAS. Or if you want to exchange recipe ideas or you would like more info on grocery shopping, please feel free to contact me.

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