One really nice thing about DIS is that students are given a small food stipend. For students living in DIS housing, we are given 2000 KR three times throughout the semester (which totals round $600 USD). For those living in a homestay, you get a slightly smaller food stipend because it is assumed you will be eating most of your meals with your host family. For our food stipend, we are given gift cards to ICA, which is a large grocery chain throughout Sweden.
I wanted to quickly share five of my personal experiences and tips from grocery shopping in Stockholm…
1. There are many different ICA stores around the city.
The ICA store that I typically go to is just a five minute walk from my housing, and right across the street from the train station. This store is a bit smaller, but it is so convenient which is why I usually shop here. I have visited a few other grocery stores around Stockholm (and even in Uppsala) and several of them are much larger than the one near me. For example, there is an ICA about 10 minutes from DIS with a much larger selection of fresh produce. There is also an ICA off the Mariatorget metro stop that has a wide variety of pre-made meals. While I don’t get to these stores as often, they definitely have their perks.
2. Bring your own grocery bag
In Sweden people rarely give out bags, especially plastic bags. If you don’t bring a bag to ICA, you will need to pay for one. Since coming to Sweden, I have bought two reusable bags from ICA that I bring with me whenever I go grocery shopping. While having to remember a bag can sometimes feel a bit inconvenient, it is a great way to be more sustainable and produce less waste while shopping.
3. Trying to eliminate food waste
On the topic of being more sustainable while shopping, something I have really struggled with is buying the right amount of food so that I don’t waste anything. I am especially bad at buying the right amount of fresh produce and eating it before it spoils. One way I try to combat this is by making multiple small trips to the store throughout the week instead of having one large grocery run.
4. Cook with friends
Something that I really have enjoyed while being as DIS is having the chance to cook with friends! It is fun to share food together and all pitch in to have a nice meal. Some of the highlights of food I have eaten with friends so far include: pulled pork, fresh spring rolls, and mac and cheese.
5. Buy the candy
Candy is a really big thing in Sweden, and at each grocery store there are aisles filled with candy that you can compile into one bag to take home. Each Saturday is “Lördagsgodis,” which literally translates to “Saturday Candy.” BBC just published an article called “Lördaagsgodis: Sweden’s Saturday-only Candy Tradition” that you can read here if you’re interested in learning more about the candy obsession in Sweden. I have always had a sweet tooth, but since being here I have gotten much more into candy. My personal favorite is Daim (it’s like toffee covered in chocolate).