Moving off-campus is an exciting time for a college student. It is a step closer to adulthood that can be very liberating but also challenging at times. For many off-campus students, this change means they are saying goodbye to eating at their school’s dining hall. It can be tempting to start a diet of fast food, ramen, and PB&Js but there is a much healthier option that will leave you much more satisfied. Learning to cook!
Here are 5 tips on how to teach yourself to cook when moving off-campus!
Stock Your kitchen
It is important to stock your kitchen full of essentials such as rice, pasta, beans, and spices that you can have on hand when putting together a meal. It can also be helpful to invest in some basic kitchen equipment such as quality pans, pots, spatulas, and a blender. Here is a list of some kitchen supplies that can be purchased on a budget.
Conquer the Basics
When first approaching learning to cook, it can be helpful to focus on some basic meals that you can have in your arsenal on busy school nights. Learning to master some basic recipes can provide a good foundation for when you want to get a bit more sophisticated with your cooking.
- Eggs: Scrambled, fried, over easy, omelet
- Meat: Chicken or turkey breast/thighs/drumsticks, ground beef or patties
- Whole Grains: Pasta, rice, potatoes
Try New Recipes to Keep it Interesting
It can be easy to fall into a routine of making the same types of meals every week. It is important not only for your health but also for your well-being to diversify the foods you eat. Food blogs are a great resource to find new and exciting recipes. Blogs such as Minimalist Baker, ScheckEats, and Budget Bytes provide fun recipes for a variety of dietary needs.
Meal Prep to Save Time and Money
As a college student, life can become very hectic and it can be hard to find time to cook. Meal prepping is a great way to enjoy home-cooked meals throughout the week without having to spend too much time in the kitchen. If you take a couple of hours on the weekend to prepare your food, you can have days of healthy meals to enjoy!
Meal Prep Necessities:
- Food storage containers – Opt for glass, it’ll last longer than plastic.
- Baking sheets – Great for roasting large amounts of vegetables.
- Crockpot, Instant Pot or Air Fryer – These appliances cut down on meal prep and clean up time.
Remember Balance is Key
Nutrition is all about balance. Falling into patterns of restricting your food too heavily or not eating any nutrient-dense foods can be harmful to your mental and physical health. It is important to prioritize foods that leave you feeling nourished while also enjoying the foods that bring you joy. You can enjoy just about anything (yes, even chocolate) when it’s in moderation.
Hopefully these tips will help you kickstart your cooking journey! Check out more of our posts for more information on how to manage your wellbeing in college.