While trying to find the balance between studies and hanging out with friends in college, what often gets overlooked is having a proper meal. Eating in college means tasteless food from the cafeteria, takeouts, or having snacks for dinner.
That is understandable as many students do not have access to kitchens or the luxury of going to restaurants all the time. However, if your accommodation has a kitchen, there is no excuse for having instant ramen for dinner.
We are wondering how to manage to have good meals despite college struggles? Well, we are here to help. We will discuss how you can have actual food while being a college student.
7 Ways to Get the Best Use Out of Your College Kitchen
When you have a good kitchen, you will have a refrigerator, stoves, ovens, and storage for food. By utilizing the kitchen appliances and smartly planning your meals, you can successfully work out a way to have home-cooked meals.
Once you start cooking for yourself, you will be surprised by how efficient it is. You can do limitless cooking for the entire week or month without emptying your pocket.
1. Plan Your Meals
The best way to have healthy eating habits is by planning your meals. Planning meals and cooking them becomes even easier when you have a kitchen. Rather than cooking a large portion, you should cook frequently.
You should think about breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals and keep the meals simple. For breakfast, you can have scrambled eggs, sandwiches, pancakes, oatmeal, etc. For lunch, you can have your vegetables, peas, bread, tuna, etc.
Lastly, try to have a hearty meal for dinner. You can have rice, pasta, potatoes, meat, lentils, etc.
2. Have Snacks Options
Consider having some snacks as well in your meal plan. You will get hungry now and then, and cooking pasta or casserole might be too time-consuming.
It would help if you had options for daytime snacks and midnight snacks. For mid-night snacks, you can have leftovers if you have any. Otherwise, you can have snacks. Some good snack options could be nuts, dried fruits, peanut butter, cheese, crackers, etc.
3. Do Grocery Shopping
“Buy 2, get one free.” These offers may be alluring, but do you need three packs of something when one pack is enough? Aren’t you wasting food as well as money instead of saving it?
The first rule of shopping on a budget, don’t fall for such traps. Only buy what you will make use of. Just because something is on sale does not mean you need it.
Please list all the things you will need for your meals and stick to them. Buy only the things you will need. It is acceptable to buy one to two items not on the list but don’t go overboard.
Divide the things you need into two categories, ones that can be bought once in a while and others that need to be bought regularly. You can buy pasta, rice, nuts, dried fruits, etc., and store them for months. On the other hand, you need to buy milk, bread, vegetables, and fruits frequently.
Do not forget to include essential ingredients like oil, salt, pepper, herbs, etc.
4. Cook Your Meals
When you are a student, and cook for yourself, do not try to be a sous chef or follow their complicated recipes. Cook meals that are simple, easy to make, and take minimal time. It would help if you started by cooking things that you already can. Then you can start improving or adding things to it.
However, try to ensure you have the nutrients that you need. Try incorporating proteins, carbs, and vegetables into your food. When you have planned your meals and shopped for them, cooking will be easier.
If you don’t mind eating leftovers, you can cook in batches. Then you can properly store them and have them for a few days. This way, you will not have to cook frequently but can have healthy food.
Also, try mixing up the food menu and ingredients a little so that you do not get bored of eating the same things.
5. Organize Everything
Keeping things organized in a kitchen makes you feel welcome to cook. When your kitchen is a mess, you might get annoyed and order pizza. In an organized kitchen, you can easily and efficiently cook within no time.
Once you are done shopping, could you keep them in their appropriate places? Keep the frozen items in the freezer, and you can store the fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator.
For cabinets, section them and store similar products together. Keep your dry ingredients together, and keep the spices together. This way, you can get the most use out of your kitchen and be more inspired to cook.
Keep in mind that the college kitchen might typically not have a lot of space, so store your items deliberately.
6. Have Minimal Kitchen Utensils
It is more likely that the college kitchen will have a small space or shared space. So, it is best to avoid having too many utensils. Only have those that you will need. Don’t buy five dishes when you can work with only two. They will be a waste of money and space.
You can try investing in home appliances that can make things easier, like a blender, air fryer, slow cooker, etc. Then again, do not buy too many gadgets. Keep in mind that you will move eventually, so keeping things minimal will benefit.
7. Do the Dishes
This is the part where most people procrastinate. It would help if you cleaned the dishes as soon as possible, possibly right after having the meal. However, if you do not have time, you can soak the dishes in water and clean them later.
Moreover, keep the kitchen clean too after preparing every meal. Wipe away any fallen food, crumbs, or splatters right away.
Cooking in college is not as complicated as many presume. When you put your mind to it, you can easily do it. You can start by cooking at least one meal a day and eventually start cooking more.
Cooking for yourself can save a lot of money; you can have healthy, home-cooked meals and invite your friends. You should give it a try.