It is only when you leave the safety of a meal plan and start cooking that you realize you are growing up. Cooking is difficult, but grocery shopping is even harder, especially when on a college budget. But there are three things you can do to make shopping more manageable.
Cooking well does not have to mean a three-course meal. All you need to have for your college pantry are a few essentials that can be easily manipulated to create countless dishes. When you are doing your weekly shopping, make sure to grab butter — sticks, in case you want to use them for baking — and olive oil. Also load up with pasta and rice because they can last for a long time and can be used to make a variety of dishes.
On the go
Abiding by a college schedule is hectic. Whether you have classes, jobs, internships or studying, we are constantly on the move, and what we have in our kitchen should reflect that. There are a few items you must have stocked for those days when you have to run out of the door in a hurry. For something healthy, buy a week’s supply of your favorite fruit. Bananas, oranges and apples all work, as long as you can grab them and go. If you want something more filling, stock up on cereal bars (Clif Bars or Luna Bars are my favorites), and put the box near the door so you remember to take one on the way out. Another easy choice would be nuts or trail mix if it comes in a small package.
Cooking in a dorm or even an apartment is always a frustrating task, with little kitchen space, little time and too many people sharing the same area. To get in and out of the kitchen quickly, pick up meals from the freezer section that you can throw in the microwave or put in the oven for a few minutes. Vegetarians can also enjoy the television-style meals. Gardein makes delicious chicken and beef alternatives that take only a minute to heat up. If you are not a fan of freezer food, pile your refrigerator shelf with eggs. You can make myriad dishes in a very short amount of time with eggs. Plus, eggs are high in protein and other nutrients.