As finals are fast approaching, I’ve found that I have less and less time to cook, let alone cook all of my meal-prep meals in one day. What you don’t want to do during this time is slip into only eating frozen meals. This will leave you feeling tired and sluggish, and whenever I slip into this bad habit I feel guilty, like I’m letting myself down. Just plan to cook simple meals, ones that don’t take too much prep or cooking time, and if need be you can throw in one or two microwave dinners that you don’t have to worry about.
One of the biggest adjustments that I had to make when I crossed the country for college, is nothing I had here would quite match up to home cooking. It’s a sad truth of living on your own, that suddenly you realize you’re on your own for what’s for dinner. You can make the adjustment a little easier however, by finding the recipes for your old favorite dishes, and making them whenever you’re feeling a little homesick. Here are two of my favorites!
I wrote previously about a “cheat day,” and now I’m going to do the exact opposite: tell you all about vegetables. If done right, I promise they’re not as bad as you once thought as a kid, and if done really well, you’ll even end up enjoying them!
Living in a college apartment on a college budget means that we don’t always have all the supplies that a recipe calls for, and it wouldn’t be realistic for us to run to the store for every little (usually small) part of the recipe that we don’t have. There are a lot of tricks out there however that let us substitute certain ingredients with either healthier, or more common, alternatives. Always make sure first however, that you really even need the ingredient. Look through the recipe and check to see if it would still taste good/hold together without it. Chances are, if it’s that important to the recipe, it’ll be a relatively basic ingredient.
As a student, it’s not always realistic for me to expect to be home by a certain time every day to eat lunch, or even dinner. Things come up: classes, presentations, meetings, and group projects could all contribute to not being able to make it back for that meal you’ve been craving all day. The solution? Rather than spend money on cafeteria food (that, let’s be honest, probably doesn’t taste very good), plan ahead to make meals that you can take to school with you.
I think one of the most important pieces of advice that I can give, is that if you want to avoid unnecessary stress, don’t go grocery shopping on a Sunday afternoon. I’ve made that mistake several times, and regretted the decision within seconds of stepping foot in the store. “Busy” would be an understatement: It’s the time where everyone realizes that they need to get food for the week, as well as the time where most people don’t have to go to work, and are just getting out of church. All in all, it’s a madhouse where you spend just as much time dodging rogue carts and stepping around screaming toddlers as you do actually finding food. If you’re like me however, Sunday may be the only day you have to time to make a grocery haul, and the chaos is unavoidable. There are a few tips though that I’ve learned to make the process just a little bit smoother:
I’m a firm believer that so called “cheat days” are healthy for the soul – allowing yourself a treat here and there is a good thing. It helps to avoid the inevitable binge if you try to eat only healthy food 24/7. There are several ways to go about this, whether it be going all out and making a sweet dessert, an indulgent snack, or a meal that you wouldn’t normally eat. For me, I tend to switch up between the three options, easing my guilt with the knowledge that it’s all about moderation: allow yourself to eat that slice of chocolate cake, but just be aware of how much of it you’re eating.