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!
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:
A healthy way that I’ve found to help deal with the mounting stress of classes, exams, and homework has been a daily routine of homemade teas. There’s something to be said for a hot drink after a long day, and all of the following teas have the additional bonus of being healthy. While a sweetener isn’t necessary, I’ve personally never been able to properly enjoy my tea plain. An easy way around this is to sweeten with honey instead of granulated sugar: it has the same sweetening effect, and it is much better for you! So whenever you start to feel overwhelmed with your workload, take a look at these four teas:
One of the most useful things I’ve done since moving into my new apartment is set up a meal prep routine. It was something I’ve heard of other people doing, but for a long time I was skeptical: I thought it’d be too expensive, and take up too much time. I worried that the food wouldn’t reheat well, or that I’d quickly get bored with my meals each week. It wasn’t until one of my roommates insisted on attempting it that I finally gave it a shot, and I haven’t looked back since.
First things first, let’s tackle some of my initial worries about meal prepping: