Whether it’s French fries smothered in ketchup or ice cream eaten straight from the tub, many people believe that the diets of American college students are far from healthy. But it doesn’t have to be this way. In this post, we’ll take a look at some top tips for cooking healthy and delicious meals at college.
As a student, you’re pushed for time. Whether it’s ensuring you get to class, making sure you don’t miss that all-important sports commitment or just hanging out with your buddies back at the dorm, there’s a lot going on.
That’s why having a repertoire of basic meals up your sleeve is ideal. For example, it’s a good idea to learn how to cook staple bases, such as pasta, rice, and potatoes. Often, all it takes to cook them is a pan, a knife, and some boiling water.
When it comes to sauces and toppings, you should learn how to prepare staples, like vegetables and meat. Remember to keep a separate chopping board for these two items for hygiene reasons, and when preparing meat in particular, always check it’s fully cooked before moving on to the meal’s next stage.
And if you’re a vegetarian, it’s even easier: head into a store like Trader Joe’s to find a wide range of meat substitute options which don’t require as much preparation.
Get the kit
There are two aspects to learning to cook as a college student. If one is picking up the basic techniques, the other is discovering what equipment you need and how to use it correctly.
You should certainly invest in some basics like a chopping board and a set of knives. Pots and pans are also important, and for this, it’s a good idea to have a look online as that’s where the best deals often are. There are also pans that are healthier to use. A Gotham steel pan, for example, doesn’t require butter or oil – meaning your meals will be healthier.
If cash is an issue, this is an ideal gift to ask parents or grandparents for at your birthday or the Christmas before you leave. They’ll just be pleased you’ve decided to cook for yourself!
Cooking for friends
Once you’ve had a few chances to practice, why not invite your buddies over for a meal to show off your skills? For your first group meal, it’s a good idea to cook an easy one-pot dish – such as a chili – rather than an elaborate meal. You’ll still be able to make it special by adding unusual flavors and spices, but if there are more or fewer guests than you planned for, the dish will still work.
It’s also a good idea to have a trial run so you can make any tweaks when you cook it for friends and prevent the awkwardness of serving a bad meal.
Ultimately, with excellent cooking equipment on the market and plenty of opportunities to learn new skills, there’s no reason not to cook in college. Save the fries for a treat and enjoy healthy, affordable and nutritious meals in your dorm kitchen every day of the week!