Cooking and Grocery Tips for Post-Secondary Living
At times, student life can be so stressful that you often skimp on the things you should do to take care of yourself. Unfortunately, when juggling multiple responsibilities, maintaining a healthy diet often takes a hit. Moreover, by ordering Chinese food one too many nights a week, you’re hurting your wallet as well as your body. It’s important to prioritize your health as well as your finances by developing healthy routines, and making wise decisions about your groceries and meals is one place to start.
Here are some cooking and grocery tips for student living. The following ideas will help you stay healthy and on track.
Make it a routine. Set a reminder to grocery shop on a weekly basis. You should schedule a time when it’s most convenient for you to go shopping, when produce is the freshest, or when the grocery store has discounts for students. Even if it seems like you don’t need much at the time, this will prevent you from putting groceries on the back burner, and winding up with an empty fridge.
Necessities first. When compiling your grocery lists, start with the bare bones. Include fruit, vegetables, and the basic components of future meals before you go crazy with the cookies and candy. Plus, if you organize your groceries in this way and you’re short on cash, you can start at the top of your list when you’re shopping and leave the more indulgent items for a later date.
Sharing is caring. If you have roommates, consider collaborating with them and buying groceries together. You’ll save money and waste less when you avoid buying duplicate items. If you live alone, consider working out a similar arrangement with a friend who lives nearby—for example, if you live near a bakery and they live near a fruit market, you can divide and conquer and take care of one another’s shopping in those specific areas.
Keep recipes on file. Take an hour out of your weekend and look up easy, quick, and healthy lunches or dinners that you can whip up whenever you’re out of culinary inspiration. Print the recipes out or keep the files on your hard drive for later perusal—you’ll be thanking yourself when you’re hungry and studying for midterms.
Consult nutrition guides. Ensure you’re cooking healthy meals by looking up nutritional information about the ingredients beforehand. It’s definitely okay to treat yourself every once in a while, but you probably shouldn’t be eating ramen for dinner every night. When in doubt, make a side salad.
Be practical. If you know you aren’t the greatest chef, you don’t need to go to great lengths to make elaborate meals. Sometimes, the simplest meals are also the most nutritious. Furthermore, consult your fridge before you start cooking: if you have ingredients you need to use up (or leftovers you should probably get rid of), let that guide your process before you get cracking.