Between a strict college budget, limited time to cook and lack of space, healthy eating can seem nearly impossible. College cafeterias are not known for their organic produce or low-sodium meals. We collected some cooking tips for college students to help you stay healthy even as you manage a busy schedule.
But with a few small changes, food shopping, cooking and meal prep can become quick and easy. The editors over at The Kitchn shared some of the things they wished they had known when cooking in college, and one of those things was cooking simply every day instead of preparing complicated dishes only occasionally.
Quick Cooking Tips & Tricks
- Use pre-cooked meats. From rotisserie chicken to frozen grilled chicken strips, buying meat that is already cooked will save you hours each week.
- Have salad as a main dish. Start with a bagged salad and add some protein, cheese or fruit on top. Toss with a dressing and voila! Healthy, cheap and quick eating.
- Use bottled sauces, dressings and marinades. Making tomato sauce from scratch is an experience everyone should try, but not on a Tuesday night after a long lecture. Purchase some jarred sauce and get dinner on the table quickly.
Substitutions to Save Money
- Go meatless. Consider eliminating the meat from one meal a week. Beans are cheaper than meat and they back just as big of a protein punch.
- Have breakfast for dinner. Try making a breakfast casserole for dinner and then eat it all week for breakfast. It’s an easy, inexpensive and fast option for busy school mornings.
- Cook in bulk. When time allows, make a pot of soup. Make a full recipe to feed 4-6 people and freeze it in individual portions. Then you have meals for those busy days when time is short!
With a little bit of planning, cooking while in college can be fun, healthy and quick. If living with others, consider sharing these ideas and the burden of cooking throughout the week so everyone can participate.