As a university student, I have become familiar with the struggles of living on your own for the first time and generally just trying to survive. Therefore I have devised a know-how on it from my personal experiences and doing it successfully.
After moving away from home to live independently for the first time, I realised that I took for granted all those years that my parents would cook for me and my siblings. I knew my way around the kitchen but I wasn’t used to cooking or preparing meals regularly. Since then, I have learnt a bit more. My cooking skills aren’t in the professional level but I have learned how to cook for everyday consumption and maintain a healthy diet whilst at university. Here are the top three know-hows on cooking for students, made by a student:
Rice is a staple
The sad reality of moving to university and living by yourself is that you won’t be able to taste your mother’s home-made caldereta or adobo. You could probably try to do it yourself but it won’t be the same. Thankfully having a Filipino upbringing means knowing how to cook rice and if you know how to do that, that is half of your meal already prepped! All you have to worry about is cooking the side dish but this means that preparing your meals requires less time. It is also cheaper as a bag of rice would last for longer compared to other foods. Furthermore, throughout all of my years at university, eating rice has always reminded me of the taste of home.
Next time you food shop, opt for brown rice instead of white rice. Studies show that it is healthier as they are high in fiber and have more nutrients.
Prepare your meals
Setting aside an hour at the start of the week or during the weekend to prepare meals will help you to save both time and money. All you will have to do is heat up your meals and if you don’t have a microwave in your accommodation, you can check out the university’s canteen to see if they provide this facility. Meal prepping also means that you know exactly how much you’ll be spending on your groceries and can help you to cut down waste. Furthermore, this method also ensures that you won’t be tempted to order takeaway and ultimately help you to save money.
The first step to a successful meal prep is owning or investing in a good set of Tupperware.
Friends who eat together, stay together
Foodshopping doesn’t have to be done alone nor does cooking. You can include your friends and flatmates and as the saying goes, friends who eat together stay together. But be careful if you are planning to buy food together, this may cause some issues later and it may make eating dinner awkward with your friends or flatmates. There were times at university especially during busy assessment or exam periods that eating becomes less of a priority. To make sure you don’t forget your meals, having a friend or a flatmate who regularly eats with you is extremely encouraging.
You can schedule a food challenge with your friends at least once a month a set a theme. For starters, you can do “Fruga Fridays” where you set a budget for a meal for everybody.