THE spartan shops
FOOD & NUTRITION BLOG
THE spartan shops
FOOD & NUTRITION BLOG
In college, it will, for most of you, be your first extended time away from home. What does this mean? This means you don’t get mom and dad’s home cooking. It will probably be one of the saddest moments you will ever experience in your life (especially if you moved far away from home) when you crave home cooked food when you're homesick or just had a bad day. Or... perhaps, it is a liberating experience if your parents made you suffer through some pretty bad tasting food for the majority of your life. Hey, there are all sorts of families.
But, just because you are living by yourself or with a roommate who doesn’t even know how to properly cook an egg without burning it (trust me, these people exist), this doesn’t give you the excuse to go eat take-out everyday. I know how tempting it is to just run down to the Chipotle and grab something quick. I think you don’t need me to tell you how unhealthy take-out can be, with all the extra salt, sugar, oil, fat and who knows what else restaurants put in food to make it taste extra good and be extra addictive (probably MSG, I imagine). Plus, $7 here and $10 there will eventually take a toll on your limited bank account.
Taking the time to learn to cook is not only healthier, but is also deeply satisfying on many levels. Cooking is indeed a life skill- you don’t need to be an expert (unless you want to), but, just like learning how to drive, you need to set aside time to learn how to do it!
So, how do you cook for one? Let me count the ways...
Cook up full size meals and become friends with your freezer
The age old excuse I hear all the time by people who live by themselves is something akin to, “I can’t cook a full size recipe. How can I finish it all by myself?” Well, my friends, I am hear to tell you that no food has to go to waste! All you have to do is rekindle the relationship you have with your freezer and weeknight meals no longer have to be a chore. You can freeze vegetables, soups, chilis, rice… the list goes on and on. Cook once, and eat twice!
Make a Plan for Your Produce
Many people who cook for themselves are wary of purchasing fresh produce because they are afraid they can’t finish it all in time before it rots. In actuality, you can still buy fresh produce, but you need to have a game plan (ie a meal plan) for the week so your produce stays as fresh as possible.
For example, produce that is more perishable like spinach and berries should be eaten at the beginning of the week whereas heartier vegetables like cabbage, potatoes, and carrots can be eaten later on in the week. ALSO, buy frozen vegetables!! Contrary to belief, frozen vegetables are just as nutritious as some fresh produce so don’t skip out on these weeknight meal saviors! Frozen veggies are also great for soups, salads, and stir fry.
Portion and Freeze
I’m really going to be pounding in this freezer concept. For grains, cook a big pot of your grain of choice, scoop them out into muffin tins, and then freeze them. Once frozen, pop them out and wrap them in saran wrap and place them in freezer bags. For meats, again, portion them out individually, saran wrap, and freeze in bags or tupperware. When you want to eat your frozen foods, defrost them the morning of in your refrigerator and they will be ready to cook by evening. NOTE: Make sure to clearly label and date your food item to keep track of when you put it in the freezer! You don’t want to have the taste of freezer burn!
Purchase non-perishable canned items
Canned beans, canned vegetables, canned soups… these foods are canned for a reason. They last a LONG, LONG time. So, take advantage of that. And they make for great meals when you literally have no idea what to cook.
And there you have it. Quick, easy tips to prep and cook food for one! If you’re unsure of how to cook or have never touched a pot/pan/wok in your life, I highly suggest watching online videos to learn techniques on how to prep produce, how to cook simple meals, how to properly store meats, etc etc. There is so much information at your fingertips, so you have no excuse to be lazy! :P
Now, get out there and start cooking!
For more tips on how to cook for yourself or for two, check out these links below:
And for some healthy recipe ideas:
I won’t be here next week because of SPRING BREAK (YAY), so next post will be 2 weeks from now. Enjoy your well-deserved vacation everyone!
Image Sources (in sequence from top to bottom)