My top tips for cooking at university
Entering university life can be daunting. Independence sets in and you finally realise your mum, dad, sister and brothers are not behind you to help with any of the chores. A crucial part of impendence and living alone is being able to cook substantial meals and start a routine with food shopping and meal planning. The main issue I had in first year were sell-by dates; when you’re shopping for just yourself sell-by dates run out quickly so here are my top tips for cooking ideas at university!
Keep as much of your food frozen as you can. Frozen fruit, smoothie bags or frozen fish is a game changer! If you buy fish or meat in bulk, I really recommend, using zip-lock bags and separate food out into individual bags so they’re easy to prepare by just taking one out of the freezer, rather than having to defrost a bulk of five salmons. I keep individual salmon fillets or chicken breasts in the freezer and then just take one out in the morning ready to be cooked for dinner. This way, food lasts longer, and you have no food waste! If you like smoothies or cold fruit I really indorse using frozen fruit selections as they are a lot cheaper than fresh fruit and last so much longer. Of course, there are some foods that don’t work so well being frozen like vegetables which I buy fresh but make sure to use them up by the sell-by date. If not, a really good tip for having loads of vegetables left, instead of throwing them away, make a big vegetable stir-fry and add some seasoning on top and they will taste delicious!
My second tip is to cook with your flat! A great way of saving money and reducing food waste is to do flat meals and make one big meal with your flat every few days. This is a lovely way of socialising with your flat and getting to know them better, if you are a fresher. It also means that it saves you cooking for one night as cooking can be very time consuming when you try and wash up and balance doing university work and living your life. We love having fajita night or pizza night in my flat!
Meal plan for the week ahead. This can seem very straight froward, but it is one that helps so much especially when it comes to doing a food shop. Instead of buying unnecessary ingredients, by having a list you know only to buy correct quantities for how much you need that week. Writing a meal plan for dinners can also really help to know which days you are busier so might want to cook something a bit quicker and lighter, so you are not in a rush. Meal planning can also be great if you like to meal prep and cook your lunches in advance to take into university with you. I used to meal prep on Sundays last year so my lunches for the week were all prepped and ready in the fridge to just grab and go.
I hope these quick tips have helped when it comes to cooking and planning meals for the week! If you get into a routine with shopping and meal planning, then cooking will be very straight forward when you come to university!