Leaving home for college can be pretty exciting and cool. But there can be some downsides as well, especially when it comes to dorm food.
If you’re a college student on the hunt for some healthy meal ideas that you can make quickly, I’ve got some cooking tips to help you improve your at-school dining options. It’s time to learn to cook!
Why you should learn to cook
A big reason you may want to step up your cooking game as a college student is to keep sickness at bay. Eating too much processed and unhealthy food can not only cause you to pack on the pounds, but it also can do a real number on your health—from weakening your immune system to altering the bacteria in your gut (which believe it or not is something you want, the good bacteria, that is). Coming up with your own meal ideas for dorm food instead of hitting the drive-thru is a good starting place.
Another reason to learn to cook? Well, just like any other basic skill (think: driving, balancing a checkbook or sewing on a button) cooking is knowledge that can only help you in the long run. So I say dust off your spatula and let’s give this a go.
Basic cooking skills
What’s one of the easiest things to start with when you are learning basic cooking skills? I like to direct college students to eggs, then pasta. Ask your parents for help learning how to scramble, fry and hard-boil an egg. Or check out YouTube for videos. Once you feel like you have these quick meal idea starters down, broaden your horizons and work on your omelet skills. Now you have a perfect and fast meal or snack that is easy to customize—just add any leftover veggies and your favorite cheese.
Next up is pasta. Again, this is a super versatile dish and can give you a meal quickly once you know how to cook it correctly. Once the salted water comes to a good boil, most pasta cooks in eight to nine minutes.
Enlist your parents
As I have already suggested, your parents, even if they aren’t great cooks themselves, can be a valuable resource. If they aren’t comfortable in the kitchen to give you cooking tips or meal ideas, they might at least be willing to set you up with a kitchen-focused care package. NPR offered some getting started cooking tips, as well as some items you may want when beginning your cooking adventure.
Easy dorm meal ideas
When you’re ready for some quick meal ideas, I’ve got a couple of great college student friendly suggestions. The first is a grilled cheese with spinach. A grilled cheese is easy to make, requires only one pan and is pretty hard to mess up. Plus it is just plain yummy. Adding in spinach elevates it and makes it a bit healthier, which is never a bad thing. Give it a Greek spin by using feta cheese, adding a bit of garlic and red pepper and layering on some fresh baby spinach leaves.
Or incorporate your new egg cooking skills with a sesame noodle and wilted spinach bowl, topped with a fried egg. Budgetbytes.com has lots of other easy, quick and inexpensive meal ideas that any college student will appreciate.