Meal prepping tips for students from Gannon’s Goodwill Garden

Meal prepping tips for students from Gannon’s Goodwill Garden

How long does it take for this to rot? How on earth do you cook this? Am I really going to use this? How much should I budget for groceries?

It can be tough as a college student balancing life and adult things like cooking for yourself. It’s overwhelming to go from having meals made by mom or just hopping over to the café for dinner to having to think about what you are going to feed yourself and manage to get your studying in and attend all those club meetings. It is a challenge, but it is possible.

I am writing this to help all college students who ask themselves those questions to help navigate the wonderful, crazy, overwhelming world of grocery shopping and cooking. It feels great to make one of your favorite dishes your family serves up. It feels great to have healthy snacks on hand that you selectively picked out based on the quality ingredients.

And there are some weeks that just fly by and you forget to eat breakfast and dinner is this weird mash-up of leftovers. Or you watch an episode of “Master Chef” and try to make one of your own creations on the fly and it goes horribly wrong. It happens.

So let’s start with the basics. Take an inventory of the tools you have on hand. What do you have that you like and are helpful? Search for a basic kitchen gadget checklist and then compare. Do you have what you need to make meals?

If not it’s time to look for those items. Some you are better off investing in quality items (could be a potential holiday gift from Mom and Dad) and some items you can get away with going for the cheaper product.

It’s also important to think about time-saving recipes and what you need to make those. Bring in the crockpot and the casserole dish. I am still mastering the crockpot, which is really great because all you have to do is throw the ingredients in a pot and a couple hours later dinner is ready.

But I do leave my apartment for the day and hope to goodness it does not burn down, and thus far, it hasn’t. Casserole dishes are great too because you can mix everything in the dish and throw it in the oven.

A great time saver — like we have time — is to prep the morning or night before so all you have to do is turn on the oven and let it cook while you unwind or study.

So now that you have an idea of what equipment you have and need, it’s time to think about what you like to eat. I know it sounds strange, but if you don’t think about what you like to eat, how are you going to plan out your meals?

I like to make a list of five to seven meals that I like. I will then designate what day of the week to make this based on my schedule. It’s not hard but it takes a few minutes. Then I make my grocery list based on meals for the week. Then like magic, you have it all figured out.

Just kidding, there will be an article each month with a more advice on navigating how to cook for yourself. Stay tuned.


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