As a college student living off-campus, cooking can be a struggle. You’re not only used to having food magically appear on your plate at home but thanks to your hectic college-schedule, you have much less time to even think about cooking. This often results in college students eating out too often, spending money unnecessarily and picking up unhealthy habits. Here are some basic cooking hacks for college students that can help you save time and money in the kitchen!
While meal-prepping is ideal, we all know college life can be too unpredictable for it. Instead, a great food hack for college students is to make certain things in bulk, so that they’re ready to eat for the next couple of days. If you’re planning on making pasta one night, make the entire box and save the rest for other days of the week! Do this with grains as well as with certain veggies and meats (but make sure you don’t wait too long to eat these).
No time for breakfast- no worries!
Repeat after us: mugs are my best friend. And not only when they’re full of coffee! If you’re in a hurry, learn how to cook scrambled eggs in a microwave. Check out this easy Mr. Food recipe here. You can do something similar with oatmeal, like make a baked oatmeal treat! Check out this Blueberry Banana Baked Oatmeal in a Mug, which you can make in 3-minutes. This is perfect for breakfast, or a snack in between classes. These are quick and easy to make and will keep you satisfied until lunch. Pro tip: Follow this mug cake recipe to calm your sweet tooth fast!
Get a Microwave Steamer
Nothing says fast, easy, and healthy as much as a Microwave Steamer does! Not only are they cheap, easy to use and help you save time, but microwave steamers maintain more nutrients in food than traditional cooking does. Check out Sistema’s Microwave Steamer, Pampered Chef’s Large Micro-Cooker, or OXO Good Grip’s Microwave Steamer, for under $20 bucks options, and get to cooking veggies, pasta, rice, fish and even poultry in no time.
Have a weekly roommate Cook-Off
If you have roommates, you know that the kitchen can get a bit hectic when you’re all trying to fix up something to eat at the same time. A fun way to hack college cooking is by assigning a day of the week where each roommate cooks for everyone else. Maybe you have time on Mondays and they can do it on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, the important thing is to be clear on what each other’s schedules look like. This way, you’re not only saving time on cooking at least once a week, but you have an incentive to split groceries and save money as well! If one of you can’t make it, make sure to let the others know beforehand! Pro tip: to make it extra fun, turn it into a Cook-Off and vote for the best dish at the end of the week. A little competition goes a long way!
Keep Sweet Potatoes Around
They’re much healthier than regular potatoes, they’ll fill you up in a second, and guess what? You can cook sweet potatoes in the microwave! Use a fork to poke some holes in the sweet potato, wrap it in a damp paper towel and put it in the microwave oven for about 10 minutes. Once its ready slice it open and add some salt, pepper, butter, sour cream, or whatever you prefer, and enjoy! Follow this link to get the full instructions on how to cook sweet potatoes in the microwave!
Did someone say stale bread?
Yup, we’ve been there. You bought too much, ate too little, and now it’s like biting into a brick. But before you throw the whole bag of bread out, try this: run it through some water (not too much, you don’t want it to get soggy) and put it in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Voila! Tastes just like freshly-baked bread!
Which one of these basic cooking hacks you liked the most? Tell us in the comments!