Living in an apartment can sometimes be filed with trips to the fast joint, pizza and everything else under the sun here in the Blacksburg and NRV areas. As a former student there myself, I found myself often eating out in downtown, although I also found myself eating better at the apartment too. We’ll, today I’m going to give you a couple of great tips that I learned when I lived in the Burg for great cooking.
Keep Cooking Basics on Hand
To avoid late-night fast-food visits, keep a few of your favorite foods on hand. “Canned goods are good,” says Author Jill Carle, who suggests canned beans: “They always work very well in the microwave.” Supplement with rice and you’ve got a meal. Always have salt and pepper, plus other seasonings, like a Cajun mix, to keep things interesting. If you’ve got the room, stock basic starches. “Rice, pasta, and even potatoes because they keep for a long time,” suggests Carle. “You can always make something with those ingredients plus a few canned and fresh vegetables.” If getting or carrying supplies is a problem, learn to substitute. Buy bouillon cubes instead of canned stock. “It doesn’t have the same flavor, but they aren’t as heavy as carrying home 12 cans of stock,” says Carle.
Carle suggests stocking up on the basics: “Bowls, silverware, a plate, and a can opener.” If you do have access to a kitchen, also acquire a good knife — a chef’s or even a steak knife — and a big pot. “If you have a bigger pot, you can do a lot more. If you don’t have mixing bowls, you can mix in a large pot. You can make a big batch of something in a big pot and you can make a small batch in a big pot, but you can’t make a big batch in a small pot,” Carle says.
Shop Smartly and You’ll Save
After tuition and textbooks, your budget is tapped out. Though fast food might seem cheaper, it’s more economical (and healthier) to make your own meals. Stock up on items when they go on sale. “If it’s something you eat regularly, then there is no reason not to buy sale items,” says Carle. Another cost-cutting tip: “If you’re cooking for yourself, that doesn’t mean you have to cut down a recipe for a single serving. Make the whole recipe and take the leftovers for lunch the next day or freeze it so you have it for a future dinner. In the long run, it’s easier, because then you don’t have to cook every single day.”
Avoid the Freshman Fifteen
“The first time on your own, it’s really easy to eat pizza for every meal and tempting to chow down on ice cream and fries, but it doesn’t mean you should,” says Carle. Get some variety in your diet. “I would say what every mom says: ‘Eat your veggies’ or some sort of fiber or it’s all just gonna sit there for a really long time.” That says it all.