Finding your inner grad student foodie

Now that you’re a grad student, it’s time to eat like one. You may have spent undergrad meal times in the dining halls, but some quick math can show you that dining hall meal plans are no bargain price-wise. Cooking and eating at home will save you money and calories as you forgo the take-out menus. Besides, life isn’t really going to get any easier after grad school, so it’s time to learn how to balance work with your basic human needs – and cooking can be a fun break from work! Understandably, we have time and money constraints, so here’s some tips on how to cook and eat at home in the most efficient way:

  1. Plan meals and make a grocery list – plan your meals out one week at a time, make a shopping list, and execute the shopping list by crossing out items as you shop. This saves you from wandering and wasting time in the store, buying unnecessary items, and making multiple store trips each week.
  2. Cook meals with a purpose – it’s most time efficient to do bulk cooking early in the week so that you can have lots of leftovers. However, for people like me who can’t stand the thought of eating the same meal all week, choose the order of your meals for Mon to Fri so that by the end of the week you are using ingredients that will actually stay fresh that long (eggs, bags of frozen veggies, canned goods, pasta, etc.).
  3. Invest in some Tupperware – whatever you make for dinner each night, make enough to have for lunch leftovers the next day. I like glass containers so I know they’re microwave safe.
  4. Make quick and yummy meals – nothing kills the spirit of cooking quite like laborious meal prep, or, even worse, long meal prep followed by disappointing results. For quick, easy, and healthy meals, look for recipes that already have reviews. Here are my suggestions: The Runner’s World Cookbook, One Pan – Two Plates, Poor Girl Eats Well blog
  5. Set the cooking mood – play some music or watch TV, have a glass of wine, relax and enjoy.

2 thoughts on “Finding your inner grad student foodie”

  1. Three words: Nigella Bloomin’ Lawson. She might be a bit of a tabloid-y figure lately, but her recipes were the motivation for my first real attempts at cooking after college. (During college I never bothered. Who needed cooking when you had ramen noodles and the metabolism of the Flash? I bought a mini-fridge and set up a cocktail tray on top of that to take care of all my nutritional needs. Classy.) Her books, for the most part, cater to professionals in careers other than the food industry, working mothers, etc. – she herself was a journalist and food critic, not a trained chef – so nothing takes more than half an hour or requires more skills than basic stirring, pouring and chopping. And it’s all very, very good. Bonus points for the internet for making cookbook-buying essentially a thing of the past, as all her recipes are available online, some with videos for the truly lost (like me).

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