Cooking for yourself can be difficult. You think it’ll be easy because you only have to cook for one, and you know what you like and don’t like, so how difficult can it be right? More than you would think. To be honest, cooking for myself at first was super easy, I am a decent cook, and there’s not a lot that I don’t eat so coming up with things wasn’t the worst, and if all else failed I could make spaghetti super-fast. However, one can only eat spaghetti so many times before they never want to see it again. As well, the train of creative ideas of what to make runs out by about mid-January when you’ve cycled through your entire repertoire of meals. Then you end up resorting to things that aren’t the healthiest, and as a result feel low energy constantly because you aren’t fueling your body correctly. Here are some tips to get you through to the end of the school term and keep you eating well.
1. Figure out what can be made fast that fills you up.
My biggest issue is that often I am short on time. I don’t have an hour to spend in the kitchen making dinner because that time would be better spent studying, and working on assignments. For me one of the fastest things to make that isn’t terrible for me is the Knorr brand Sidekicks pastas. These are great because they only take about ten minutes on the stove, or for those without stoves about 15 minutes in the microwave. Additionally, you can toss in some of your favourite veggies, or whatever leftover protein you have and it becomes a decent meal. (Try adding cherry tomatoes to the Parmesan Pesto!)
2. Have some basics on hand that you can make anytime.
If you can, always try to have some bread in your pantry, with this you can whip up a quick sandwich anytime to satisfy your cravings. My go to sandwich is turkey on brown bread with mustard, and mayonnaise. It’s quick and easy, and stops my stomach from growling at me while I’m trying to work. An additional classic sandwich option – PB&J. Another thing to keep in your pantry is microwaveable soups – just throw them in a microwave safe bowl, heat them for a few minutes and you have something ready to go.
3. Buy (cheap) things that are pre-made.
As uO students, we’re lucky to live downtown close to 3 different grocery stores – Loblaws, Metro, and Farmboy. Each location is no more than 10 minutes away from campus. When you’re in a pinch for time but need food super-fast these stores can be great to go to for hot foods, or pre-made salads and sandwiches.
4. When you have time, make something that you enjoy.
Take your favourite recipe and figure out how to make it. Maybe it’s what you always order as take out, maybe it’s the one dish your Mom always made at home. Search it online, or give Mom a call and learn how to make it. That way when you finally have some time to cook, you can make something proper and filling that you know you will enjoy. Pro-tip: Make extra and freeze it for when you don’t have time to spare in the future.
5. When you’re totally out of ideas, look to the internet.
As much of a cliché as it has become Pinterest is one of the best locations for finding recipes. Just scrolling through for a few minutes should give you a plethora of ideas to try.
Here are a few of my current favourites:
Chicken Teriyaki that you can make in a Crock Pot: https://www.wellplated.com/crock-pot-teriyaki-chicken/
Vegetarian Friendly Delicious Sweet Chili Tofu Bowls: https://www.budgetbytes.com/2016/03/sweet-chili-tofu-bowls/
Something to Satisfy your Sweet Tooth – Oreo Cheesecake Cups: https://tipbuzz.com/oreo-cheesecake-cups/
What recipes do you use to fuel your body and brain? Tweet us at @HCuOttawa!