Heading off to college or university means students will be grocery shopping and cooking for themselves—for many of them, it will be the first time they're responsible for these household tasks. And even if your kiddo is living in residence with a meal plan, they'll still need to augment those meals with easy, budget-friendly snacks to grab and go (plus, they may not realize it in their first week away from the nest, but they'll eventually long for a nourishing, home-cooked meal). Is your student ready?
Considering many students live on campus, in dorm-style residences, my tips for a perfect roast chicken with all the trimmings really aren't going to fit the bill. At most, students will likely have daily access to a mini-fridge, a microwave and a kettle. So how can they make the most of their limited resources? It's really not as tricky as you might think. Read on for my best strategies, sponsored by my friends at Flipp.
First things first—the ins and outs of a student trip to the supermarket. (I highly recommend printing this post and tucking it into a suitcase, or sending it as a well-timed link once your kid is settled at school.)
Have a plan for staying healthy on a budget
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times—always plan ahead! University life can be challenging as you learn to balance a full workload, a social life and extra-curricular activities. If you don’t have a plan, chances are your food choices won't be ideal, and you'll end up spending more money than necessary.
Look at your week ahead and identify when you may need an emergency snack or a meal to eat on the run. Make a list of your go to items. Think things like pieces of easily totable fruit (apples, oranges, pears, etc), yogurt, granola bars, veggies, single-serve soups, crackers and individual containers of hummus.
Make sure you stock up on food storage containers for easy transportation of your snacks. Check out The Real Canadian Superstore for their PC Home Collection.
If you have access to a full kitchen, batch-cook once a week. Choose to cook one whole grain (rice, quinoa, oatmeal) along with a protein (a dozen eggs, chicken breast, ground beef) and you will have the base for a variety of snacks, lunches and dinners.
Make a grocery list in the free Flipp app so you can find your items at the lowest possible cost. Your budget will thank you!
Choose better convenience foods
Easy snacks and meals are key but convenience doesn't automatically translate to junk food.
Take the prep out of mealtime with Mann’s Nourish Bowls. These new single-serve veggie mixes are chockfull of fresh vegetables mixed with a whole grain, and include a delicious, flavourful sauce. Nourish Bowls cook in 3 to 4 minutes in the microwave. You eat as is, pair with chicken or another protein, or use as filling for a wrap. With flavours like Bacon Maple Brussels and Southwest Chipotle, it’s easy to keep mealtime exciting. Plus, you only need to have access to a microwave!
Make cupboard space for items that will keep your body and brain nourished. Choose products from the President’s Choice Blue Menu Collection so you don’t have to sacrifice flavour in pursuit of healthier choices. So many of their products on rely only on a kettle, microwave or mini fridge—perfect for dorm living. Think Maple & Brown Sugar Supergrain Oatmeal, trail-mix, hard-boiled omega-3 eggs.
Top small appliances
If you have access to a full kitchen, consider investing in a couple of small appliances to help with meal prep.
The Kitchen-Aid Multi-Cooker
The beauty is perfect for students on the go. With over 10 recipe settings (like rice, simmer, soup, boil or steam), you can put all their ingredients in the multi-cooker and head back to the books.
The Kitchen-Aid Artisan Mini Stand Mixer
Stand mixers aren't just for baking! With 16 different attachments, this product is the perfect tool to help students make their favourite dishes. By swapping out the attachments, it eliminates the need to have multiple countertop appliances in your student apartment.