So I’ve noticed a lot of the time when I’m at home I have absolutely no self-restraint. If there are hostess cupcakes or cookies or even chocolate chips in the pantry, I’ll eat them all. I’ll genuinely dig into that bag of chocolate chips with a spoon and stand in the kitchen eating my pure chocolate and generally considering what exactly it is that has brought me to this point.
I’m also incredibly lazy when it comes to food preparation. If it takes more than 20 minutes I’m out, because most likely I’ve waited until the last minute of hunger to start preparing my meal. I usually end up snacking while making lunch or dinner because I just can’t wait any longer to eat.
I’m sure I’m not the only one. As a society we are generally very lazy human beings with limited self-restraint. Most people I know will not be able to ignore the pudding snacks in the pantry for long before tearing into them after supper.
When I first started living on my own at college I was in an apartment in London with several other girls. The fridge was a public venture and I only had one shelf to house my items; more than that, I could only buy food for a few days because the walk to and from the grocery store was so long that lugging a full bag of groceries would have slowly torn my arms off. And then I’d have been stuck at home trying to figure out how to eat my seven cans of soup with my feet.
I wasted a lot of food that first semester. I didn’t realize just how hard it can be to plan your meals around expiration dates and various events – I also didn’t yet realize that if you’re one person buying a loaf of bread, unless you eat two pieces of bread a day, you’d better freeze your damn bread. There were a lot of rookie mistakes to be made, and believe me, I still make rookie mistakes a lot.
But I did realize some things in my journey to becoming at least slightly capable of maintaining a full kitchen with healthy things, so here are my tips for sustaining yourself with nutritious things in our current society!
It all pivots upon a healthy grocery trip. Seriously. What I said earlier about having no self-restraint is true, and that’s why it’s important to only buy healthy foods when you’re shopping. If you allow yourself to be tempted by unhealthy snacks at the grocery store, then you’re going to end up eating them at home. But if you’re home and want something to snack on but all you have in your fridge is fruit and pretzels, then that’s what you’re going to eat.
Healthy doesn’t have to be boring. I’ve found a lot of snacks and desserts that I really enjoy that involve a little bit of unhealthy food paired with a little bit of healthy food. For example, I like to mix semi-sweet chocolate chips with craisins in a bowl. A good dinner that I’ll post about later is what I call Honey Apple Chicken, which is just making apples and chicken cooked in honey on the stove. It’s sweet and summery but healthy.
Buy basics once a week and buy fruits and augmentations more frequently. It’s best to go grocery shopping a few times a week, but only one time does it have to be a huge trip. I’ve gotten in the habit of buying bread, eggs, rice, pasta, cereal, peanut butter, etc. once a week, and then on my way home from class or at least a few times a week getting something for that night and the following night. Sometimes that’ll be an avocado to add to my eggs and toast, sometimes it’ll be apples to make the apple and chicken meal I mentioned, sometimes it’ll be veggies to put in a risotto. This helps to keep your day-to-day shopping trips lighter.
On Sunday night, figure out your dinner plans for the week. Especially if you’re on a budget, this can be really helpful because it means you won’t be buying extra things that you’ll never use. Last semester I had three cans of tuna sit on my shelf from August to December and I ended up throwing them out when it was time to move out. Only buy things that you’ll realistically prepare and eat, and get them just a few days before you eat them to ensure they don’t go bad.
I’m definitely not an expert in the least but if you’re heading off to college and you’re wondering what the hell you’re going to deal with the stress of grocery shopping, use these tips to avoid making some of the simple mistakes that I made at first. And if you have any other tips, leave a comment below!