Last week, Pulse Editor Andrew Bailey gave his reasons for eating fast food over making his own meals. If you’re like Andrew and think you lack the time or ability to skip the drive-thru for the kitchen, I’m here to tell you there’s hope.
If you’re a student with a couple of free hours and are able to spare a bit of extra money for groceries, you can replace more than half of your fast food trips with home-cooked meals each week.
I work 20 hours a week, take 15 credit hours, am completing a capstone project, maintain a long-distance relationship and run a newsroom, but I only eat out maybe once a week. While I understand that I might have more free time than other students and am able to dedicate a bit more money to groceries since I work during the school year, there are still options for busy and broke college students looking to cook.
Watch how-to videos.
From learning how to properly use a knife to how to cook scrambled eggs perfectly every time, there are unlimited YouTube videos for whatever kitchen skills you’re trying to master. There are even tutorials for easy microwave meals, snacks and desserts that take five minutes or even more challenging stovetop dishes.
Search for cheap, quick and easy recipes.
The internet is your cookbook! If you want to make pasta carbonara, you can find a bunch of recipes for that. If you want to make chili, you can find a bunch of recipes for that. If you want to make fried rice, you can find a bunch of recipes for that, too.
Pick recipes with the same ingredients.
One way I save myself money as someone who just cooks for herself is picking recipes that use some of the same ingredients. For example, I’ll get a bunch of tomatoes and add a few to soup, put tomato slices on grilled cheese sandwiches and make salsa put on top of tacos.
Find meals you can freeze.
Soups and casseroles freeze really easily, which means you can cook a lot during your free time and then have it all ready to go in your freezer for those busy days. Slow cooker meals are usually really freezer friendly and let you cook a great hot meal without a huge time investment.
Don’t underestimate a good sandwich.
Why drive to McDonald’s when you could whip up a grilled cheese or a homemade chicken sandwich or even a very cheap peanut butter and jelly sandwich?