Monday, 22 October 2012

There’s more to life than Kraft Dinner, college kids!

If you’re like me, the whole ‘grocery shopping, cooking, and eating for one’ thing is quite a change of pace. I’m no longer partaking in the luxuries of having my parent’s grocery shop and make home cooked meals. Here are some tips and tricks to make this experience as smooth as possible.

Grocery shopping

This is a lot different when you have a tight budget and you’re doing it for one person, but that doesn’t mean you need to live off Mr. Noodles and pizza pockets. Here are some things to consider:

  • The freezer is your friend: buy the foods you want and need and throw them in the freezer. This can include bread, meat and fish, and sauces. The freezer will preserve the shelf life, so you can enjoy these foods when you want. It’s also good to keep frozen pizzas, frozen breakfast food, and premade meals on hand for when you’re in a pinch.

  • Portion control: only buy what you need. There’s no sense in buying two litres of milk if you know you’re not going to use it. Things like milk, cheese, and eggs can be purchased in a variety of sizes and fruit and vegetables can be purchased on an as need basis. The deli is also a great place for this, as you can buy whatever portion size you need.

 Say no to KD

Don’t get me wrong, a little Kraft Dinner once in a while is nice, but it should not be your main food group! Here are some ideas for easy, fast and affordable meals:

  • Lean cuisine or PC frozen dinners. These are not your old fashion TV dinner people. With the new obsession with eating healthy, there have actually been a lot of great frozen meals added to the freezer section.
  • Salads. A spruced up salad can be a great affordable meal. You can buy a small box of prewashed lettuce, a couple other vegetables (I like tomato and avocado), throw a simple salad dressing together, and voila! You’ve made a healthy and cheap dinner in less than five minutes.
  • You can eat meat! When all of my friends left for post secondary, they all said they practically became vegetarians because meat was too expensive and hard to make. WELL, I beg to differ. Pick up a couple chicken breasts (usually between $5-$7), fry them up, and put them in a container in the fridge and use as necessary. Chicken can be great on salads, sandwiches and even in a pasta. Fish is also a great thing to buy. I usually buy a couple pieces of salmon, I’ll wrap them individually and throw them in the freezer. When I know I want one for dinner I just pull it out a few hours before and let it thaw in the fridge. A new and easy method I discovered to cooking, was cooking them in the microwave!
  • Pasta. This is an easy and filling meal than can be made for little money. A package of noodles will last you a while, and you can either get creative and make a sauce, or buy one off the shelf. If you’re not going to use it all at once, divide it into portions and toss it in the freezer until next time.


Other than that you have free reign in the kitchen! Buy some junk food (your chips and pizza pockets) but throw some healthy meals in the mix too. I know sometimes it’s easier to eat a bowl of popcorn and a couple olives for dinner (I definitely didn’t do that last night…), but this can be a great time enhance your cooking skills and make yourself meals you’re proud of! A healthy body equals a healthy mind, so do your part and treat your body right, it’s the only one you’ve got after all.


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