Learning To Feed Yourself: Adulting At Its Finest
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Learning To Feed Yourself: Adulting At Its Finest

It's time to rid your fridge of all of the leftover take-out boxes and finally learn how to cook.

Learning To Feed Yourself: Adulting At Its Finest
Health Nation

Becoming a grown up is scary business. You have to make your own doctor appointments, pay your own bills and cook your own food. As adulthood dawns upon you, you soon realize that you have a fear of talking on the phone, you're too poor for a 10-minute shower and you have absolutely no idea how to cook.

I've always been a pretty decent cook; however, transitioning from a home where I would cook a meal for six with all the ingredients easily on hand to learning to cook just for me was a challenge, especially on a budget. Even though I've grown up cooking, I've recently realized that many young adults haven't the slightest idea how to even boil pasta.

It's my weekend project to teach my beloved roommate how to cook, and here are my top tips for cooking on a budget while living alone.

1. Buy and keep meats frozen.

Despite seeming initially pricey, this has probably saved me the most money. Meat is essential to a well-balanced diet—unless you're one of those magical vegetarians who can survive without it. Buy your meat frozen: bags of chicken, ground beef, sausage, etc. It will stay fresh for whenever you need it and save you money in the long run. Simply plan ahead and defrost it 24 hours before you need it and bam, you have an easy and filling meal.

2. Stock up on spices.

Another initially pricey cooking essential, but once you're stocked up, most spices can last years. Buying the spices all at once before you begin your adult lifestyle can be helpful in making dishes feel less expensive when you have to buy other fresh ingredients the day of. Most spices can be purchased at Aldi for $1, or if you're feeling super ambitious and know you'll cook often, you can get a complete spice rack on Amazon for about $25.

3. The basics: Ramen noodles, pasta and rice.

No, I'm not saying eating Ramen noodles or any of these items plain is something to do often—although what college kid can survive without Ramen? You may be thinking carbs, carbs and more carbs, but these items provide simple and easy basics for many dishes. There are thousands of recipes on Pinterest you can find through a Google search that can be made easily and quickly if you know how to cook these three items. In fact, there's even a Ramen Noodle cookbook.

4. Plan on cooking 2-3 meals a week and doing leftovers the others.

Many recipes you'll find aren't meant for just one person. Plan ahead by allowing yourself nights to eat leftovers. Most chicken and pasta dishes reheat well and will stay fresh for several days. This will also save you time in the kitchen each week!

5. Invite a friend over to help you cook.

Cooking on your own can be scary, especially if you’re new to it. Invite a more knowledgeable friend over to teach you something new. You get to learn a snazzy new recipe and they get free food, which sounds like a pretty good deal.

6. Fruit—wash and eat, you really can't screw that up.

I could eat an entire meal of fruit sometimes, especially when I don't feel like cooking. When you're fresh out of the dorms and into your first apartment, fresh fruit is something you can't mess up. All you have to do is wash and eat it. If you're not sure if it's ripe, look for the nearest Mom/Dad with an over flowing grocery cart—they'll give you an eye roll and promise to teach their kids these things, but nonetheless, they'll help out. Bonus tip: Frozen fruit (which can sometimes be a bit cheaper than fresh) with a little bit of yogurt and milk can make a sweet replacement for a lunch or breakfast meal.

7. Frozen veggies are cheap, healthy and fool-proof.

Again, a nice simple basic to accompany any meal. You can get a bag of frozen, steamable veggies for about $1-$2 at any grocery store. Pop that bag in the microwave for a few minutes and voilà, instant healthy goodness, what could go wrong? Looking for some extra flavor? And a pinch of salt and butter! Or an even healthier option, some Parmesan cheese, which goes with every vegetable—trust me, I'm a Parmesan expert.

8. Learn the basics, cooking chicken and ground beef.

Now that you know how to shop for the meat at the best prices, you need to learn how to not screw them up. A simple phone call to your parents or grandparents can do wonders. But if you're not looking forward to the "how are your grades"/"dating anyone yet"/"how come I never see you anymore" questions, there are hundreds of short YouTube videos that can help. Just remember, unless you're a fan of food poisoning, you don't want your chicken to be pink!

9. Never over-buy.

Wasting food is the worst. You spend dozen of dollars on groceries a week only to let the food go bad by Friday. Buy food in small portions, and if you run out, go back to the store later that week. Under-buying will save you more money than over-buying.

I hope these tips have helped you overcome your fear of adulthood and learning to feed yourself more than cereal and pizza. Good luck!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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