No matter who you are or where you’re from, everybody has one thing in common. Everybody poops and everybody eats. And, since they definitely won’t let me write an article based around pooping, this one is going to focus on everyone’s favorite pastime: eating. But, since most of our readership are college students, this is going to focus specifically on how to eat well as a college student for the cheapest cost.
Now, first of all, there are plenty of things that you, as a student or parent of a student, can purchase to make eating cheap and effective. Ramen noodles, mac and cheese, and instant rice are super easy, super cheap ways to make sure that your choice of exiting this life isn’t through starvation. However, while these are quick, cheap, and effective at keeping you alive for a little longer, they aren’t necessarily making you feel the best while they’re keeping you alive. We’ll focus on what you can purchase to make sure that you are actually eating well while you’re nourishing your body.
If you have to make it yourself, it’s probably going to be cheaper. Instead of going through a fast food place to find food, you can actually find plenty of cheap foods at Meijer that you can use to create your own meals. You can get obscene amounts of potatoes, everyone’s favorite food item, at Meijer for an incredibly low price, we’re talking like five bucks for ten pounds. These are versatile, delicious, and easy to cook. You can make baked potatoes, fries, mashed potatoes or anything that your heart can imagine. Pick yourself up a package of bacon for a few bucks extra, and boom, everything is even more delicious. Onions are another cheap item that you can grab, a few pounds costing only a few dollars, and they add well to most things you can cook. I personally grab all three of these, as well as some garlic at 50 cents a head, and just fry them all together. It costs me only about ten bucks by the end, and it can actually feed me for a few weeks.
Sometimes you’re not feeling the same monotony and need to mix it up, well there are options for that too. Consider making noodles. Boxes are usually only about a dollar and make at least two meals unless you’re really loading in the calories. Jars of sauce are generally pretty cheap, or if you want to, just sauté up some of the onions and garlic you already bought with some tomatoes, run it through a blender and boom, even cheaper sauce. If you need more protein, run to the meat section and look at the chicken first. Legs and thighs will usually go on sale for under a dollar a pound, so you can stock up for super cheap, just remember that there are bones inside. Top round steaks are also a great purchase as they can be bought for just over a dollar apiece, and if you cook it correctly, it feels like you might be eating a piece of meat worth way more.
Don’t be afraid of getting utensils. You don’t need an incredibly stocked kitchen to cook well, but you do need a few things. Get one or two good knives. A big one for chopping, and a smaller one for trimming. I don’t want to see anybody with any 189 piece knife sets. One to three good knives and you’re on your way. And, you really don’t need more than one good skillet and one good sauce pan if you’re making sure that you wash them well. You may think everybody that’s a good chef has a killer kitchen, but it’s mostly all fluff. Although, do make sure you pick up a cutting board, those things are essential. I also really like having a slow cooker. It seems like a big investment, but the time and effort it cuts out of preparing meals is amazing when you live the busy life of a college student. And don’t be afraid of spices. They cost a little extra than what you’d like to spend, but they really add a lot of variety, and are what allow you to make the same meal over and over and not be bored of it. A different spice each time really adds some variety to your belly.
Cooking doesn’t have to be your new favorite hobby but it doesn’t have to seem scary or daunting. Eating doesn’t have to be something that makes your wallet cringe. In reality, you can eat good meals at a much lower cost than you’d think if you’re willing to do a little extra heavy lifting at the store and a little more finesse cooking in the kitchen.