It can be quite a challenge to cook for one if you are on a student budget. One of the major problems we, as students, face is buying too much food as most meals at the supermarket are designed for the whole family. The result of buying too much is spoilage of food. So students need to be as frugal with their fridges as they are with their budgets! At the end of the day, saving money in the fridge means more money to be spent on the things you enjoy!
Here are some of the basic cooking for one tips that I have picked up over the years as a student.
The Freezer – Saves you $1,000s
For a student cooking for one, your freezer can be your best friend. You can save thousands of dollars only if you open the fridge and ask, “Will I eat this today or not?” If the answer is no, then simply pop it in the freezer and save it for another day. After all, you can just take it out and let it defrost in a couple of days.
Fruit and Veg usually don’t freeze well, so it is better to stick to just freezing meat and other items. Make sure you keep your freezer well stocked with different meats and meals so you don’t get sick of eating the same thing.
Add Some Flavour to Your Food!
Now I love spaghetti but if you try eating it 5 days in a row and you will quickly find even the best of foods can disappoint…believe me I tried! We are all creatures of variety and just crave different flavours. Easily. This is where we can let our creative juices flow and have some fun with cooking. Since you should have different meats in your freezer and defrosted items in your fridge, you can think about adding flavour to meats. As a result, you won’t run the risk of caving into an expensive meal out of the house. Keep a cupboard stocked with different sauces and seasoning so you can whip up a quick satisfying meal whenever you want.
Family Meals for One
There are so many foods in the supermarket that are designed for an entire family. This can be a problem for a student cooking for one on a budget. Here are a few tricks you can use to solve this problem.
- Cook the whole meal now and store the rest in the freezer or fridge to eat later. One way to do this is with Tupperware by dividing your meal into containers and storing it away, or
- Only cook what you need and keep the rest for later. For example, if you’re cooking Spaghetti Bolognaise, you can use only half the mince and sauce and keep the rest for another day.
Have a Backup Plan
Sooner or later, the day will come when you look in the fridge and find you have either run out of food or forgotten to let it thaw from the freezer. It’s good to have a backup plan for such days. Tinned tuna is incredibly healthy besides being an excellent source of protein. It also has very little fat or cholesterol and is a great source of Fish Oil (great for keeping you healthy).
I often combine a tin of tuna with Super Sweet corn and beetroot. Mix these ingredients with olive oil and just enough Mayonnaise to give it some flavour. In the end, I get a healthy and inexpensive meal. Think this meal won’t suit you? Try your own meals or search on Google.
Enjoy the Meal
It is not a good idea to store cheap food in your kitchen. If it spoils, you are likely to end up eating fast food. Find the right balance between tasty food and inexpensive ingredients. You don’t need to be a master Chef and invent all sorts of new and interesting meals. There are plenty of cooking blogs on the Internet that can help you with that. Inspiration is usually just a Google search away!