I was on the meal plan freshman year, which was convenient and let me get used to college life while not having to worry about food too much. But then I moved off campus sophomore year, and I realized a month before the school year started that I did not know how to cook anything more complicated than mac and cheese.
While mac and cheese tastes good, it’s definitely not a cornerstone to a healthy, balanced diet, so I set out to learn more. I experimented with different recipes and different staples. I ate a lot of junk food, PB&J sandwiches, and ate out quite a bit. But during the first few months of sophomore year, I figured out how to make inexpensive, healthy meals for myself.
My biggest piece of advice is learn how to make rice. Brown rice is cost effective, has lots of good nutrients, and it goes with just about anything. To this day, almost every meal I eat for lunch or dinner has rice with it in some form. You can make a big batch of rice and use it as a side for many different dishes.
Another good tip is to have something easy and fast for breakfast. I prefer oatmeal, but cereal, yogurt, toast, or eggs are all excellent choices. People aren’t lying when they say that breakfast is an important meal. If I ever skip breakfast, I can definitely feel the difference in my concentration while sitting in class.
I would also recommend trying out lots of different foods. At college you might get to experience a diverse array of cultures and traditions, and there is a lot to learn about food. If you find something that you enjoy, try finding a recipe and replicating it on your own. Cooking has turned into a hobby for me, and I find a lot of satisfaction in it. My family also likes when I come home and can make new things that they’ve never experienced before.
But if you need a day off from cooking, Dining Hall West will always be there for you!
B.S. Economics & Finance
Class of 2018
University of Texas at Dallas