When you’re used to having food made for you, moving out of home can be a bit of a shock to the system. Sick of chips for breakfast or a packet of mi goreng every night of the week? Have no fear – cooking tasty, nutritious meals is heaps easier than you think.
What we eat can have a huge impact on our mood and clarity of mind. Cooking can be an awesome way to feel better about yourself. Check out these simple tips on how to make great meals and improve your headspace.
Use hacks to make it easier
Just because you’ve decided to eat more nutritiously doesn’t mean you have to start herding cows yourself. The easier you make cooking, the more likely you are to do it. There are heaps of simple kitchen hacks that can make whipping up feast a breeze.
- Google cheap, nutritious recipes and search for stuff you like – there are heaps of great student meals online that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
- Don’t be afraid of buying frozen veggies if you’re not planning on using fresh ones straight away. They’ll keep way longer, and are no less nutritious than fresh vegetables.
- If you’re short on appliances, it’s worth going op-shopping or asking around Facebook. Garlic crushers, rice cookers and stick mixers exist because they can save you a lot of time and hassle.
- You could also think about pre-ordering your groceries online so they’re ready for you when you go to pick them up. You’ll save time, money and mental energy.
Cook for your mates
Food brings people together, and cooking for other people is an awesome way to practice. Why not have some mates over for dinner? It’s a chance to hang out and show off your mad skills, and you’ll get a real sense of achievement. Plus, if you make it a thing, it could mean free feeds at your friend’s houses in the future. It’s also heaps cheaper and healthier than getting takeaway.
Cook in batches
Remember, you don’t need to cook one meal individually. One of the best ways to cook is to do it in batches. Make several serves of something when you’ve got the time, enjoy your dinner and freeze the rest in containers for later. Some of the easiest meals to portion out are things you cook in pots, like:
- Stews (especially in winter!)
- Soups (from pumpkin to minestrone)
- Curries (a jar curry paste + veggies = done)
- Pasta sauces (a simple staple.)
Do other stuff while you’re cooking
It can feel like cooking can take a long time, but it can actually be kind of fun. Put on the tv or Youtube so you can watch your favourite shows as you cook. Preparing food is also a great opportunity to catch up on podcasts or listen to your favourite tunes. Above all though, making a meal can be really meditative – and sitting down to eat it can give you a real sense of pride and satisfaction.
Be OK with mistakes
It sucks when your hand-made veggie burgers are burnt to a crisp – but it’s important to not beat yourself up about it. Like anything else, cooking takes like practice. It’s totally normal to have some kitchen catastrophes when you haven’t been doing it for all that long.
Learn from the experience, and remember that it just means that it will be more amazing next time.