College life is busy, stressful, and certainly not cheap. The last thing you need to worry about is running to the grocery store every day. Bwog is here with some apartment food hacks to help you eat well, without breaking your budget!
Tips and Tricks for Food Storage:
- Freeze freeze freeze! You can freeze so many foods to make them last longer! Freeze meals, freeze groceries, freeze soups, freeze bread, freeze meat! If you have the forethought, you can move foods from the freezer to the fridge a day before you plan to eat them so they thaw naturally, or heat up frozen foods in the oven, in the microwave, on the stove, or in a slow cooker.
- You can make berries last longer by soaking them in a 5-1 ratio of vinegar to water. Soak them for a few minutes before drying them and storing them in an airtight container.
- Store your veggies in water! Place your chopped vegetables in a glass jar, fill the jar with water, and store it in the fridge. They’ll stay crisp and fresh much longer! Just be sure to change out the water every few days!
Must-Have Grocery Items:
- If you tend to let food go to waste, consider buying single-serving packages when possible. Laughing Cow cheese comes in packages of eight individually-wrapped soft cheese wedges that last for a really long time. I use them for everything from cream cheese on toast to dips with crackers.
- Dairy products, like string cheese and yogurt, can be great to store in your fridge for a long time, as they typically have long shelf-lives. They can be great sources of protein, especially when you’re in a rush.
- Nutritional yeast is commonly used in vegan cooking to add a cheesy flavor to foods, but it can be a great topping for things like popcorn. One tablespoon has around five grams of protein, so it’s a great alternative to animal products when you need to throw easy protein into a dish.
- If you’re not sure whether or not you’re actually going to use a certain veggie that week, consider buying frozen or canned instead. Non-perishable veggies give you the flexibility to change your plans without worrying about produce rotting in the fridge.
- Dairy-alternative milks can be stored at room temperature until you open them.
- Buy prepared hard-boiled eggs. Some people find these a little gross, but packaged hard-boiled eggs have been a reliable friend to me since high school. They’re so quick and easy, they last for a really long time, and nothing beats having a healthy protein option already cooked in your fridge whenever you need it.
- Beans beans beans! Chickpeas and other beans are so versatile, have lots of nutritional value, and can stay in your pantry for a really long time, making them perfect for busy college students on a budget.
- Canned soups have come a long way, and there are actually some pretty hearty and healthy options out there. They’re certainly high in sodium, so that’s something to look out for, but canned soup can be amazing when you need a warm meal but don’t feel like getting up to actually cook it.
- In general, meal prepping and sheet pan meals can be great ways to have quick, fresh, and healthy meals! When you head to the supermarket, try to think ahead and plan out what you might want to eat (or freeze) that week.
Here are some of our favorite kitchen appliances that make apartment living and cooking a breeze.
- Toaster Oven:
Toaster ovens can be found for as little as $25 and save a ton of time on preheating. They can do basically anything an oven can, just on a smaller scale, making them perfect for busy college students cooking single servings.
- Immersion Blender (also known as handheld blender):
Immersion blenders are incredibly versatile and can be used to make everything from soups and smoothies to dips and desserts. They’re so much easier to clean than regular blenders and are super simple to use.
- Slow Cooker:
Slow cooker meals are amazing because they can be prepped and left to cook for hours without needing much attention. There are endless easy and cheap slow cooker recipes available online, and many of these meals can be frozen and saved for later. Speaking of freezing foods, using a slow cooker can be a great way to defrost frozen meals so they’re ready by the end of the day!
- Rice Cooker:
Rice cookers come in a wide variety of sizes, with many made specifically for single servings and small portions. They are a great option all around, as rice is easy to store in the cupboard and can be cooked without much preparation. Rice cookers can also be used for anything you might need to boil water for, like making pasta and boiling eggs!
- Mandoline Slicer:
A mandoline can do wonders when it comes to cutting down chopping time (pun intended), and it’s honestly really fun to use. The sizes of slices are easily customizable and most mandolines come with a variety of cutters in many shapes. Some can even attach to the top of a bowl, so your veggies can fall in for immediate snacking. Just make sure to watch your fingers and use the hand guard!
Using a grater can be faster and simpler than chopping, and having smaller pieces can help your food to cook more quickly.
- Knife and knife sharpener:
A good knife and knife sharpener can make everything from slicing to dicing faster and less frustrating.
- Rapid Ramen Cooker:
Microwaves can be a college student’s best friend, and there’s certainly no food more stereotypical for a broke college student than ramen. Bwoggers love the Rapid Ramen Cooker to make perfect ramen in the microwave without the mess.
Good quality tupperware is a worthy investment and can be essential for leftover storage and meal prepping. Many brands now make color-coded tupperware, so containers of each size are the same color as their lid. Never spend precious time searching for the right tupperware lid again!
Share your best apartment-living food tips in the comments!
Cooking photo via PickPik