One of the big things that come with living alone; which I have now experienced twice in my life at different universities, is needing to be able to provide for yourself. Although I was able to cook long before I moved to university, it was only then that I really began to use that skill. When I was in my fresher’s year of university I did not utilise my cooking skills well; I was not comfortable around the people I shared my halls with and therefore wanted to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible. Because of this, my main meals included super-noodles very often and my snack meals were often just tea and toast.
This was not a healthy and sustainable diet and I felt unhealthy because of it. I lost weight at a rate that wasn’t healthy and despite the fact that I wasn’t trying to and I was aware that I needed to do something about it. During my second and third years I was cooking more often and more varied stuff, however, that is not necessarily to say that I was cooking better stuff. One of my housemates and I had a habit of making homemade fries or wedges and having a chip shop around the corner was not helpful to this. That’s not to say that I never ate healthily but my diet was not what it could have been or what I would’ve liked it to be.
When I returned to university a few years later and found myself somewhat maturer and more prepared to be an adult in the world (sometimes, no one can adult all the time, right?) I found myself wanting to make better meals. This is something I am still working on but something I already feel that I have begun to achieve. As someone who likes to have meals in the freezer for ease of making; it was important for me to make things that I would be able to make things that could be reheated. My go to at university the first time around was pasta and it is still something I love making because you can do so many different things with it. Below is an example of a batch of pasta bakes that I made when I first moved to uni.
To stop myself from becoming fed up of Pasta bake or stagnating in a rut of the same meals, I also made a variety of other meals. Another regular thing is rice based meals. Rice and pasta are great because it is easy to make a well-rounded meal, all mixed together that can be frozen in one piece. I vary what I add to my rice but my favourite is chicken or egg, with peas and sweetcorn. I was very happy when I was able to find that I could make rice well so that it was light and fluffy.
Although I prefer to I don’t always make meals to freeze, sometimes I just make a single portion. This is something I like to do if it is my first time trying something and I’m not sure if I like it. One very successful time I did this was when I tried out a recipe for ham wrapped leek in cheese sauce. I had never had leek before and it turned out that I loved it.
Other recipes I have tried include sweet and sour, Mexican, chili, and others. I am planning to continue making more new and healthy meals when I return for my second semester in a couple of weeks.