3 Top Challenges Series: Cooking for Students Away at University in Waterloo

Cooking and Cleaning and Laundry? AGHHH!

university waterloo students cooking rez-oneUniversity and college students across Waterloo are settling in to their first few months of being away at school. Then, the realization hits… who’s going to do all this cooking, cleaning and laundry?

The answer, unfortunately, is you! Being away from home for the first time and the responsibilities it entails can come as quite a shock to some students. Although most are able to make it through okay, it is always helpful to get some tips to make it easier.

The 3 top areas that challenge students in Waterloo living away from home are:

  • cleaning
  • cooking
  • laundry

So, Rez-One had put together some tips to help you take on these new-found responsibilities with a 3-part blog series dedicated to these student challenges.  This month… cooking!

Cooking Tips for Students in Waterloo

The earlier you learn how to cook, the sooner you will learn an essential life skill and you’re on your way to culinary self-sufficiency!

As a general rule, the earlier you become accustomed to nutritious foods, the less likely you will acquire a taste for processed foods. This is better for your health and your budget as well. Meals prepared from scratch are easy to prepare, and usually contain more nutrients, fewer calories, and fewer chemicals, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners than packaged foods.

Everyone is much more likely to eat what they make, as cooking creates a sense of ownership and even companionship with your fellow room-mates. When students help each other in the kitchen and share meals, they are more willing to try new foods. As well, cooking together adds a boost to your socialization skills and makes you feel less isolated. By cooking with your roommates, you can learn cooking tips and recipes and they can learn from you

Students can often become quite confident and talented in the kitchen and feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when preparing good food that’s easy to make and delicious to share. You will learn much more than just cooking. You’ll learn science, language, counting, fractions, budgeting, weighing, sequencing, measuring, problem-solving, sharing, fine motor skills, reading, patience, and respect for cultural uniqueness.

It’s important to eat breakfast so you’re less likely to snack on junk food for the rest of the day. A wholegrain breakfast cereal that is low in sugar served with low-fat milk can provide plenty of vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Do you feel hungry by mid-morning? Drink a glass of water, adding a slice of lemon, lime or orange for flavour. This will greatly enhance your appreciation for fresh clean water and keeps your hunger pangs at bay. Other fast and healthy morning snacks include yogurt or whole grain toast.

If you need a more substantial snack after school, keep a fruit bowl stocked. An apple will give you more energy and make you feel more satisfied than a high fat, sugary snack like donuts. Don’t skip lunch or dinner trying to lose weight. Weight control and energy levels can be optimally managed by reducing the size of your meals and drastically reducing the salt you add to your meals. Suitable substitutes for salt include flavorful herbs and spices to add zest to your meals. Also, butter is a common ingredient in baked foods and a popular cooking base but you may be able to substitute all or part of the butter you use with fruit purees such as applesauce, prune puree or even mashed bananas.

Good cooking skills and nutritious meals are not gender specific nor are they income dependent. Regardless of your economic situation, you deserve to learn as much as possible about different healthy food options available to you in your area. Compare the price of junk foods against the price of healthier food in the supermarket and you will see that healthy doesn’t have to mean expensive. Experiment with different foods and use simple recipes. You’ll soon discover that a meal cooked with fresh ingredients is more satisfying than any over-priced greasy burger or soggy fries.

Foodland Ontario products are a great way to try new foods, reasonably priced and available in your local supermarket. You can choose fresh, delicious food from Ontario, all the while supporting local farmers and businesses. The Foodland Ontario website offers easy to cook in-season recipes, along with an Availability Guide for Ontario’s fruits and vegetables seasonal offerings.

Another great place to shop for healthy groceries is St. Jacob’s Farmers’ Market where you support local farmers and foods and everything there is very reasonably priced. It is only 10 minutes away.

We hope these tips will help you with your cooking challenges while you are away at school. If you have your own cooking tips for your fellow students in Waterloo, add them in the comment area below.

And stay tuned next month for the 3rd blog in the series: laundry.

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