First of all, I’m not sponsored.
I’ve been a broke student. College is expensive. Books are crazy. You can hardly go to university now without a decent computer, and employment can be hard to find. Financial aid is great, but most of you have to take out loans, and having to carry them into the post-school world is a burden worth discussing. But not here. This is about food.
You have to eat. And though you may be busy, slipping into a pizza/takeout/fast food habit will cost you, even now. Do I sound like your mom? Good. Your mom is right. Nutrition is the base of all good health and…
Ok. I’ll stop. These appliances make food cheap and easy. Here’s how to use them.
Rice in a bag is cheap. Brown rice is way better for you and costs the same. It has more flavor, even if you don’t do anything but add a little salt and butter. But it can be a bit of trouble to get the texture right, and it takes time. That’s why there are rice cookers.
There are some really elaborate models on the market, but you don’t need anything complicated. This one’s cheap, as is this one. There are some high end multifunction machines that have a higher capacity, but you don’t need a touch screen if you’re on a budget. Just a go button will do. All you do with these is put rice and water in and push the button. That’s why they’re great. Put stuff in, push the button, and go do other things while it takes care of itself. Remember the 10 Minute Scampi? If you can’t afford to eat an entire meal of sauteed shrimp, buy a bag of the shrimp and some ziploc bags. separate the bag of shrimp into three or four bags, and use the dollar bag of rice to stretch the shrimp over several meals. You can buy a can of chicken and a bottle of soy sauce, put them in a pan with cooked rice, and have chicken fried rice. Add frozen veggie mix for extra nutrition, or leave out the chicken if you don’t eat meat. Rice cooking can be a little bit of a challenge, but these cookers make it easy and free you up to study or shower or whatever else.
This is the other thing you need to get good food on the cheap with low effort. This guy comes with a lid lock so you can take it to your friends’ places. Don’t have friends? You will if you bring food. There are cheaper models than that, if you want to make them come over to eat. The thing about a crock pot is that you get to come home to hot food. You just need a protein and some liquid before you go into the world, and when you return, your apartment smells like real food, and you can just eat it. A lot of dormitories will allow these in rooms, and these mini ones are perfect for small spaces. The internet is full of recipes, but you can quickly learn to use what you have and end up with something good.
If you can spend a little more at once, the instant pot is a good investment. It’ll do all these things, and a few more. Most of them have timers and lots of buttons and tons of functionality, and you don’t have to watch any of it. Pressure cooker functions make it possible to have your food much faster, which is nice if you have a tough time remembering to turn the thing on before you leave. I understand. I’m not a morning person, either. You can spend a lot of money on these, but you don’t have to. It’s just a little more than the crock pot and rice cooker individually, and it’ll take up less space in your tiny kitchen.
I have been where you are, and I know money is tight. But these little appliances are powerful and easy, and make it possible to have real, fresh food on limited time and limited budget. They’re worth setting aside a little money for, and they almost always make enough for more than one, so you can either share costs or eat leftovers.
Just my two cents. Eat well.