Food&Drink Writer Yankie Chow shares the shopping and cooking routine she uses to fuel herself during the busy winter months at University

Written by YankieChow

When first starting at University everyone has to get used to new things like cooking and cleaning. When it comes to living alone, having to think about what meals to cook every night can be a real challenge. Developing a meal prep routine is a brilliant way of saving both time and money that has really helped me as a student. 

The first step to any successful meal prep routine, is buying the food itself

The first step to any successful meal prep routine, is buying the food itself. To shop for food I tend to head to supermarkets for groceries twice a week for my meals. I mostly go to Aldi as their prices are the cheapest and they have varied choice. Moreover, it is quite close to the accommodations for students living in Selly Oak, which is less than a 10-minute walk. While strolling around the aisle of the supermarket, I would try to compare prices to save more money and make sure to buy food that I think could last around 2 or 3 days whilst remaining fresh.  

The second major step of a meal prep routine is to think about what you’re going to make out of the food you’ve bought. Most nights I don’t actually think that much about cooking specific meals for dinner. Since I’m so busy with work, particularly during the last few weeks before the end of term, I tend to just boil vegetables before placing them in a frying pan with some protein like meat. 

Of course, when I have more time on the weekends, I try to cook better meals for myself. My favourite recipe is tomato soup. It’s actually very simple! I first add tomatoes to a pan and cook them for a while before adding in a suitable amount of water. After waiting for it to boil I prepare any other ingredients such as mushrooms, tofu, or anything else I have in my cupboard that’s not past its due date. I add a little sugar to the soup before adding in these extra ingredients, and finally add eggs for some better taste. Tomato soup is the best meal I’ve ever made while studying at University. It’s simple and great for cold weather.

Tomato soup is the best meal I’ve ever made while studying at University

As I’ve shown, meal prepping can be really easy and, done right, means you don’t need to spend a lot of time wondering what you’re going to have to eat that day. I think the easiest way to determine what you’re going to eat for dinner if you’re having difficulty deciding is to check the best before dates on the groceries you bought earlier in the week. Add some meat and some condiments and you have your meal! It could be as simple as that. But for those cosy nights in the cold winter where you find yourself wanting to treat yourself to a better meal, you can shop a little more or cook something like my favourite tomato soup. 

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