Now that you’re in the awkward and confusing post-collegiate stage of life, there are certain amenities that you were once accustomed to that aren’t as easily accessible. One that we all cherished (and possibly took for granted) was the meal plan. What a luxury that was. Sure, you can eat out every meal but you should remember that Chipotle has a slim menu, $12 at the grocery store will get you much more than a burrito and a bag of chips, and when you stumble through the door at 2am, you’re going to wish you knew how to cook.

Here are a few tips that I’ve learned through trial and error on how to shop for groceries the right way to get into the groove of cooking:

Educate yourself

We are all blessed to be living in this age where unlimited amounts of resources are at our fingertips, so why not be resourceful and use them? Instead of binge-watching It’s Always Sunny on Netflix for the 5th time (guilty), check out some cooking shows and/or food documentaries for some inspiration.  For the left-brained individuals, Good Eats is a great show that explores the scientific technique behind cooking.  Be sure to check out Sorted Food, a popular and fun YouTube cooking channel. My personal favorites are Chef Gordon Ramsay videos on cooking basics. Another way to learn is through cooking blogs (ie: Serious Eats, Taste Spotting, Chow Hound, Food52, The Kitchn, Budget Bytes). And if you like to see Action Bronson stuffing his face, Vice channel, Munchies is a great watch.

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Start small

We all know how daunting it can be to learn how to cook for yourself. That being said, setting small goals can help overcome the anxiety.  I began cooking simple dishes (click here for some 3-ingredient meals) with a weekly target of learning one new dish per week and built my goals (short-term and long-term) up from there.

Have a tentative plan

This might be harder to do since planning requires some forethought and a bit of effort.  Try making a general outline of your meals for the work week – this step can help ease the overwhelming stress of what to cook after a long day at work. Sit down and make a food calendar, what’s for dinner Monday night? What’s for lunch Tuesday-Thursday? If you’re work brings in lunch on Friday, shop accordingly. Meal planning can help you save money and limit the amount of wasted food.

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Most importantly – have fun!

Feeding yourself shouldn’t be a chore. Cooking can be used as a creative outlet and the beauty of it is that there are no “wrong” answers. Food is something that should be enjoyed and the process of creating your own meals can be rewarding and empowering. It’s also a good way to socialize with friends with half the cost (and possibly calories) of eating out!

We promise you too can be this happy.

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Anyone else have any blogs or tips to share? Happy Cooking!

 

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