There’s one dilemma that most “young professionals” face: food. Whether you’re trying to survive on cafeteria fare and dorm room cooking, or you’re struggling to keep yourself nourished on an unpaid internship, living in some apartment in the city, food can be an issue. Never fear, I’ve compiled a list of thrifty, tasty ideas. These “dishes” are a combination of my own ideas, suggestions from others in similar situations, and some creative searching.
If you’re completely against preservatives, pass on this section. If you’re willing to deal with them for the sake of eating, stick around. Just about anything comes in a pouch or can anymore, although the most common ones are chicken and fish. They’re also the most versatile. You can use them to make complete meals, or add them to your favorite microwavable goods to mix things up.
I love salmon in a pouch. Granted, it’s no 5-star fillet, but some lemon juice and pepper can make it taste pretty snazzy.
Chicken, usually in a can, can be added to things like Bowl Appetit and Easy Mac dishes for a source of protein. Fish can be, too, but I’m picky and I think chicken goes better with this stuff. Yeah.
Also, BACON comes in a pouch now. I don’t mean, like, tofu-shaped-and-seasoned-and-colored like bacon. I mean BACON. Pre-cooked bacon. It has to be refrigerated, yeah, but it’s a fairly cheap (and convenient) way to add AWESOMENESS to your dish. (I’m a bacon-lover…I’m sorry if you’re a vegetarian. Please don’t be offended by my love of eating animals.)
I love Ramen noodles with a passion…they’re actually my biggest comfort food. HOWEVER, if you have a little more wiggle room, I’d suggest “real soup.” Soup is great because a little can go a long way; for most people, soup increases feelings of fullness where other foods may fall flat. It’s because of the combination of liquid and solid. I really, really, really like Campbell’s Select Harvest soups. Obviously, there’s plenty of variety here.
Cans of soup are cheapest, but the microwavable bowls are pretty handy. I spend a lot of time eating my lunch at my desk (at both of my office jobs) and those are ideal. All I need to remember of my own is a spoon.
Buying in bulk is an option for these guys. I love Quaker’s giant tubular oatmeal containers. If you want the cheapest option, buy big bags/boxes/tubes/whatever. If you want quick convenience, there’s those little individual-serving pouches. Either way, the “just add water” prep methods for most hot cereals make them idea for fast-paced life. They’re cheap, and very customizable. Fruit, raisins, CRAISINS (yum), nuts, brown sugar, honey, syrup…yeah, you can add whatever the heck you want to to these hot cereals. Mmmmm!
Obviously, this is just the tip of the ice berg. Duh. Food is full of millions of untapped options and ideas. The best idea? Just play around. Invent your own delicious dorm room delicacies. Fry up some cheap, intern-friendly inventions. Regardless of what your taste is (unless you’re just snobby, but we all know you aren’t, right?) there’s plenty of inexpensive, flexible, tasty ideas for you to develop and pursue!