Hollieats: Quick cuisine for crunch time

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Photo by Ella Olson/Pexels

These two weeks after Thanksgiving break and before finals are crunch time for students, but that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your mental and physical health. Although your academics and extracurricular obligations are important, they are not worth it at the expense of proper rest, eating and other activities to keep yourself grounded. If you live off-campus and don’t have a meal plan, it may seem difficult to make time to buy groceries, make balanced meals and eat them at routine times. Here are some options to keep in mind when you’re planning your last few weeks of the semester and figuring out how to keep yourself fed. 

Order food from restaurants and cafés around campus 

If you have the means, consider purchasing food from places around campus, which offer convenience in terms of accessibility and time. Although you may have kept from buying food throughout the semester for the sake of saving money, consider that it is valid to use that saved money now for the sake of convenience. If you’re in an evening study session at the library or in the Student Union and haven’t packed yourself dinner, buy something from Bookworms or Union Street Market. If you live near Storrs Center and aren’t in the mood to cook, order from any of the local restaurants in the area, from Blaze to Gansett Wraps to Tokyo Ramen.  

Ask people with meal plans to use their swipes or points 

If shelling out some bucks isn’t the best option — which is fair, considering the high average cost of meals around campus — don’t shy away from asking your friends or peers if they would be willing to swipe you into a dining hall or buy you a meal from one of the campus cafés. With Dining Services limiting entrance to dining halls to students and faculty, students are not able to use as many of their swipes on family or friends that are visiting. Chances are, with the semester wrapping up, people with meal plans have an abundance of swipes and points they would be more than willing to share with you. So text those club or friend group chats to see if anyone could spare a swipe! 

Invest in instant food 

Some people may scoff at instant, frozen and fast food for the sake of “healthiness,” but I’m here to tell you that it is completely valid to fall back on these options. Honestly, it is classist and elitist to judge people for the food choices they are making for the sake of convenience, accessibility and finances. Maybe they are not the best to eat all the time, but no food is. 

Make a quick trip to the grocery store and stock up on options that will be easy for you to heat up or toss in the oven while you pursue academic excellence. Ramen is commonly associated with college students, and for good reason — instant ramen is quick, inexpensive and honestly, pretty yummy. Add some meat or meat substitute and vegetables to make it a full meal. Head to the freezer and prepared foods section and pick up quick meals that taste good despite being premade, such as dumplings, pizza, chicken nuggets, pasta and more. These options are similarly available at restaurants around campus, but obviously cheaper to purchase at the grocery and will taste comparable. 

Whip up quick, reliable recipes 

Hopefully if you live on campus, you have enough cooking capability to sustain yourself, even with the simplest of recipes. Well, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This is the perfect time to rely on those comforting classics that hopefully won’t require much time or brainpower for you to make, whether they be a quick stir-fry, breakfast for dinner or grilled cheese. There are plenty of recipes you can look up online and on Pinterest for other quick options if you’re eating more of the same. 

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