Kitting Out a Student Kitchen
For many students, food is simply fuel – a quick snack grabbed from the corner shop before lectures, or a late night kebab after a night out. But student food doesn’t have to revolve around quick fixes and junk food. Nor does it have to be toast and pot noodles. With a little planning, you can kit out a kitchen so that students can eat healthily, quickly and cheaply. So whether you’re soon to become a student, or are a parent helping your own children prepare for their first few years away from home, here are some things to consider:
Most student kitchens are small and you may be sharing your space with several other people, so before you start buying lots of equipment and ingredients, find out how much space you will have. If space is limited choose equipment that is multi-purpose – for example mini casserole dishes that can double up as serving bowls or weighing scales that include a mixing bowl.
It can be tempting to buy useful kitchen kit as a gift for a student who is leaving home for the first time but it’s often better to wait a week or two and find out what their housemates already have. After all, there is little point six students turning up on day one, each carrying a brand new slow cooker but with no can opener between them. Communal cooking is a great way to keep costs down and it’s sociable too. You can make better use of supermarket two-for-one deals and buy in bulk without worrying about ingredients going off before you’ve had chance to use them.
Keep it Simple
Between classes and socialising, there probably won’t be much time for cooking so buy ingredients and equipment that help create quick meals. If you keep a few packets of rice, pasta and tins of tuna and tomatoes in the cupboard, you’ll always have the basis of a quick and easy meal. If you’re never sure exactly where you will be at mealtimes, it’s wise to buy tinned goods rather than fresh ingredients – then you don’t need to worry about food going mouldy before you’ve used it.
Get your Five-a-Day
When you are studying and partying hard, looking after your diet can sometimes fall to the wayside but it’s really important to stay healthy when at university. Common illnesses get passed around really easily and so you’ll need to keep your immune system in tip-top condition and that means getting your 5-a-day. Invest in a cheap blender and you can make tasty soups and smoothies that are cheap and nutritious. Alternatively, buy a slow cooker for creating huge casseroles – it’s the perfect way to use cheap but healthy ingredients to feed a crowd of hungry students.
Here’s a quick list of the everyday essentials every student kitchen needs:
- A small and a large saucepan
- Frying pan
- Measuring jug
- Mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon and spatula
- Chopping board
- Can opener
- Cheese grater
- A general purpose kitchen knife
…and of course most important of all, a corkscrew!
Once you’ve kitted out your student kitchen, you just need to decide what to cook. Take a look at www.studentrecipes.com for inspiration.