My real food journey actually extends beyond my house. Sure, we have to take our real food preferences out into the real world on a regular basis, but I also have a son away at school. He is finishing up his final year and then will be out in the real world on his own. It has been interesting to watch his real food journey. He often turns to me for advice, but he is extremely busy and I’m afraid that often trumps eating as well as he would like.
I wrote about how we started him out right for his first year cooking on his own here. We bought him plenty of real food ingredients to start off this school year. We also bought him some of the best convenience foods we could find. He is juggling classes, work, his fraternity, volunteering, theater productions, and his social life. That is a lot to juggle. He is getting a real eye-opening experience as to just how difficult Juggling Real Food and Real Life really is. A common complaint I hear is that he is finding it difficult to find the time to cook and shop. That really sounds familiar. That was and is still my biggest obstacle to overcome.
He bought a small portable grill to have at his apartment. If that doesn’t sound like a guy, I don’t know what does. His best meals seems to start with his grill. He is a real meat and potatoes kind of guy. He is not likely to sit down to eat a salad unless there is a side of meat to go with it. One thing he does have going for him though is that he can cook. He watched cooking shows like they were cartoons when he was young. He has lots of great cooking techniques available to him.
He has started to text me pictures of some of the meals he prepares. Funny how those food blogger kids do that. I asked him if I could share them with you. He is very proud to be using the dishes his great-grandmother gave him to use. She is in an assisted living facility now and doesn’t need the dishes. He was more than happy to pack them up and take them to his new apartment. I’m impressed that he uses dishes……..at least when he is sending me pictures. As you can see the meal below includes grilled chicken, frozen broccoli, and mashed potatoes. See………told you he is a meat and potatoes kind of guy.
I think a great tip for folks who do not have a lot of time to shop on a weekly basis is to purchase frozen vegetables. My son has limited space and still finds plenty of room for his frozen vegetables. Fresh is best, but frozen is second best when it comes to maintaining nutrition. Be sure to look for frozen vegetables that are just vegetables. Added flavoring is likely artificial and should be avoided. Frozen vegetables are also good to use when making soups in the crock. My son took a small crock pot with him to school. Next time he is home, I think we will work on a few soup recipes for him. Soup can be made in batches and then saved for quick meals later on.
I have heard that in a pinch….. a bag of frozen vegetables can serve as a quick meal. Not ideal, but better than a trip to the local fast food establishment.
OK…….. I think he would have checked his spelling if he knew I was going to put this online, but you get the point. He is proud of this meal. This meal included a hamburger with bacon, mashed potatoes, and broccoli. My son and I talked quite a bit over the summer about the strategy of cooking a big batch and having leftovers for additional meals. Here you can see broccoli and mashed potatoes in both meals. It just makes sense to cook as much as you can when you do have time to cook. Leftovers can be eaten a second time or repurposed into a different meal. I like to make extra pasta when I cook. We use the pasta for a traditional spaghetti dinner and then use the extra to make a pasta salad for lunch. This is a great strategy if you are a person who does not enjoy eating the same foods day after day.
I know you all don’t have college kids learning to cook real food for the first time, but I think these are great lessons for all of us. We all are trying to juggle it all and get the best possible meals to the table for ourselves and our families. What do you feel are the easiest meals for you to prepare? What sorts of ingredients would you recommend keeping on hand? If you are a person who doesn’t have much time to shop, how do you handle purchasing fresh ingredients? Leave your comments below and I’ll write them up to share in a future post for my son……….and all of our real food newbies out there.
I promise to keep bringing you the best and most accurate information on nutrition I can find……….and hopefully with a little bit of humor along the way as well. You can find lots of great information on this blog (check out the tabs above and the archives). Make sure to subscribe by email so you don’t miss anything. You can also find lots of great tips, tricks, advice, and fun on my Facebook page and my other social media. Please join us!