September 5, 2013

The Clever Pup's (AKA Mum's) Shopping Cart Ideas for Hungry Young Men

Year 2 at university and no longer on a meal plan.  What do you do? What can you cook? Eating healthily will be challenging when you are living with 5 other guys and the lion's share of the fridge is taken up with beer. But try to eat a variety of foods from the famous food pyramid. 

Be prepared when going to the store. Don't go on an empty stomach. And going without a list can result in unwanted purchases, taking up room for things you do need

Going around the perimeter of a supermarket is a way to avoid most of the junk. The meat, vegetables, fruit, deli items and dairy are located around the walls. But you knew that. 

If you can, think ahead for a couple of days for what you might need or what you are realistically planning to prepare. Important, because you don’t want waste. No point buying half a chicken (or an eggplant) if you aren't going to cook it.

Make sure you can buy a couple of quick and fast meals, pasta and sauce, frozen pizza, falafels in pita pockets. The frozen section has many prepared options these days but many are really high in calories and salt.

That said…buy one or two indulgent items, salsa, and corn chips, microwave popcorn chocolate milk to avoid running out to the corner store where things can really add up. 

Check the best before date. 

Make an attempt to eat well. As far as grocery lists go here’s a good start

½ dozen clementines.
½ dozen apples
baby carrots
bag of baby spinach
6 cans tuna
peanut butter – Kraft makes a no sugar no salt version
black forest ham
sandwich bread - Villaggio
fish sticks or chicken fingers
granola or All Bran
bagels (could be frozen and used one at a time as needed)
cream cheese
dry pasta
good quality pasta sauce in a jar.
maybe a frozen pizza
no-name butter

This list costs about $115 but some of it will last you longer than a week. ie, PB, mayonnaise, tuna.

Out of the above you could make at least:

Tuna wraps with spinach
Bagels with cream cheese and black forest ham
Peanut butter sandwiches with corn chips and baby carrots
Fish sticks with broccoli and mayonnaise
Hummus  and spinach in a pita
Spaghetti and sauce with a handful of spinach and sliced ham thrown in.
Tuna sandwiches
Pita with cream cheese and salsa
Ham sandwiches.
Noodles with broccoli, cream cheese and hard boiled eggs.
Scrambled eggs on toast with salsa! Yes.
A pizza

maybe one week buy instead:
Falafel balls
or Habitant pea soup
or  cans kidney or black beans
or ground beef
or a prepackaged salad
or a brick of cheese.
or pancake mix (the "just add water"kind)
The fall back – Kraft Dinner.

Don't be afraid to sample what the other guys are cooking. Maybe they like cabbage rolls or have a family favourite. 

When you get a bit more savvy in the kitchen, (and have found a sharp knife), fry up some ground beef for your pasta and add some chopped-up green pepper.  Or trying shaking a baking a boneless breast of chicken. But that’s for later.

Bonne Chance!


Hels said...

Bonne Chance indeed :) I taught my sons the basics of staying alive before they moved into shared bachelor flats and they survived well enough.

I think the biggest problem is one of not wanting to scrub pots and pans, after the meal. Anything that could be put in ONE pyrex bowl and cooked in the microwave or oven was very popular.

I think my sons were very pleased to eat dinner at mum and dad's place, every Friday night :)

diane said...

you can always cook him something and send it Fed Ex. :-)

Roy Schulze said...

I'd cross spinach off that list, since it rots well within a young man's inattention span; whereas there are lots of other greens—like cabbage—that seem to last forever. Other that that, great advice from mother to son.

I'd also add that, when you do cook, make way more of whatever it is that you can eat, then freeze the rest in small containers. During my bachelor years, one of my staples was glop on rice, the glop being whatever I might find in the freezer from a long forgotten cook, usually curry.

Finally, shop at No Frills.

The Clever Pup said...

Hi Roy, Noah has no problem with spinach. And I still do the glop-on-rice thing at home. I wish he could shop at No-Frills. He'd have to take the bus. I'll be happy if I can stop him shopping at the 7-11 type store around the corner.