Sustaining your existence on LeanCuisines and delivery is the stuff of college kids. When you made the move from the closet-sized living space you called a dorm to that slightly-bigger-than-a-closet-sized room you now call an apartment, you lost your right to frozen dinners for good, and for the better. But change is hard, so here’s your guide to cooking for noobs. You’re in the real world now, Grad, and you best start eating like it.

Cooking for Noobs

Eating can be one of the most challenging aspects of living on your own. You took it for granted growing up that your fridge was always magically stocked, and once you hit college, you not only had a dining hall to default on, but also a class schedule to break up your day into feasible meal times.

Food shopping for yourself is particularly challenging: everything that’s cheap is unhealthy, and everything that’s healthy ain’t cheap. Even worse than the expense is how much of it goes to waste: even the freshest groceries go bad with only one person to eat it, especially when you can’t always plan on being home for meals during a hectic workweek.

While you might be perfectly content to solve this food quandary with Chipotle six out of seven nights a week, your body won’t thank you. Instead, take some tips for your dinner party of one.

  • While you get more bang for your buck the larger the quantity you buy (see: Costco), spending a little extra for a lot more food doesn’t help you if it’s food you can’t eat all by yourself; instead, go for smaller options for less money.

  • Ignore the advice above IF it’s fresh food that you know you can eat before it goes bad. For example, if you buy a jumbo bag of kale, you’ve got to commit: add kale to your omelettes, sandwiches, pasta dishes. Eat it raw in a salad, or boiled as a dinner side. If you’re really ambitious, try this DIY kale smoothie.

  • You can freeze a lot more than you think you can. Make loaves of bread, fruits, certain veggies, raw meat, even milk lasts a whole lot longer when you pop ‘em in the freezer in between uses.

  • The mini George Foreman “The Champ” 36-inch electric grill is a game changer. If you’re among the kitchen-impaired who somehow manage to butcher making a grilled cheese, this nifty kitchen appliance will answer your prayers. Grilling quesadillas, paninis, meats, or veggies can now come easy.

Now you know how to shop, but this whole cooking thing is a little hazy. Well, we did say this was cooking for noobs, not shopping — so here’s what to do with those tasty ingredients.

If Pinterest foodporn hasn’t turned you into the next Ina Garten just yet, you might find a little help from some cooking classes right here in NYC.

“But Vimbly, I’m poor!” So you’re a slave to your student loans and could sooner afford a pet unicorn than a fancy gas stove. You still gotta eat! Two words: Hot pot. The possibilities are endless: oatmeal, pasta, hard boiled eggs, quinoa, rice, tea, veggies, soup, oatmeal, coffee, and much more.

Cooking for Noobs

Now just because you’re boiling water in a plastic pitcher that was $14.99 at Target doesn’t mean you get to crawl back to your old Easy-Mac-making ways. Push your comfort zone and experiment!

Last but not least: Tupperware is not a plate.

Soon you won’t need cooking for noobs, because you’ll be cooking for noobs who don’t know how to cook!

Welcome to your newfound adulthood.

Cooking for Noobs