From first to second year, I found that the biggest struggle for my friends and I was cooking. Living off campus meant that we had to cook our own meals as we didn't have the convenience of being surrounded by food, and we didn't have much money left on our student meal plan. Since midterm season is around the corner and many of us are slowly becoming broke, here are some tips to make your cooking life easier and quicker.

1. Keep it Simple

carb, pasta, penne, sauce, vegetable, spaghetti
Caroline Ingalls

When you're on a time crunch, don't plan to make something fancy – make something simple like pasta. Make do with what you have in your fridge – it's quicker (and cheaper) than buying special ingredients for a specific meal. Also, it's a nice way to use up leftovers so that you can minimize food spoilage and waste.

2. Prep, Prep, Prep

lettuce, carrot, corn, tomato, salad, onion, vegetable, pepper
Angela Kerndl

If you're the type of person who's okay with eating the same meal every day, meal prep is one of the best ways to organize your food consumption and save time cooking. For each meal, you should try to have protein, veggies, and carbs for a balanced diet. Once you figure out what meal you want to make, start prepping a batch (a week's worth – some can be frozen and reheated for later), that way, it's as easy as takeout. 

3. Buy Frozen Food 

vegetable, pepper, cheese, tomato
Taylor Villanueva

If you're ever in a rush, just pop these frozen meals in the microwave or oven and in no time, your meal is ready. It's convenient as well as quick, so you can get back to studying ASAP! It's also not a bad idea to buy frozen vegetables as they have a longer shelf-life and cook faster than fresh vegetables – no need to worry about spoilage.

With a busy schedule and lots of stress, time management is crucial. Hopefully these tips help you spend more time studying and less time stressing about what to eat!