It's one of the necessary evils of learning to cook for yourself: touching raw meat. Whether it's the color, the texture, or the possibilities of a million different diseases lurking right under the skin, people are usually not too keen on handling meat.

For me, the biggest point of contention is chicken. Sure, you can have meat a little on the rarer side, and people eat sushi all the time, but a couple of bites of undercooked chicken? Can someone say "salmonella?"

meat, chicken, seafood, fish
Amanda Shulman

That said, if you want to move past the college diet of ramen noodles and pizza rolls, you're going to have to learn to cook and handle raw meat. Luckily there are a few tips of the trade to help you face your fear.

Start with ground meat.

porridge, coffee, sweet, groats, buckwheat, corn, wheat, cereal
Helena Lin

Perfect for everything from hamburgers to these pesto beef meatballs, ground meat is a perfect way to start learning to cook raw meat.

Since the meat is smaller and looser than a patty or a chicken breast, it's easier to heat the meat through in less time. Plus, you can actually see when your meat is done, due to a process called browning.

So the next time Taco Tuesday calls, you can feel confident breaking out the skillet or frying pan to make your meal. Just promise me you won't try to cook your ground meat in the microwave.

Pick leaner cuts of meat.

chicken, meat, barbecue
Ellen Gibbs

You know that old saying, "trim the fat?" Yeah, that's something I'd like to avoid while I'm making my own dinner. Something about touching that gross, yellow fat that collects on a piece of raw meat makes me want to head for the hills.

And while some fats are definitely okay to eat, the fat on a piece of raw meat is definitely not one of them. The leaner the meat that you choose to cook, the less fat you'll have to deal with–which means less time gagging as you wrangle with your kitchen scissors.

According to this list by SFGate, your best bets are skinless poultry, beef tenderloin, and pork loin, which are all low in fat.

Pass on meat with bones.

pork, meat, chicken, bacon
Lauren Beane

Chicken wings are delish, and their wide variety of flavors make it easy to pick a favorite. Same goes for seafood, as many fish on restaurant menus come in a variety of sauces and seasonings.

The issue with these foods? Bones. While bones like you would find in fish are typically not dangerous when ingested, the thought of finding a stray bone in your meal might put you off from cooking a certain raw protein.

And, if you want to avoid that issue, you're going to have to spend a lot of time handling your raw meat to pick out every last bone. Sounds pretty germy and unpleasant to me.

Buy a meat thermometer.

sauce, pork, fillet, sirloin, meat, barbecue, beef, steak
Lauren Lim

A lot of the paranoia surrounding raw meat is making sure that it's cooked to the point where the food is safe to consume. Different meats have different internal temperatures that are deemed "safe."

Investing in a meat thermometer takes all the guess work out of whether your raw meat is safe. To use, stick the thermometer into your meat about two inches deep in the thickest part of the protein.

Placing the thermometer there will avoid the thermometer hitting fat and bone, which would give an inaccurate reading. If your thermometer reads at or above the safe temperature for your designated meat (check out this article to know what to look for), then you're in the clear!

Practice, practice, practice.

bacon, beef, lettuce, ketchup, meat, cheese, tomato, sandwich, bread, bun
Elyse Belarge

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again! How will you ever learn to make your own meals, if your fear is holding you back in the kitchen? 

Learning to cook for yourself is a major part of the college experience–you know, only second to actually getting your degree. If you work on a recipe and really commit yourself to getting it right, then you'll be able to do it with your eyes closed in no time!

So long as you have a kitchen, you're going to have to handle raw meat. It doesn't have to be a huge spectacle or something to lose sleep over. If you have the right tools and you're smart about how you choose to cook the meat, you'll be on your way to a juicy, homemade steak dinner in no time!