Food that has gotten me through my degree

Now that I’m in my final semester of my degree, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on the things that have gotten me to where I am today. Of course, there’s my parents, my friend and my boyfriend who all lent a helping hand along the way, but there’s one thing that I couldn’t have done without: FOOD.

Living off campus allowed me to dive head first into the world of grocery shopping and cooking for myself, and boy was it a mess. However, there were a few things that stuck throughout the last four years. So, here’s a recap of the nourishment that has fueled me from the moment I stepped out of my parent’s house to go to University to stepping foot across the stage (barring I pass all my classes this semester).

1. Coffee

This is a given, even though it’s not actually a food group. There are so many memes about university students and their coffee it’s not even funny any more (especially if you see them before your morning cup of joe).

I think at this point caffeine runs through my bloodstream at a constant rate, so I’d like to recommend that you only stick to max 3 cups a day. There’s probably some science that tells you another number (like maybe just one or two is reasonable), but we all know that you can’t get through a day where you have both an 8:30 am class and a 4 pm class unless you’ve had a few extra doses.

Even though coffee isn’t technically food, it’s still essential to university life, so here are a couple of places you can get a cup of joe on campus.

  • Bibliocafe – While the coffee is a little pricey, you have so many flavour options that you won’t even mind. Plus, it’s close to the library where you’ll spend most of your time during your degree–convenient!
  • Munchie Bar – First of all, they serve Kicking Horse coffee, which happens to be my favourite, but most importantly IT’S THE CHEAPEST COFFEE ON CAMPUS. With the rate you’ll be throwing back dark roast, this is essential.

2. Pizza

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let me tell you about my favourite food. And I seriously mean my favourite. “Pizza” was actually my first word–not even joking, ask my mom!

The best part about pizza is that depending on the day of the week, you’re more than likely to grab a few slices for free on campus. For example, the Martlet gives out free pizza to volunteer copy editors every other Tuesday (yes, this is a shameless plug for volunteers).

Bonus: it doesn’t have to be an unhealthy choice. I hear there are veggie and gluten-free options out there (I’ll stick to my BBQ Chicken though, thank you).

3. Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

I wouldn’t make this list without adding any serious foods. This is one of my mom’s specialty dishes that even a horrible cook like me can pull off.

This will require an actual oven and a trip on the #26 to Thrifty’s, but trust me it’s worth it. I love this meal because although it takes awhile to make, it feeds a lot of people (so great for student potlucks) and it covers most of the dinner food groups. Rice, Broccoli, Cheese, Chicken. What more could you need?

Here’s a recipe though there are a ton of variations (including my mom’s secret recipe that I’m going to keep a secret).

4. Make ahead Egg McMuffin

McDonald’s does 24/hr breakfasts now which is amazing but can get a little costly. Plus, who has time to go all the way to Shelbourne or Hillside to get one?

Luckily, you can make a pretty similar product by buying the ingredients ahead of time and freezing them until you’re ready for your on-the-go fuel. It takes me about 30 minutes to cook all the eggs (using mason jar rings) and then slapping them together to freeze.

Here are some more detailed instructions:

5. Slow Cooker Meals

You thought slow cookers were just for your grandma? Think again, sweetheart! You can snag one of these bad boys at Value Village for sometimes as little as 10 bucks depending on the size of the pot.

Slow cooker meals are great for students who (a) want to make food on the cheap and (b) want a lunch that’s ready to pack as soon as they wake up in the morning. There are so many recipes for soups, casseroles, chilis, and curries out there on Pinterest to try out for yourself.

Here are a couple of my favourites:

Bonus for the students with deep freezes:

6. Trail Mix

Why not join the stereotype of the west coast hippie and munch on some granola trail mix? Nuts are high in protein, and the best part of trail mix is that there are many varieties out there to satisfy every craving. Unfortunately, it can be a pretty expensive to get the pre-bagged mix.

The good news is Bulk Barn (just a short ride downtown on the #4, #14, or #15 bus) has student deals every Wednesdays that give you 10% off your items. There, you can create your own personalized mix from the goobers at Bulk Barn, including various chocolates for those who need a little pick me up with their snack.


Lastly, if you’re really stuck and just out of ideas, you can try services like Chefs Plate or Nature Box. They send boxes of food, snacks and recipes right to your door (for those who live off campus), and you have what you need right away. They even prepackage all the ingredients with the exact amount you need so there’s no food waste! Hope these tips help you out–and no matter what you do, just please don’t eat ramen every day!

Happy Eating!

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