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The Challenges of College Life

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  • The Challenges of College Life

    Hey everyone. I'm new to the forums, but have been trying to switch over to a primal lifestyle for a while now. Unfortunately, it seems to be pretty difficult, at least I'm making it more difficult than it needs to be. I'm a college student, and don't have a big budget. The simpler, the better. I don't have a lot of time for preparing meals either. I would really love some advice and recommendations for easy to make primal meals that I could potentially make in advance and have ready to eat (mainly for lunch, but I'd love breakfast and dinner recommendations too).

    Thank you all so much!

    Here's to going primal!


  • #2
    Hi Tom

    It's hard to answer your question without knowing what "college student" means in this situation- specifically, do you have an apartment with a fridge/kitchen, or do you live in a dorm? I'll try some suggestions for now anyway.

    The EASY route is probably to get: 1) some easy-to-prepare, boneless protein sources, chicken breasts, ground beef, canned tuna, eggs, and maybe bacon or boneless pork chops, and prepare a week's worth at a time- poach several chicken breasts, brown a few pounds of beef, hard boil a dozen eggs, microwave a package worth of bacon; 2) vegetables and a few fruits that you like; 3)sauce materials, like balsamic vinegar, olive oil, butter, salt, pepper, lemon juice, etc. Then you can turn your cooked proteins and fresh vegetables in to salads or stir fries in very short order, or just eat them as-is (hard-boiled eggs are a quick breakfast).

    The CHEAP route is probably to get large, bone-in cuts of meat, like pork shoulders, whole chickens, bone-in turkey breasts (ground beef goes here too, it's cheap), and frozen vegetables. Not canned. Then make lots of stew-like dishes. I find the easiest way to cook these big cuts of meat and make stews is in a crockpot/slow cooker. I like chicken-vegetable soup, ground meat and veg curry (mm, coconut milk), vegetable beef soup, egg drop soup with leftover meat and veg, and "fully dressed" pork ramen or beef pho without noodles.

    how to poach chicken breasts
    how to hard boil eggs
    A Year of Slow Cooking (not primal, but good instructions)


    • #3
      Thanks Spyhop. Fortunately, I do have access to a fridge and kitchen. I'll definitely work up something with your recommendations. Thanks for taking time to respond!

      I think I do have a crockpot around somewhere, I'll look for it. That would probably be a great tool for dinner. Thanks! I appreciate it!


      • #4
        Some great ideas from Spyhop there, especially with regard to the crockpot. It emulates the paleo cooking method of slow moist-cooking carcasses in a deep, covered roasting pit and allows you to buy super-cheap cuts of meat and turn them into something tender and tasty. It's quite the modern paleo gadget! I'm a student as well and also have my own cooking space but money is pretty tight so I'm doing primal-on-a-budget. Good luck in both your primal endeavors and your studies!


        • #5
          You can IF without anyone knowing and thinking how weird you are. I, however cannot. Stuck in highschool, we have to have lunch. bleh. I can't wait for college!


          • #6
            great recommendations from spyhop. also, consider dedicating a couple of 2-3 hour chunks each week to preparing your food. you can cook veggies and some meat in large quantities and just keep it at the ready.
            plus, when it comes to both time and money, you can fast so you are only eating two meals a day...scrambled eggs for one meal, salad for the other. that's about ten minutes of food prep a day.


            • #7
              Originally posted by grokka View Post
              You can IF without anyone knowing and thinking how weird you are. I, however cannot. Stuck in highschool, we have to have lunch. bleh. I can't wait for college!
              You have to have lunch? Or is that your personal feeling so you dont stick out from the crowd? No personal judgement here, just wondering. My daughter is a freshman and she skips lunch every day, often breakfast too. She has lost 25 pounds in 2 months!

              My son is 18, and he packs lunch, he decided he wanted to have traditional sammiches because it looked to weird to have hunks of meat, HB eggs, and pork rinds.....but then he does not really need to lose. SO he eats sammiches (or we call them crapwhiches) during the day and Primal at night and weekends with us. He is toning up nicely though. The first month he remained primal with the rest of the family and lost 5 pounds and gained a 6 pack, this last month with the white bread 5 days a week the definintion on his abdomen is gone, although he has not really gained much.

              Anyway....LONG story short, it is hard when you are younger and have peer pressure, certainly a struggle, hang in there!~

              Original Poster: canned coconut milk, bag of frozen vegetables, any type of meat, and curry paste makes a fantastic stew, make large quantities and eat all week!
              Started PB Aug 9, 2010 then let 'stuff' get in the way
              Back to start and make a fantastic 2012
              Goal of Significant Weight Loss
              15 pounds down! with more to go!


              • #8
                Really? Lunch is a very social time though, and I don't want to be the odd one out. my friedns think my dietary habits are weird enough. I usually just bring carrot sticks or chopped red pepper so I at least have something to eat while everyone else does. And wow, congratulations to your daughter.


                • #9
                  Thinking back to my semester at the University of Southern California I remember having a very strict budget for meals each week. I wasn't primal back then but my average weekly shop looked like this:-

                  Selection of vegetables (usually spinach, zucchini, carrots)
                  Chicken or pork, occasionally steak when I was feeling extravagant
                  Bread and cereal (I wasn't primal)

                  Not only that, but it had to fit in my rucksack, or be carried by hand easily as I had no car and only lived about 5 blocks form the store. I lost about 25lbs in 4 months eating like that and walking everywhere. My budget was about $50 a week if I remember correctly. Sometimes I had more money, but $50 was about it (this was in 2001).

                  I cooked everything at "home" - usually meat, grilled or pan fried, with veggies par-boiled, and water to drink. No set recipes or meals, just whatever came together that evening. I remember for Thanksgiving no one invited me anywhere so I cooked a meal at the apartment by myself - sort of a pork stew (I threw things in a pan, added water and herbs and voila, dinner).

                  I need to make myself eat like that again .... minus the bread and cereal of course. I spend too much now on groceries that I don't need to be spending. My next shop is going to be smaller.
                  "For animals, the entire universe has been neatly divided into things to (a) mate with, (b) eat, (c) run away from, and (d) rocks." - Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites

                  My Facebook (please send a message to introduce yourself though!)


                  • #10
                    I'm in college now and I've been eating primal for about a year. I'm starting to get a little less lazy about cooking, but I still hate wasting time in the kitchen. Here's what's worked for me:

                    1. Large quanties of simple meals. For example, make a whole chicken (easy, just put it in the oven for an hour and a half at 350, that's it) and you can reheat it until you finish it. I do the same thing with Sweet Potatoes (a huge one with lots of butter is a meal by itself) and you don't have to do anything but stick it in the oven on some tin foil.

                    2. Raw Milk and scoops of nut butter as a cereal replacement. Almond butter is absurdly expensive, but that's usually what I get. Reallly easy when you don't feel like cooking.

                    3. Cleanup is even worse than compicated cooking, so make stuff that requires very little. Chicken and sweet potatoes you just throw away the foil and you're done. Meatloaf you just have to clean a pan (preperation takes a few minutes though), stir fries and omlettes are just a pan too.

                    As for eating cheap, whole chickens on clearance are your best friend. If you have freezer space, you can get 4 or 5 of them at like $3 a piece, which is literally like $1.50 per huge meal. Anything that doesn't expire quickly should be bought in bulk if possible. If you don't mind cheating a bit, outmeal is dirt cheap and it's still much better than what most people eat. I ate it on and off until recently.

                    So basically, for cheap:

                    and for easy:
                    -non-diverse meals
                    -easy to cook
                    -limit clean up


                    • #11
                      I'm also a primal college student. I buy mostly local free range stuff but usually spend under $50/week on food and very little prep time.
                      I usually don't eat 3 meals a day, which helps with both my focus in the morning and the daily food cost.
                      I eat lots of eggs, sausage, and tuna, which are relatively cheap. Also, flash-frozen wild caught fish can be quite cheap-- I sometimes find wild tilapia, flounder, etc. for $2/6 fillets at the grocery store.
                      I buy leafy dark greens like kale, collards, chard instead of salad greens.
                      If I buy chicken, I get the thighs or legs that are cheaper and more nutrient dense.
                      Coconut milk curry with fish or chicken and leftover vegetables is cheap and delicious.
                      Look for ethnic food stores or the asian or hispanic section of the grocery store-- often they have canned goods and nuts, etc cheaper than the conventional brands.


                      • #12
                        Thanks for the responses and well wishes, everyone!

                        I'm definitely making a good shift. And I'm definitely employing the crockpot!

                        You all are awesome! Thanks for helping me out on my primal transition.

                        P.S. For those other college students out there on a budget, I switched to using baking soda as a shampoo replacement. It's great, especially since I can get a box for under a dollar. My hair is getting a lot softer and shinier also.