Easy eats for college students

The school year is beginning to wind down and one thing is on most seniors’ minds: college. Going to college means living on your own, fending for yourself and making your own food. It’s important to start this next chapter of your life with advice on preparing quick and tasty dishes, which you can find below.

unnamed-2Jessi Norton

Norton, a Decatur alumni, is in her fifth year at the University of Georgia.

Norton has always been involved in the kitchen, starting with helping her mother measure ingredients, “so I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t helping out cooking.”

Norton has always been interested in science and she really became enthusiastic about cooking once she discovered a connection between cooking and science.

“Once I figured out that cooking isn’t so much following a recipe as mastering a set of basic techniques and understanding why and how food changes both chemically and physically as a result of using that particular technique, then it became a puzzle,” Norton said

When starting college, she struggled to continue to cook because she didn’t have access to a kitchen.

“I baked bread in the basement kitchen of my dorm once and got a lot of ‘You’re a little bit insane, aren’t you?’ looks from people,” Norton said.

Norton believes that cooking is especially important because it’s a universal action, something that can connect others.

“. . . It’s the kind of thing that should be nurtured and shared, especially now when so many people, myself included, don’t always take the time to slow down and actually enjoy the things that they’re eating.”

For those that are just getting in the cooking game, Norton proposes making a wheat berry salad, inspired by Greek flavors, because it’s a “filling but not too heavy” dish.


Noemi Griffin

Griffin graduated from Decatur last year and is now a freshman at Mercer University.

She says that since starting college in 2015, she has struggled to maintain healthy eating habits.

“I think my eating habits are a lot less healthy than they were last year honestly. Campus food is definitely not the best for you, but when you’re on a full meal plan there aren’t that many other options.”

She adds that not having a kitchen adds to the convenience of eating fast food.

“Plus, having to wash dishes is a pain when your bathroom is community style and you don’t have a dishwasher,” Griffin said.

So, Griffin keeps it simple when cooking. She recommends making broccoli and rice casserole because it’s simple and nutritious.

“[This dish] is super easy and if you don’t feel like leaving your room to go get food, you don’t have to,” Griffin said.


image (1)

River Young

Young, senior, is in his third year of Culinary class at Decatur.

Young says he’s enjoyed cooking for the past six years, when he met his step-father.

Since then, cooking has become a major interest in his life. He has competed in three competitions and is beginning to train new culinary teams.

He says that while cooking can be challenging, it is important to “touch the food with love.”

“In short, it’s about making people happy with your food,” Young said.

Young recommends making his favorite snacks: flour tortillas with cheese dip.



Kira Hynes

Hynes is a Decatur alumni and now a sophomore at University of Georgia.

Hynes has started cooking more since she started college. She says she likes to make nutritional dishes, such as egg and vegetable quiche, because “you know, it tastes good. It’s, like, actually real food for once.”

“The energy you get from good food is far superior to the nutrient-wiped foods you get at cheap restaurants and most dining halls,” Hynes said.

For those just starting college, Hynes recommends making cauliflower soup.

Hynes likes this recipe because, it reminds her of her mom. She also appreciates being able to eat “real food for once.”

“Sometimes you have to eat Goldfish for dinner, so [the soup] is a fancy change of pace.”

Hynes’ biggest piece of advice is to include multicultural influences.

“I’d for sure recommend trying out lots of spices and recipes for ethnic foods you really like. You’d be surprised how feasible it is to cook something with a flavorful likeness,” Hynes said.

Photos courtesy of Jessi Norton, Noemi Griffin and Kira Hynes

Infographic by Hannah Jones