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August BOM: The Healthy College Cookbook

The Healthy College Cookbook

Ah, college eats. Pizza. Beer. (For some, at least.) Sub sandwiches. Pop-Tarts. Hamburgers and hot dogs, if you’re really living well. Canned chili. Ramen noodles. Microwave burritos. (In fact, anything that comes in an easy-off wrapper and fits in the micro.) Popcorn. Cookies and pretzels and gummi bears, usually as a three-course dinner. Gatorade and energy drinks. Power bars. Whatever mom sends in the care package. Twizzlers. Sunflower seeds. Velveeta nachos (with lots of pickled jalapeƱo slices).

Thank goodness for revved-up metabolisms.

College kids are under a lot of new pressures compared to their high school lifestyle, and one regular response is to short-change the refueling system. Cut meals, or eat quickly (and poorly) for convenience. Many dorm residents have it especially tough, when the choices might be the food service hall or fast food. Howver, more students life off-campus these days than ever before. Those folks have access to (shared) resources, but also spend time driving by fast food joints and convenience stores, which are a big temptation. Especially when you’re almost late to class. Their perception often is that cooking for themselves (alone, or with roomates) is time-consuming and stressful, and for those who aren’t accomplished cooks, it may also produce worse results that gas-station sandwiches and slaw dogs.

Help is here. In fact, help is here again.

The August Book of the Month (BOM) from the editor elves here at the Chile Underground is The Healthy College Cookbook. (I’m getting an early jump, since some families are already prepping for the fall semester.) The cover banner says it all: Quick. Cheap. Easy. Positive attributes for the eats that college students crave. (For girlfriends or boyfriends, not so much.) This book has been available for more than a decade, and now there’s a newly-revised and expanded edition in a more colorful cover. The only recipe you won’t find here is pizza. There are plenty of other good books in that category, though.

The authors (originally Alexandra Nimetz, Jason Stanley, Emmy Starr; new version added Rachel Holcomb) have included recipes in all the important categories, including breakfasts, snacks, soups & salads, pasta (a top species on student’s lists), chicken dinners, meat dishes, sides, sauces and breads. Even desserts! Vegetarian and vegan diners’ needs aren’t skipped. The new edition has over 100 new recipes, and others have been revised.

Everything I looked at had healthy ingredients and clear instructions. The equipment required to make these meals didn’t look extensive either; a shared kitchen space, or even tabletop appliances, would get most of this stuff prepared nicely. I’m waiting until my resident college life expert returns from her summer research foray to actually build and test some recipes out of the book, though I’m confident that the title and the cover claims are all true.

If you’re in college, planning on going soon, or are a concerned parent, please consider adding this volume to the book list. It costs about 5% of many required textbooks, and it’ll be ever more useful…

Enjoy the (Great College Grub) Heat!

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