What happens to the teenage brain when it goes off to college? You spend 18 or so years as a parent providing love, support, shelter, and encouragement. You teach them life lessons. You teach them right from wrong. You nurture them, both physically and emotionally. Then they head off to college, and it’s as if their brains are wiped clean. Suddenly, their priorities go from homework to frat houses. From classes to coffee. From eating healthy meals to… I have no idea what. They somehow survive on Starbucks, Red Bull, and Ramen. I have five kids, three of whom have gone off to college, so I know these things.
But there is hope! Believe it or not, they do actually get tired of trying to figure out what or where to eat. They get sick of feeling sick. They long for something anything that even remotely resembles a balanced meal. And if you prep them properly, they’ll have these top 5 kitchen products for college students handy and ready to go!
- Slow cooker/crock pot – This one vessel is capable of producing everything from stews and soups to braised beef, chicken and pork. It can make breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s the ultimate set-it-and-forget-it piece of equipment. It can feed one; or it can feed a crowd. Crock pot meals take minimal effort and planning. Just plop in some meat, a veggie or two, a little liquid and a bit of seasoning, and when your kid returns from a long day of “classes” he or she will be treated to the wonderful smells and tastes of a home cooked meal. And you’ll be treated with “thank yous” because you so thoughtfully made sure they had this wonderful kitchen product.
- A really good knife – If you’ve downloaded my FREE Top Ten Kitchen Tips, you’re well aware of my opinion about knives. You don’t need many, but you do need one or two great ones. And so does your college student. One all purpose kitchen knife, such as a santoku knife, will allow your kid to prepare any kind of fruit, veggie, meat, dessert, snack, etc… Just make sure it’s sharp!
- Plastic cutting board – There are endless types of cutting boards. I have many – hardwood, bamboo, molded plastic, flexible plastic, multi-colored. You get the point. In all honesty, though, your college student really only needs one. It should be one that’s light, very hard, easy to wash, and not likely to retain juices and bacteria from raw meats. The best all purpose cutting board I have is a square 12″ hard plastic cutting board that’s curved up on the edges. It will handle nearly everything your kid can throw at it. And clean up is a breeze.
- Can opener – (and, no, I didn’t say bottle opener. Your kid will have access to plenty of those). As much as we’d like to think our kids will be slicing and dicing fresh, wholesome food, the harsh reality is that most of what they’ll likely prepare will come from a can (I’m not talking about a beer can, but you know how things go…) Thankfully there are tons of great tasting and moderately healthy meals that can start with a can. But if they don’t have a way of opening it, you’ll likely see those very same cans four years later when your kid finally graduates and asks for your help moving out!
- Mixing bowls – Yes, I’ve seen it. For some reason, kids (even big teenage ones) can’t seem to figure out how much of something can actually fit in a bowl. So they often make something starting with a bowl that is entirely too small for the task at hand. Then they pour the stuff into a slightly bigger bowl. Still too small. And finally on the third try, they get it right! Yes, they should have used the large mixing bowl to begin with. Now there are three bowls to clean! And likely a huge mess on the counter. Prevent this problem for them… get them one mixing bowl, and only one. Make it a big one. They’ll be glad you did!
Well, there you have it… The best way to get your kid off to a great start at college. Make sure they have these kitchen products for college students and you’ll rest easier knowing you’ve given them what they need for easy, tasty meals. They really do eventually get it… 🙂
Tuesday 25th of August 2015
Luckily, I had watched my mom in the kitchen a lot before going off to college. From watching her, and what she used, I had purchased items 2-5 from your list above in the process of stocking up my kitchen for my first apartment. After reading this, I decided to go out and get a slow cooker. BEST DECISION EVER! Such an easy, low maintenance appliance that I use almost everyday. I just throw some food in before class and by the time I get home, its cooked and ready to eat!
Tuesday 25th of August 2015
I hope you make lots of great home cooked meals with that crock pot!
Thursday 20th of August 2015
This is so true! A crockpot is the BEST for any college student. I am in grad school and still think these are essentials for anyone living in a small space on a budget!