I don't believe this has been asked quite in the specificity of my problem, so here goes, briefly.
I am currently in college and have been paleo since may (the beginning of summer). Being home and trying it out for a few months made be feel awesome and i loved it. But now i am back on campus in a room where i have a kitchen but only a sink, refrigerator, and microwave. I have a meal plan that allows me to eat at the dining hall once a day where i can do a pretty solid job of being kosher.
I take a multivitamin, fish oil, and b-12 (i have a deficiency).
So the question is: How can i eat paleo (or an approximation thereof) for dinner in my room without the ability to cook food?
I have done lots of salads for this first month and although i make a pretty delicious & loaded salad, i just don't see it as sustainable. It is expensive (remember, i'm in college) and i don't think i can eat the same thing for dinner every night until May 2012.
Part of me thinks i should just be strict for lunch (at the dining hall) and then be pretty loose for dinner. Atleast until i graduate, which isn't too far off.
All else in check by the way. No sugar, no dairy, lots of sleep, and exercise. I am 6'1 and 160lbs, just had a physical and i am clear on everything else. The only scary part of introducing grains back into my diet is fluctuating energy levels and depression returning.
Thanks and i appreciate any feedback in advance!
Crap! i forgot a pretty critical element. The place i live has really sensitive fire alarms. I tried cooking with a hot plate for awhile and even turning the damn thing on would set it off. I also got busted putting for turning the fire alarm off. So the only appliances i've found that work out are crockpots and rice cookers.
Eggs. Yeah, microwaved eggs aren't always as good as cooking on the stovetop but you can buy various microwave egg cookers that allow you to make poached or boiled eggs in the microwave.
Sweet potatoes (and regular if you eat those, since they're cheap) steamed in the microwave. Obviously you can steam any veggies in there.
Those three things are what helped me the most during my first year when I was living in the dorms. And if you shop at the right stores (at least over here, I don't know where you are) none of them are expensive at all.
I lived in grad student housing my first two years of paleo with absolutely no cooking facilities. So much for encouraging students to be healthy...you can microwave pretty much anything. I can't guarantee it will taste good, but it will work. Microwaved sweet potatoes with kerrygold were a staple. Fish microwaves well. I also microwaved sausage and eggs, it was not very appetizing...but edible.I also bought a blender to make smoothies with and never got in trouble for it. You can make some great filling smoothies with things like raw eggs, frozen fruit, and nut milk.
Not sure you'd be able to get a crock pot but would be a big help to be able to toss in a hunk of meat or whole chicken with veggies.
Potatoes and bacon microwave well.
If you buy nut you can chop them up and make your own nola ( nut granola) to mix with fruit and Greek yogurt
Do you go home often? You could ask mom to ( or do yourself at a friends home) batches of individual broth portions, apple sauce, a healthy version of a Lara bar or protein bar, precooked meatballs, patties, bags of cooked ground beef...etc all pre portion to stick in the freezer.
If you can get away with one burner and a pot you have even more options. Is there a dorm common kitchen? Or bbq? Again bulk cooking
How about a foreman grill? Then you could just prep burgers and freeze uncooked and cook as needed.
A small toaster oven is also an option....I use one when I'm just doing small things and don't want to heat a ful oven. Stuffed baked tomatoes, grilled veggies, potatoes
I would highly recommend getting a $20-30 electric hot plate (basically a standalone burner) http://www.iofbonehealth.org/patients-public/about-osteoporosis/prevention/nutrition/calcium-rich-foods.html. It's the only way I was able to make my espresso in the hotels my b/f and I stayed at when we were on vacation!
I would avoid propane ones, as the gas & open flame might pose a safety issue in your dorm room. When you're not using it, you can tuck it away in a cabinet or drawer so it's out of the way.
Also, a good convection oven. Smaller than a microwave, cooks faster and more evenly than a regular-sized oven and uses a lot less electricity.
I suspect you don't have a lot of space so minimal equipment is best for you. I think an induction burner would be the way to go. Prices range from low to high so it would just be whatever your budget would allow. The one I used in the test kitchen was big bucks, but Cooks Illustrated reviewed several and one of their top picks was the Max Burton 1800w and it's $125. Actually just looked on Amazon and it's "on sale" for $65.
Other than that all you would need is one or two cutting boards, maybe one for proteins/the other for fruit/veg, 8" chef knife, one paring knife, one fry pan, one pot with a lid. If you size things somewhat close you could use the same lid for the pot/pan. Very little space taken up, you could even do a little rack on the wall to hang your cooking supplies so they're out of the way.
There's nothing you can't do with this setup + the microwave, so have fun! Your little kitchen is going to be awesome :)
The link below is for a makeshift sous vide cooker. I haven't tried this out yet, but I'd be really surprised if your college disallowed it. You'd have to get an electric kettle, though.
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