Everything you need to know before joining
Most college students can tell you that learning how to eat properly is a bit of challenge when all you’ve got on campus is a fridge, a microwave, and a cafeteria that serves the same kind of food every day. Staying healthy is important as a student, as you need to keep your energy and focus up. At SP Jain’s Singapore campus, we are fortunate enough to have access to all sorts of food, but not all of it is healthy. The fact that there’s a 24 hour McDonald’s only a short walk from campus is nice at 3am, but not the best option for optimal health- plus it gets boring after a while! So what can you do instead?
Get cooking! Even if you’ve never cooked before, it’s super easy to make simple meals in your dorm room without sacrificing health.
First of all, embrace fresh fruits and vegetables! You’re in a tropical country. Although Singapore doesn’t produce much itself, it imports a lot of produce from Malaysia and other nearby islands. Here it’s easy to get pineapple, durian, jackfruit, kiwis, bananas and more, whether at the grocery store or from smaller shops on the side of the road. Most of these fruits don’t even have to be cooked, just peeled/cut up and eaten! If you want vegetables, you can eat those fresh or make a quick dish in the microwave. For example…a baked potato. You start, obviously, with a potato. Wash it. Stab little holes all over it with a fork. Microwave it for 5-10 minutes depending on the strength of your microwave. When you can slide your fork easily into the potato to cut it in half, it’s done. Add some salt or spices, carrots (if you want these cooked, chop them and place them in a bowl of water, then microwave for 3-7 minutes) or whatever else you eat with potatoes and enjoy. For a bowl of greens, wash some spinach/bok choi/whatever other green leafy vegetables you want and place them in a bowl of water. Microwave for 2-5 minutes and drain the water, then add spices to your taste. I personally think adding some coconut oil, sea salt and chopped onion to spinach is AMAZING.
Did you know you can also make scrambled eggs in the microwave? You just crack eggs into a bowl, stir them with a fork (then WASH the fork, don’t get raw egg all over the place) and microwave for 1-2 minutes. You do need to be careful to stir the eggs about every 30 seconds, though, otherwise they will stick to the edges of the bowl and/or explode all over the microwave.
far as something a little heartier, oatmeal and pasta are two other microwave friendly dishes. And I don’t mean instant oatmeal or those noodles-in-a-package-with-sauce things! At the ARC Fairprice you can actually get two bags of organic oats for $4.35. This is literally two and a half weeks of breakfast for me, so it’s VERY affordable! All you have to do is add water and microwave for around 60 seconds. Then you can add healthy sweeteners like honey, delicious spices like cinnamon, and other add-ins like almonds, bananas, or chopped apples.Pasta takes a little longer to make, but is usually worth it. Just buy whatever kind of noodles you want (macaroni, fusilli, spaghetti… whatever) and place in a bowl with lots of water. Microwave for a good 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally so the noodles don’t stick to the bottom. Again, depending on the microwave this might take less or more time (also depending on what the noodles are made of), so just test the noodles occasionally. When they’ve got soft and you can chew one, they’re done. Drain the water and add whatever you want. Some suggestions are marinara sauce and crumbled cheese or just olive oil and salt.
Although cooking for yourself is definitely the healthiest, and often most affordable, option, don’t worry about making your own food 100% of the time. You’re in college, and you’ve got to live a little! At least once you have to get a waffle (they’re less than 2 Sing dollars each, and you can get them with toppings like chocolate or butter) from the cafe downstairs, but you can also choose healthier fruit cups on a daily basis. Plus, the many hawker centers in Singapore offer delicious meals for cheap, like black carrot cake for a mere $3 or a bowl of design-your-own soup for $4-5.
In the end, you’re not going to starve in Singapore. Food is EVERYWHERE, and for the most part it’s affordable even for students on the tightest budgets. But if you want to make life a little easier on yourself, learning to cook on campus is a smart decision.
From: Kenaia Neumann, BBA14, from Seattle, USA