You know that feeling when you get back to your room after the longest day ever and all you can manage to do is collapse onto your bed (backpack still on)? With your head facedown on the pillow, the realization hits: You still need to feed yourself. 😩
At this point, cooking a meal probably sounds like so much work—especially when you can just order something from your bed. We totally get it. With all the delivery options out there, takeout is easy. But it shouldn’t be something you resort to all the time. While convenient, takeout tends to be less nutritious than a homecooked meal, and it’s definitely hard on your wallet.
Hillary P., a fifth-year undergraduate student at the University of New Brunswick, says she cooks at home because it gives her more control over what she eats and lets her “make it healthier.” Other reasons students say they choose to cook at home are because of food allergies, convenience, and/or price, according to a recent Student Health 101 survey.
We promise, cooking a meal doesn’t take as long as you think—and one student is here to help. Meet Brittaney, who’s about to show you how to make awesome pad Thai at home. It’s quick, easy, healthy, and budget-friendly. Bonus: Your roommates will thank you when they come in at 2 a.m. ravenous for leftovers.
- 1 package dried flat rice noodles (noodles that you use for pho; find these at any Asian grocery store or look for the brand Thai Kitchen at your usual store)
- ¼ cup tamarind paste (alternative: ketchup)
- ¼ cup crushed peanuts
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons fish sauce (alternative: 1 teaspoon salt)
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon powder
- ½ lime
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon Thai chili flakes
*For extra protein, add shrimp or chicken, a handful of chopped green onion for garnish, and a some bean sprouts for crunch.
- Fill a large bowl with warm water and let your noodles soak for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, drain and set aside. To make sure your noodles don’t stick, add a few drops of sesame oil. You can also cut the noodles into smaller pieces.
- In a large wok or skillet on medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and a diced garlic clove.
- Add your shrimp, if using, and stir until they turn pink. If using chicken, make sure to fully cook it so that the interior is white all the way through.
- Add your rice noodles and stir for about 1 minute.
- Mix your tamarind/ketchup, brown sugar, fish sauce/salt, soy sauce, and chicken bouillon powder in a cup and pour on top of noodles. Stir around until noodles are cooked (soft but not soggy).
- Put noodles to one side of the pan and scramble your eggs on the other. Once eggs are cooked, mix the eggs and noodles together. Add your handful of bean sprouts to the pan as well.
- Plate your noodles and garnish with crushed peanuts and green onion.
“Stir-fries are great because they’re easy.”
—Myura C., fourth-year undergraduate student, Mount Royal University, Alberta
“Anything! Salads, pasta, curry, burgers, tacos, etc.”
—Gillian T., third-year graduate student, Queen’s University, Ontario
“I make new recipes frequently as well as family favourites. I cook for my whole household. I eat a vegan diet, which means lots of bean and lentil dishes, quinoa, barley, tofu, seitan, and tempeh.”
—Mya R., third-year undergraduate student, University of Victoria, British Columbia
“Homemade pizza is a great party pleaser—everyone can make their own personal pizza with whatever toppings they like. It’s pretty delicious (and fun)!”
—Jessica S., first-year graduate student, University of Maryland, US
Student Health 101 survey, June 2018.