By Prakriti Bhat
To begin with, let’s admit that Hostel life is bittersweet. It’s a great learning experience as you get out of the controlled and comfortable familial environment and become more independent. However, responsibilities increase and you live on a tight budget. And if you’re a foodie like me, eating out becomes difficult and you have to do a research on the cheapest places to eat out. Hostel mess is mostly a ‘mess’ and you’re left with two options; either go hungry or do some jugaad to calm your hunger.
Thankfully, instant foods have made hostel life way easier than what it was for our predecessors who relied mostly on the nearby snack outlet or gate crashing weddings (still happens!). So with a little help from a few hostellers, we aim to be your hostel food guide. Here’s how you can save money and be lazy, all at the same time without giving up on your health.
1. Maggi/ Chings Noodles
Maggi is the king of all instant foods and thus deserves to be on top of the list. It may not be ready in ‘2 minutes’ but it definitely is a life savior. ALWAYS stock up on Maggi packets because when hunger strikes, nothing can cure you better. Chings is another instant noodle brand that you can try when looking for something different. Their Hot Garlic Noodles is a personal favourite. It’s spicy and absolutely delicious.
Saffola Masala Oats and Quaker Oats is something health freak students swear by. If you’re the kind of person that is constantly measuring the calories in each and every food item, fret not. Oats is a nice way to stay friends with the weighing machine. It is quick and wholesome.
3. MTR Ready to Eat Packets
“You can’t have Maggi every day. It becomes monotonous. Moreover, it’s isn’t very healthy if taken on a regular basis. I store ready to eat packets of Lemon Rice, Rajma Chawal, Upma and Poha from MTR. Its quick and quite yum”, says Aditya, a student of DTU. We couldn’t agree more!
Its summers and what better way to stay hydrated than a chilled glass of Chaach? “I am a huge fan of Amul Chaach. Since I share a flat with two other girls, we buy large tetra packs and beat the heat with a glass of Buttermilk”, says Shraddha, a student of UPES, Dehradun.
As basic as it may sound, don’t compromise on your protein intake. Have it with cookies (awesome combo) or if your hostel/ PG/ flat has a blender, make a simple milkshake. You will also need milk if you want to make Tea or Coffee.
Another dairy product in this list should tell you that they are an important part of your diet which you shouldn’t let go. Aditya recommends Mother Dairy’s flavored yoghurt and milk during summers.
Another way to stay hydrated is a pack of Rasna or Tang. Preeti from Ambedkar University says, “It’s healthy and many hostellers store a few sachets of Rasna when in need of a cooling drink.” Also, isn’t it a great way to relive those childhood memories?
Both, Preeti and Aditya espouse the use of instant soup sachets. Truth be told, it does make for a great evening snack/ beverage. There are also ‘Cup-a-soup’ sachets sold by Knorr for a meager 10 bucks which is enough for one person.
Shraddha prefers to visit a nearby tea stall for her daily dose of chai or coffee while Aditya and Preeti prefer to keep a few sachets handy. “I recently tried Wagh Bakri’s instant Masala Tea which is ready in just 2 minutes and is pretty good. Also Nescafe sells Cappuccino sachets which is a great help during all nighters”, says Aditya. Along with instant coffee, Preeti also suggests stocking up on Iced Tea sachets.
Sprinkle some salt or chaat masala to make a fruit salad and binge watch your favourite TV show. Getting late for class? Grab a fruit and munch on it while you rush to and fro for lectures. Packed with a bevy of nutrients, it is something that you shouldn’t miss out.
11. Fruit Juice
Tropicana and Real Juice are bound to be your best friends. There is seldom any time in the morning to gulp down a fruit and that is where packaged fruit juices save the day. Run like The Flash while sipping on a tiny tetra pack and you have your nutrient quotient for the day intact.
There are many other options but these are the bare necessities to survive your hostel life. You and your mates are sure to come up with tons of combinations with the above mentioned things. Let your creativity flow!
Anubhav Sapra is an avid foodie! He is a Founder but proudly calls himself a Foodie-in-chief at Delhi Food Walks. He is also a street-food and Indian regional cuisine connoisseur and loves to write about street-food.