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No More King Hall: How to Shop, Cook and Eat After Graduation

  POSTED ON: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 8:00 AM by SHERYL C. HOEHNER MS,RD,LD, KING HALL


So for four wonderful years you have showed up for three squares per day and not had to grace a grocery store.  Now what to do if you are not transferring to another location with a dining facility? The following are some tips to get you started.

  • Always make some kind of a plan before shopping (just as you would with any other assignment.) Check your pantry to see what you need. Create an app or list that is organized according to your store.
  • Pick up your store’s sales flier as this allows you to react to sales or seasonal items and also to plan a varied menu. (Hot dogs or ramen every night is not the goal of this mission!)Also, remember to NEVER shop when you are hungry!
  • Collect healthy recipes by searching the web, asking your mom or dad, or buying a basic cookbook. Begin with a few simple ones and then add some others as you gain experience.
  • Make sure to have a well-stocked pantry as this will make cooking more fun and less stressful. Choose a healthy cooking oil (canola and olive) and use sparingly as even healthy oils contain 120 calories per tablespoon, include whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and whole grain cereals); oats(good fiber and protein and can be used in many ways); canned beans (can be easily added to salads or pasta and are rich in fiber); canned tuna (great protein); canned tomatoes (many great uses and contain lycopene); Dijon mustard (only 5 calories per teaspoon and can add so much zip); and finally low-sodium broths to flavor many  dishes.

You also must have some basic kitchen tools. Here are the ten must-haves for your kitchen:

  • Measuring cups and spoons so you are able to measure your ingredients
  • Baking sheets
  • Cooking thermometer (so that you can make sure your food has reached the safe temperature)
  • Hand grater (so you can add controlled amounts of cheese, chocolate and spices)
  • Sharp knives (start with a 8” chef’s knife)
  • Tongs (obviously these are useful for so many purposes)
  • Blender or hand blender (smoothies, soups, and sauces are so simple to make)
  • Peeler (healthy meals contain many fruits and veggies)
  • A colander (to drain pasta or rinse vegetables)

As far as choosing the right cookware, I suggest  purchasing the best you can afford. Start with a few basic pieces and then add on. You can look online to compare or even go to the store and ask for a demo.

Some easy meals for one person include:


Use 2 eggs or ½ cup of egg substitute and some chopped veggies. Cook and top with shredded low-fat cheese and salsa.


Top dark leafy greens with fruit and/or vegetables. Add nuts or beans for protein and top with a drizzle of lowfat dressing


Blend frozen berries and/or banana with ½ cup of lowfat plain yogurt, 3/4 cup milk, and 1/2c of ice.

Also keep an easy meal on hand for the day you come home and don’t want to cook. Dried pasta and a canned pasta sauce is an easy one or a  Morningstar burger with a salad or vegetable.

Finally, assign meals to specific days. If you are working late, plan an easy meal on that night and save something that takes longer for a day you come home earlier.

Another favorite time saver is to purchase a crockpot. A super easy tip is to put a few pounds  of chicken breasts in the pot, cover with water, turn on high for 8 hours. You’ll come home to some mouth- watering chicken that you can use in many ways, such as adding BBQ sauce and eating on a bun.

Save the broth to make an easy chicken soup by adding some chicken, a grated carrot, frozen green beans and either rice or pasta.

I’m confident these tips will serve you well no matter where you land as you serve our nation. The staff at King Hall will miss you but if you follow this advice you will be strong and fit and stay within budget too.

Ms. Hoehner is available if you desire more info pertaining to this article or other nutrition questions. Contact her by email at

Category: Midshipmen, General Interest

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