Basic Nutrition 101-Getting ready for college

Before your child packs up their belongings and heads away from home, maybe for the first time, be sure they know basic nutrition skills and how to eat well.  Here are some helpful tips for your new college student or anyone else wanting to learn their way around  the kitchen.

Cooking Terms

Baste: To spread, brush or spoon water, melted fat or other liquid, such as chicken broth, over food to keep the surface moist and add flavor.

Blanch: To boil in water for a short time and then plunge into cold water, or to pour boiling water over food, then drain it almost immediately. Often used to preserve color in vegetables or to loosen the skin of tomatoes.

Boil: To cook in boiling water or other liquid. Liquid is at a “boil” when large bubbles rise continuously to the top.

Marinate: To let foods stand in a liquid mixture. Refrigerate, covered, if marinating more than two hours.

Poach: To cook in water, broth or other liquid that is just below the boiling point.

Roast: To cook by dry heat in the oven.

Sear: To brown surfaces quickly over high heat, usually in a hot skillet. Often an instruction at the beginning of meat preparation.

Simmer: To cook in liquid at a low temperature. Be sure the liquid does not boil.

Steam: To cook, covered, over a small amount of boiling liquid so the steam formed in the pan does the cooking.

Saute: To cook briskly in a small amount of fat, usually in a skillet on top of the stove. Same thing as pan-fry.

Mixing Terms

Beat: To make a mixture smooth or to introduce air by using a brisk, regular revolving motion that lifts the mixture over and over.

Blend: To combine two or more ingredients by mixing thoroughly.

Fold: To combine by using two motions: (1) cutting vertically through the mixture and (2) turning over and over by sliding the implement across the bottom of the mixing bowl with each turn of he bowl. Usually accomplished with a spatula, and usually used to incorporate light mixtures, such as egg whites, into other mixtures, such as cake batter.

Mix: To combine ingredients in any way that evenly distributes them.

Stir: To mix foods with a circular motion for the purpose of blending or obtaining uniform consistency.

Toss: To lightly blend ingredients by lifting them and letting them fall back in the bowl.

Cutting Terms

Chop: To cut into small pieces with a sharp knife.

Cube: To cut into small squares of equal size.

Dice: To cut into small cubes. Size may be specified in recipe.

Grate: To cut food into very fine particles by rubbing on a grater. Spray a grater with non-stick spray to help in cleanup.

Grind: To cut food into tiny particles by pushing through a food grinder, or by crushing with a mortar and pestle. Also can be accomplished in a food processor.

Julianne: To cut into thick long strips.

Sliver: To slice into long, then strips.

Smart Grocery Shopping 

  • Concentrate shopping time around the perimeter of the grocery store. Fill your cart with produce first.
  • Watch your beverages. Choose 100% fruit juices or water instead of juice drinks and beware of soft drinks, which can contain up to 11 teaspoons of sugar.
  • Do not shop when you are hungry.
  • Beware of featured items at the end of aisles and at the check out counter. These foods are usually loaded with fat, sugar and calories plus make you spend more money on things you don’t really need.
  • Make a list, and stick to it.
  • If you are trying to find convenient, on-the-go items, look for foods that are high in fiber and have both carbohydrates and protein.


Rice:  Use a 1 to 1 1/2 ratio of rice to liquid; boil, cover, simmer 20 minutes.  You could also use the same ratio with a rice cooker.

Eggs: Perfect eggs all start with heating a small skillet over medium high heat.  Add a drizzle of olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.  Here is where it will vary depending on the type of eggs you desire.  For fried eggs; immediately crack 1 egg into the skillet.  Add 1 tsp. of water, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 1 minute.  Remove immediately and season to taste.  For scrambled eggs; crack eggs in a small bowl and whisk until well blended.  Add to hot skillet  and mix continuously while cooking.  Remove from pan and  season to taste.  Eggs can also be cooked in the microwave, just be sure to use a microwave-safe dish and cook at short intervals.

Chicken:  An easy chicken recipe is also important.  Try this simple recipe; Find your favorite seasoning (I like; onion and garlic powder, paprika, season salt, pepper, cayenne powder, and a splash of cinnamon) and place some onto a small plate.  Mix well and add some water to make a paste.  Place your skinless chicken on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and rub each piece with the seasoning mixture.  Bake at 375 degrees until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, usually about 20-30minutes.  A steak could be seasoned the same way and placed under the broiler.

Vegetables: Most vegetables can be steamed, which is not only simple to do, it is also the cooking process that retains the most nutrients.  Place your steamer into your pot with the bottom filled with water (be sure that the water does not go past the steamer).  Bring water to a boil and place the trimmed veggies (trimmed to your liking) into the pot.  Steam just until tender and then drain off the liquid.


2 thoughts on “Basic Nutrition 101-Getting ready for college

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