Well it’s the last few days before school starts, but not the end of summer. It will never get easy to see your kids going away to school, no matter what age. So, if you are going away to school or the parent of someone going away to school, read on.

For many parents this is a time of angst as your babies will be on their own, some many miles away. What are they going to eat? How will they survive without you? Well calm down, you have brought them this far and they want to/are going to further their education in the hopes of making the world a better place to live, making more money than we did (just as we did more than our parents before them and so on before them). And let’s not fool ourselves, they will be doing things we really don’t want to know about (think back to your first tastes of freedom).

So here are some tips for them to at least think about when deciding on their next meal. They can’t eat out every day, it’s unhealthy, it’s expensive, and it’s not practical. So where do you start.

1. Plan your meals. If you are in first year, you are probably living on campus and have a meal plan. Try and eat healthy. Don’t just look for the fast food places. Start off with a good breakfast, eat a big lunch and a smaller dinner and don’t skip meals. You can’t feed your mind without feeding your body.

2. Google some ideas for healthy meal ideas in under 30 minutes. There are thousands of blogs and food sites (mine included) that have healthy, nutritious meal ideas and easy to prepare recipes. Did you know you can text, search, play games, study while your food is cooking – just put everything on a timer on your phone and STAY CLOSE TO THE STOVE.

3. Shop sensibly. You should become familiar with the layout of your grocery store. The produce section is your friend! Avoid the processed/packaged food section as much as possible. Don’t over shop. If you have to buy in bulk, share the cost and the product with a friend. Something is only a bargain if you are going to finish it.

4. Find friends who are also into eating healthy and try different foods. We are extremely lucky to live in a city where multicultural food is available on every corner. Yet I’m amazed at how many kids have not tried different ethnic foods. You can’t know if you like something or not, unless you try it. So open up your mind and your mouth and take your taste buds to new heights. You’ll be surprised at what you like. And don’t expect to like everything you try. As a professional Chef, I quite often hear “I don’t like …”. To which I often ask, have you tried it, with the response “no, but…”. If you have not tried something, you cannot possibly say you don’t like it.

5. Everyone has some free time. There are plenty of places out there that you can get some reasonably priced or free cooking lessons. Remember, you want to learn techniques, anyone can follow a recipe. Demo’s teach technique. Ask your Loblaw’s PC Cooking School if they have the class “Away but Eating Well”, I teach it and you will learn how to cut up a whole chicken, make stock with some of the carcass, turn the stock into soup, bake some of the chicken, make tomato sauce and the best (no that’s what they tell me when they taste it) potatoes ever. This is one time when it’s okay to get your parents to call and find out. Sign up for the class, bring a friend, it will be the best $40 you spend or you are gifted from a relative/friend! Technique will put food on your table.