Off to School

Off to School

By Beth Rotto

I’m sending my only child off to college this fall. How can this be? Wasn’t there just a big, beautiful sign up in the Co-op window announcing her birth? Wasn’t it just yesterday that she hopped from square to square on the checkered linoleum tile floor at the old store? Wasn’t it just recently that we had to ask her group of friends not to roller skate down the aisles?  I’ll miss her dashing by my work station next to the cheese case for her lunch.  It’s going to be a big change, but we are ready for it. I hope.

Since I work full time at the Co-op, and since we live in the country, my daughter has often ended up eating at the Co-op during the school year. The Co-op has really been her home away from home. She loves eating in the Water Street Cafe where there is always something delicious, whether hot or cold.  There are always salad fixings and everything is ready to go. At home or in town, I feel fortunate to know she’s grown up with the best food we can provide.

This fall, at college, she’s opted for a plan of two meals a day in her college cafeteria. Several times a week she plans to cook or eat healthy foods that she likes in her dorm room. College is a balance of classes and studies, work, activities and socializing. There’s not much time for food preparation. How can I support her? What can she stock up on while she’s home, and what can I send her in care packages?

I imagine that quite often she will be eating breakfast in her dorm room. We are going to look for a mini refrigerator that she can stock with milk, yogurt, juice and fruit for breakfasts, along with cereal and granola. Coconut milk, almond milk and rice milk in the asceptic boxes can wait on the shelf until there is room in the refrigerator to be chilled. She can try the protein shakes from the Wellness department. The one from Rainbow Light, which I’ve heard is delicious, contains rice protein, probiotics, amino acids, and super green foods. Although she’s not a big oatmeal eater, perhaps when she is buying her own groceries she’ll warm up to this humble, nutritious, and inexpensive food. Oatmeal with apples, maple syrup or honey)

. . .mmmmmm. Don’t skip breakfast, my girl.

For lunches, quick suppers and study breaks in the dorm she can have ramen noodles, boxes of soup with the handy reclosable spouts, peanut butter, crackers, cheese sticks, dried fruit, popcorn and trail mix.

When it comes to weekend cooking, she’ll have a nearby co-op (a definite bonus) and local health food store where she can shop for organic produce, farm eggs and fresh bread. Maybe she can make space on a book shelf for a few essential cooking supplies like balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper, some herbs, spices, honey and tamari sauce. She’ll have to find out if the dorm kitchen has enough equipment to actually cook a meal or not.

Besides sending her with all my love and good wishes, I’ll send along a bottle of multivitamins, some acidophilis pearls, and a first aid kit stocked from the Co-op – including lavender essential oil for sunburn and to help promote sound sleep, arnica tablets for bumps and bruises, and Umcka syrup to use at the first sign of a cold.

The following recipes will certainly work in your kitchen, and might work in the dorm room (not sure yet.) I found them online from Daphne Oz, author of the book, “The Dorm Room Diet.”  You can pick up a copy of the book at the Oneota Co-op.  These recipes should make enough to feed both your student and their roommate.

No cook Protein Bars

1 c. protein powder

1 c. quick oats

1 c. nuts, chopped fine (I used walnuts)

1/3 c. flax meal

1 c. nut butter (I used peanut butter)

2/3 c. honey

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. chocolate chips

A little water (1/4 c. or less)

Mix all ingredients except water. Add water by the tablespoon to make a texture that holds together when pressed. Press in 9 x 13 pan. Chill. Cut into bars.