One of the surprising things kids learn when they start college is the large number of students who don’t get enough to eat. College students, especially those who live on their own and are paying their own way through college, literally starve themselves to death. So here are some well-thought, well-received Christmas and New Year’s Eve gifts for college students.
Microwaveable Rice Cooker
This little gadget is a marvel. They are easy to use and extremely affordable at just over $10 each. One of the cheapest foods that college kids can buy, and a food that gives them a lot of nutrition for very little money, is rice. Most colleges have a food bank for students who are in desperate need of food. And one of the staples they give these students regularly is rice.
Here’s what you get:
- A three-piece rice cooker which includes the bottom, an inner lid, and an outer lid that locks the inner lid into place.
- A rice paddle that looks like a flat spoon.
- A beaker that looks like a three-fourths measuring cup.
- A recipe booklet that explains how to use the cooker.
- Measure 3 beakers of dried rice into the cooker “pot”/bottom.
- Measure 4 1/4 beakers of filtered water into the cooker.
- Place the inner lid and then the outer lid onto the cooker. Lock into place.
- Place inside the microwave with a paper towel on top (for steam) and cook 21-23 minutes. (I keep my filtered Brita water in the fridge so I cook the rice 23 minutes to accommodate the coldness of the water.)
I have a Sunbeam compact microwave and have had this one for many years. I like it because it fits well on my kitchen counter along with a million other things. I cook a lot and I have a lot of appliances. This one takes up less space than most others. It also has a carousel, one of those round-abouts that rotates as it’s cooking your food. Without a carousel, a microwave doesn’t cook your food evenly. A carousel is a must for any microwave. This one is affordable enough for a college student to use. Most dorms allow microwaves and mini fridges, but check to be sure.
When college students get the time to actually shop for food or buy snacks, they buy about a week’s worth, sometimes less. Having a mini fridge is then a luxury because they can put their food inside and have cold drinks, dairy products, and prepared food (including leftovers). This little mini fridge is large enough to store a week’s worth of food, but small enough to fit in the smallest of spaces. It’s also quiet. If you happen to get one that’s noisy, just send it back and request a replacement. You can also add on a warranty for $10. That’s a bargain.
For over two decades, parents who wanted to allow their children soda have had to pay a fortune to keep natural soda stocked in their fridges. Now there’s Sierra Mist Natural and Pepsi Throwback, made with real sugar rather than the diabetes-causing corn syrup made from genetically-modified corn. There’s no way to stop your college kid from drinking soda. There are soda machines everywhere. But the soda in the soda machines is the corn syrup kind and dangerous to their health.
Amazon has a program now that allows you to choose items to regularly ship to an address, perfect for shipping items to your college student on a regular basis. Although they don’t currently offer Pepsi Throwback or Sierra Mist Natural (only third party sellers offer them and charge a fortune for shipping), you can stock up and make sure your college kid is prepared.
Sonicare is the number one recommended toothbrush by dentists. It works by using sonic waves to clean the crevices between teeth. They claim that two minutes brushing with Sonicare is more effective than a month of brushing with a regular toothbrush. I believe them. Most college kids don’t brush and if they brush, don’t floss. This one is no muss, no fuss. It’s rechargeable and the base lasts for at least two years. The toothbrush beeps when the two minutes is up. That’s it. This is the best tooth care product you can buy them. Remember to replace toothbrush heads every 3 to 6 months.
Water Pik Water Flosser
Water Pik has been recommended by endotontists, periodontists, orthodontists, and dentists for decades. It uses water jets to clean between your teeth and at the gumline. Once you start using one, you’ll be addicted. Few people think about their gums until they have periodontal disease and are losing most of their teeth. This is particularly true of college kids who drink lots of soda, let it eat away at their teeth, and end up losing a few before college is over. Next time you sit at the dentist’s office, watch the college kids who come in. You’d be surprised to find what they’re having done–usually having a tooth pulled.
If you’ve spent a fortune on braces for your kids, you really want them to continue with good dental hygiene. That means giving them spare retainers so if one breaks, they can still wear them at night. It takes less than a week for their teeth to move, especially if you have a child who is a tongue thruster. Even something as simple as a crack in the retainer will seriously diminish its effectiveness. Use the spare. Spare retainers run about $50 for each retainer, so $100 per mouth (or kid). Well worth it to not have to repeat two years and $4,000 of Invisalign or traditional braces. Don’t forget the tablets to clean the retainers.