Meal Planning and Food Prep: The Lifehack to a Successful Fall Semester

By Shane Solomon-Gross

Have you ever spent way too much time dwelling over the question, “What’s for dinner?”  You’re not alone. Often when this problem arises, you’re already in the thick of a “hangry” episode, wherein you’re too hungry and angry to make a healthy choice for your next meal.  The choice that follows is one of convenience – a prepared option that may or may not be what you’re craving, probably isn’t the most healthy, and will likely cost much more than if you planned ahead and prepared the meal yourself.

As with your coursework, the famous Benjamin Franklin quote “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” also applies to your diet.  Meal planning and food preparation are fantastic life hacks designed to save you time and money, reduce your food waste, and put you in charge of your nutritional goals.

Time management is crucial to a successful college career.  At the University of Baltimore, a school that caters to the nontraditional student, students must build course schedules that are conducive to other various demands at home and work.  Managing all of these activities together is a juggling act. Classes one night per week, typically running from 5:30-8:00 PM, can put a serious strain on dinner time if you aren’t prepared.  For many, the solution is too often found in a drive-thru after class.

There’s a better way, and it’s not that difficult!

If you’re not confident about your cooking abilities, meal planning is a fun way to ease your pain in the kitchen.  Meal planning encourages you to reconsider your relationship with food and teaches you how to construct your shopping list with purpose.

So how is it done?  It’s easy! Just follow these five simple steps:

  1. Consider the inventory you already have on hand – If something has been sitting in your fridge or cupboard for a while and you just haven’t been able to find a purpose for it, take the opportunity to work it into your meal plan for the week.  Obscure items can be fun, and the challenge of incorporating unconventional ingredients keeps the process creative. If this step doesn’t interest you, consider donating your non-perishable goods to the UB Campus Food Pantry.
  2. Look at your schedule for the upcoming week – Effective meal planning requires you to think ahead.  When planning meals for those nights when you have a late night class, consider preparing enough for dinner the night before so you can pack leftovers!
  3. Choose your meals – There are limitless resources online where you can find recipes to suit your nutritional goals.  One of the best resources for meal planning is, an online recipe aggregator that allows you to search for recipes based on meal type, dietary restrictions, and most importantly, ingredients (here’s your opportunity to use that obscure ingredient).  Search for recipes with common ingredients to shrink your shopping list. Many different cuisines incorporate the same ingredients as a base to develop vastly different flavors. When you employ variety in the same ingredients, you’re less likely to fall off the meal planning wagon.  Common dynamic ingredients include onions, rice, garbanzo beans, bell peppers, and eggs. The possibilities are endless! Excellent options for meal prep are recipes which require little to no preparations on the day of. If you have a slow cooker at home, look for recipes to put it to use. A favorite recipe of mine is overnight oats, a simple and healthy breakfast option.
  4. Shopping – Create a list of all the ingredients needed to create your meals for the week.  Cross off any items you already have on hand, and hit the store! Try to have a snack before you go to the store, warding off hunger that can lead to impulsive and excessive off-list purchases.  Avoid buying pre-cut or prepared food. These options tend to be much more expensive than their unprepared counterparts. Purchase in bulk whenever possible and always be mindful of specials. If you find a cheaper substitution to an item on your shopping list, don’t be afraid to change your it.  
  5. Food Preparation – Save time by preparing as much of your meals as possible beforehand.  If you can, chop your vegetables and fruit, and portion out your snacks for the week as soon as you return home from the store.  If you have items such as rice, chicken, or beans that typically take a while to cook, you can do so ahead of time to reduce your time in the kitchen later on.  

These guidelines are far from exhaustive, but will serve as a great starting point for those interested in meal planning.  

For additional resources, check out the UB Campus Food Pantry in Room 202A in the Student Center.  It’s a free resource available to all UB students, faculty, staff, and alum!


Overnight Oats Recipe

½ Cup rolled oats (may substitute grits if gluten-free)

½ Cup non-fat milk (may substitute almond or soy if vegetarian/vegan)

½ Cup non-fat plain yogurt (may substitute greek yogurt or peanut butter)

1 Cup fruit of your choice


Add oats to your container of choice and pour in milk before layering fruit.  Refrigerate overnight and enjoy in the morning!

The Darkness Concert Review

By: Ricardo Santiago Rodriguez

If you want to enjoy a real rock show, buy your tickets for The Darkness and their Tour de Prance tour hitting the US. I went to the concert at the Rams Head Live on April 24th and I was not disappointed, this show was one of the best I have been to in quite some time. Needless to say, I have quite a lot to tell you about it.

Of course, every great concert requires an opening act. At nine o’clock Diarrhea Planet came out and spread across the stage to their respective positions. Sure, the band sounds like your neighbors garage band, and yes, they dressed like one too, but damn, they know how to rock out with the crowd. Many times, the lead guitarist would step over the press pool, and in pure rock and roll fashion began to perform a solo while deep in a wide stance. The drummer was raging on, pounding his set with the rhythm of the bass guitarist. The lead singer did not just sing, he proclaimed his lyrics to the crowd. Luckily for us, Diarrhea Planet has come out with two CDs, one of which you can check out here.

Soon after Diarrhea Planet completed the final song of their set, The Darkness burst out onto the stage, causing everyone in the crowd to erupt with indecipherable screams and cheers; we were all hysterical at the sight of the band members coming out onto the stage. What makes The Darkness an incredible band is that they are humble, some new artists have a tendency to come out on the stage as if they are a god sent from the heavens above, but each member of The Darkness walked onto the stage. Their approach was made me feel as if they were incredibly grateful to have Baltimoreans for cheering them. We cheered on for a solid three minutes and they had not even touched an instrument.

As they began to play their set with songs Open Fire and Love is only a Feeling to the Baltimoreans, the venue Rams Head shook along with the bass. Frankie Poullain, the bassist and backing vocals, played the whole set in a lime green pin suit form the 70’s while Justin Hawkins, front man and lead singer, sang in a very tight two piece leopard suit, they were the personification of glam rock. Being placed in the front of the photo pool gave a new perspective to the show; being so close to the band rocking out to their songs from their new album was a thrill ride beyond comparison. The flashing lights, the pounding bass, and the adrenaline rushing lyrics placed me in state of awe. For that moment, I had a lapse in my mind about my objective for the night, and they were just that good in the first three songs.

The rule of having a press pass is to stay in for the first three songs only and then leave. Hawkins asked the fellow photographers including the crowd and myself if we could stay for one more song, even acknowledging that our jobs are important for the venue and the band. The crowd began to chant one more song, as did I in the photo pool. The Darkness performed one more song for us; talk about a class act.

Even after the song, Black Shuck was over and we left to join the rest of the crowd, the band continued to put on a show. Hawkins talked to the crowd, asking how we all were and how excited he was to perform for us along with having the tour. At one point he tried to convince the audience on the second floor to come down and enjoy the show with the rest of the crowd. For a band to communicate so intimately to the crowd was heartwarming and welcoming.


With each song came with more thrills. I personally felt as though I was participating in a music video rather than a concert, because of how intimate this event ended up being. What made concert so surreal was the fact Hawkins continued to talk to the audience about the bands progression, the tour, and their adventures. The stage was made for them to rock out.

Hawkins actually had to take off his top for the remainder of the set. The whole band began to look less like they were living in 2018, and more like glam rock legends of the 80’s. Each song the band played meshed perfectly into the next, never skipping a beat or falling out of the rhythm. They are true professionals of the craft that is rock and roll. I cannot express the quality of show The Darkness put on for Baltimore. I truly wish to see them again on tour in the future.

Finally, I would like to give a special thank you to Renee Harrison, for the opportunity to review the show and give a 90’s baby like myself a chance to partake in the era of glam rock and roll.



Interview with Frankie Poullain from The Darkness, “Death or Glory!”

By Ricardo Santiago Rodriguez

With great honor and privilege, The UB Post has been granted the opportunity to an interview with bassist Frankie Poullain of the band The Darkness. Although The Post may have been humble about this, I was overjoyed at the chance to interview an international rock star. Francis Gilles Poullain, better known in the band as Frankie, was raised in Milnahort, Scotland. This international man of rock has had a large arrangement of talent along with his fellow band members. He not only is the bassist, but also a songwriter and author to a hilariously witty book Dancing in the Darkness (2009). With their debut release of 2004’s album Permission to Land, these international rock stars have been hitting the US in style. Almost everyone can remember their hit single, “I Believe in a Thing Called Love.”

Now with their release of the new album Pinewood Smile (2017), the band is going on tour. Their “Tour de Prance” will hit 26 cities in the US starting late March and early May. Baltimore will be the 20th city on their incredible tour stretching from the west coast going into the east. Be sure to start getting your tickets and follow The Darkness on Twitter and Facebook at the handle @thedarkness.

Here is what I learned from The Darkness bassist, Frankie Poullain.

How did the band come up with the cover art for new album Pinewood Smile?

By being imaginative and irreverent.


What thought process comes into play for The Darkness when creating a new album?

Good question. Being childish and impetuous to the point where we’re not actually thinking or processing like a grown up.


What is your favorite song on Pinewood Smile?

‘Southern Trains’.


Does The Darkness engage in pranks or antics among each other while recording and/or on tour?

Certainly, the back lounge ‘guff vortex’ is a fate I wouldn’t wish on anyone, fish, flesh or fowl.


How did Diarrhea Planet land the opening spot as your special guests on Tour de Prance? 

After Dan read their ‘Diarrhea of a Rock Star’ on the road opus.

What can we expect from your set list – in terms of hearing songs from all The Darkness albums?

Correct – every album will be represented.


What city on the tour are you most excited to visit?

Most excited to be surprised or proved wrong, that’s the beauty of this crazy country. Cities become depressed and sometimes downright dangerous but then they become regenerated through enterprise and collective spirit, it can be a joy to behold. Or it can be a bloody pain in the arse. It all depends.


Is there time within the tour where you and the band can enjoy sightseeing?

Yes we have a couple of days off a week, I went hiking in upstate Oregon last week. And yesterday I enjoyed the hospitality of the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee – Elvis once stayed there. Does that count as sightseeing?


How do you personally get yourself motivated before a set?

Tearfully peruse the photo albums of my ex wives and calculate the alimony payments.


How did you choose to play the bass? Was it a difficult instrument to learn?

I was attracted to a sound that was submerged and hidden, that meant I could get away with the mistakes, or at least I thought I could…it’s hard on the fingers in terms of calluses and arthritic finger joints.


Did you ever have an alternate career choice?

Back up plans are for wimps and the faint hearted. Death or glory.


What can fans look forward to on Tour de Prance?

The time of their lives.

What is next for The Darkness after Tour de Prance? More touring and albums?

More albums – a surprise release to coincide with our Hollywood Vampires support slots in June and July – American and British vaudeville head to head.


A special thank you Frankie Poullain for taking the time out of his busy tour schedule for the interview. Another special thank you goes to Renee Harrison, from Publicity Please for helping The UB Post obtain an incredible opportunity.