It’s never fun in college when you are overwhelmed with schoolwork, crunched for time, and BROKE. It seems easy to snag a $2 slice of pizza the size of your face on your way home from campus, rather than taking the time to make a home cooked meal. But believe me, you should never forfeit your health for fast food when battling stress. Throw out those sodium and preservative loaded Ramen noodles, say adios to Taco Bell, and end your relationship with the pizza delivery guy. There are cheap ways to eat healthy while in college. Going to the grocery store and crafting your own meal is much more rewarding than you think, and, in fact much cheaper than eating out everyday. Try these easy to make meals and feel happier about your spending and your eating habits.
As a student, getting a few minutes of extra sleep is precious. The thought of cooking when you’re barely awake can seem strenuous. These meals are not only cheap and nutritious, but get you fueled up and out the door in no time.
Throw some eggs in a frying pan and whip up a beautiful concoction with your choice of cheese and tons of vegetables. Vegetables give you carbs for an extra energy boost, keep you fuller for longer, and just, in general, make eggs a whole lot better. For a dozen eggs, peppers, onions, and mushrooms, and a block cheddar cheese, you’re looking at around $15 for breakfast that’ll last you 6 days. Get scramblin’!
If you’re really crunched for time, pop some oats and water into the microwave. Make that boring goop tasty by adding some bananas or blueberries, and top it off with a drizzle of honey. BOOM. You got a delicious bowl of goodness for around $12 that’ll last the entire week.
Who doesn’t love these? Dazzle them with extra the fruit you purchased for oatmeal, nuts if you’re into that, and smear them with honey. It you really love Aunt Jamima that’s fine too – only an extra $3 purchase. $10 for this meal will last much longer than you’d expect.
When starving in the middle of the day most students can’t help but buy food on or around campus. I remember going to the salad bar on campus for lunch, and to my surprise, spending $13 for a simple bowl of spinach, tomatoes, and cucumbers! Not worth it. Pack a lunch and bring it with you. Get a sweet Ninja Turtle lunch box just so everyone else knows how rad you are (I promise, everyone will be jealous).
Turkey Avocado Wrap
We all agree; avocado is the best thing that has ever happened to mankind. Make a delicious wrap with a whole-wheat tortilla, turkey slices, lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, and tons of avocado. Add some cheese if there is some left over. Dijon mustard is my favorite and much healthier for you than mayo. For around $20 you can make seven wraps. That’s less than $3 each!
Turkey Avocado Salad
Ditch the gluten and make a beautiful bed of crunchy yumminess. Throw lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, chopped up turkey slices, and lots of avocado (because you can’t help yourself) into a large Tupperware bin to take with you. Add feta cheese and croutons to add some extra flavor for only an extra $7 or so. Make your own delicious dressing with the Dijon mustard you already have, olive oil, salt and pepper, and say, “Victory is mine!” for being so healthy.
This meal is the most fun, in my opinion. Not only do you have more time to whip up a masterpiece, but you also can get a little tipsy on (inexpensive) wine in the process. Make these in bulk so you have extra leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day.
You don’t need a fancy sizzling skillet to make this awesome dish. And it only takes about 25 minutes to make. All you need is corn tortillas (or the whole-wheat wraps you already have), peppers, onions, mushrooms (which you probably already have for scrambled eggs), and chicken. Throw everything into a pan, add some fiery spices, and heat the tortillas in the oven. Add some avocado for topping (because, duhh), and rice and beans on the side if you’re very hungry. Total cost is $20 and can serve up to 3 people, or have leftovers for the rest of the week. Ole!
This meal is beyond simple. All you need is a bag of frozen vegetable, choice of meat, rice, and soy sauce (or teriyaki if you’re feeling fancy). I prefer chicken because it is the cheapest meat and lowest in calorie, but beef or shrimp would be tasty as well. It’s also easy to make stir-fry in bulk to reheat the next day. $16-$20 for the ingredients will last you for a few lunches or dinners.
Whole Wheat Pasta Marinara
Yes, indeed, when you crave eating something cheap and delicious –pasta is a given. However, it is not always the healthiest option when smothering it with Velveeta cheese or Alfredo sauce. Pay the extra dollar for whole wheat pasta and make your own sauce. Get a can of diced tomatoes and create an amazing sauce with cheap red wine (which you can choose to sip on while you cook), add lots of Italian spices, and even chicken and vegetables. You’re looking at $10 for just the pasta and a pre-made marinara sauce, or $20 for the homemade, wine sauce, chicken, etc. Either way this entrée lasts for days and is always great as leftovers.