Posts Tagged ‘food’
Ramen noodles. Easy Mac. Frozen pizza. Pop tarts. What do these have in common? Ohhh yeah, the infamous college cuisine.
So here’s a question: Is it physically realistic or even possible to eat healthy, decent meals in college?
Before I answer…
First of all, since I lived in a dorm last year, I automatically had a meal plan, which included about one meal a day and $300 for restaurants on campus. So, I usually grabbed a breakfast bar on the way to class, ate a meatball marinara from Subway for lunch, and ate in a school cafeteria for dinner.
This year, living off campus in an apartment, I do not have a meal plan. I figured I would do the same for breakfast and lunch, but at least cook dinner. I soon learned that I barely had time for this! I spend the majority of the hours I’m actually at my apartment sleeping. I resort to fast food or restaurants on campus when I don’t have time to return to my apartment. And when I do have about 10-15 minutes to make dinner, it’s a simple pasta or some macaroni (but made on the stove, of course).
So here is my answer: It can be realistic and possible, both if you have a meal plan/live on campus or not. But it can be a challenge and may require schedule readjustments.
- If you have a meal plan or are stuck on campus:
- Go to the restaurants available that offer the healthiest choices. For example, don’t get greasy pizza when you can choose a grilled chicken salad. Also, go for water instead of soda. Saves you money, too.
- If you can, take back fruits or healthy snacks from the cafeterias. Save them for later. Again, this saves you money you could’ve spent at the vending machine full of Grippos and cookies.
- If you don’t have a meal plan or are not on campus:
- Personally, I find this more challenging because the cafeterias are more expensive than buying groceries. But cooking is more time consuming, and you have to be in your apartment or home to cook. So, the first step is spending more time in your apartment; do some homework once in a while there instead of in the library.
- Try waking up 10 minutes earlier than usual a few times a week to pack yourself lunch.
- Try taking out 30 minutes out of watching T.V. with your friends or out of nap time (which is an impossible request for me) to cook yourself some dinner, and maybe for you and your friends if you’re at their place; basically, dedicate some time in your schedule for, well, food.
- When you do cook, cook something that will last more than one day in the fridge and make a lot of it.
- Buy some healthy snacks such as nuts or fruit; even if you’re not too proud of your meals, you can try to take in some nutrients in small doses throughout the day.
And I saved the best for last: The best option, especially in the beginning and end of the school year? Find events for free food on campus!
-What are some things you do to get wholesome meals during college?
While working at your summer job it can be hard to know what to eat on your lunch break. Sometimes depending on the shift, breaks can be as short as fifteen minutes! Fifteen minutes is hardly enough time to leave and find food. If you’re like me, you don’t want to pack a quick pouch of pop tarts or even chips because you’re worried about nutrition. I’ve discovered how to turn break time into a quick nutritional pick me up, here’s how to.
The first step is to bring a bottle of water from home. There is no use in spending your hard earned cash in a vending machine for a sugary pop or energy drink. Bringing a bottle of water isn’t only free; it’ll keep you hydrated and healthy on the job. Next, pack fresh foods that you cannot find in a package! This might take you waking up five minutes earlier in order to prepare your food, but you will be saving time and money when your break arrives. I always get up early and prepare my break food while I’m in the kitchen for breakfast.
A great thing to make fresh and quick is a sandwich. Make sure you keep bread, condiments, and fresh veggies in your fridge! My sandwiches usually consist of wheat bread, turkey, cheese, fresh lettuce, onion, pickles, and occasionally a little bit of mustard. If you aren’t into sandwiches try creating a salad to go! Find some tub-o-ware, and begin the process! I usually combine lettuce and spinage in mine. Include your favorite dressing on the side to avoid soggy salad later. Add shredded cheeses, onion, tomato, peppers, and whatever else you enjoy! This is a great a fast option for a healthy main course.
When it comes to side dishes there are many options. Throw in your favorite yogurt and a spoon; include a side of fresh strawberries or grapes as well because they are easy to pack. You might also like to throw in an apple or banana for fruit; they are also very easy to pack quickly. If you feel the need for more sustenance, try adding one of your favorite granola bars as well. Try avoiding potato chips, but it you want a healthy substitute, use pretzels, animal crackers, or a couple graham crackers. Each of these substitutes provides a delicious flavor and still has the crunch effect. All of them are also extremely low in fat.
In conclusion, there are many ways to save money and eat right quickly while on the job. All it takes is a little preparation to enjoy a meal straight from your kitchen. You’ll love the feeling of eating healthy and you’ll be surprised at your energy levels throughout the day because of your good nutrition choices. Give it a try and feel the difference!
The end of the year doesn’t just mean your classes are ending, it means the end of your meal plan too. Many of us get caught realizing this too little too late. If you are in need to stretch your meal plan to keep you fueled up during final time, check out these tips:
One option is to simply add more to your meal plan. This is most likely the most expensive but most convenient route.
Does your school let you take a meal to go? This could be used to your advantage. Fill up that to go box with the two P’s, produce and protein. Most dishes can be stretched easily. Going to the grocery store or local farmer’s market for lettuce to stretch out cafeteria dishes by making them salads. Some cafeterias I have eaten at have a Taqueria or Mexican section. Filling up a to go box with shredded chicken and salsa can be stretched by making a Mexican salad in your dorm. Other dishes can be stretched out with rice or pasta. Make it healthy and look for multigrain, which sometimes only costs a few cents extra. To go boxes also leave you with more than one meal, even by an athlete’s standards. This way, using one block or meal can end up providing you with a couple meals.
Pick your meals wisely. If you have a big breakfast, could you make it to dinner with only a few snacks? Breakfast is the cheapest meal to eat in your room as you can get cereal, a large tub of yogurt, box of farina, carton of eggs (if you have stove access) or a large tin of oatmeal each of which are not costly and will last. If you factor out that you can have one meal in the cafeteria a day, make it lunch. This way you will be most full in the middle of the day, good for your budget and good for you digestion. You will need some dinner meals though. Some cheap but healthy dinner items to stock up on are rice, beans, soup, frozen veggies, and frozen dinners. A word on frozen dinners: be sure to check the Nutrition Facts to see how much food you are getting for the price. I have found that Healthy Choice meals give you more food for the same price and quality as Lean Cuisine.
If most of your meal plan is consumed by coffee (and/or tea), price out how much you can save by buying instant coffee or tea packets in bulk. I know what you’re thinking, instant coffee is nothing to your Starbucks Frappuccino. Some instant cappuccino mixes are surprisingly satisfying. General Foods International’s 100-Calorie Packs of French Vanilla Cappuccino Mix is a personal favorite and cheaper than my usual Starbucks order.
Although I am not advising anyone to go on a liquid diet, staying hydrated can keep you feeling full longer. Make sure to drink water or herbal tea throughout the day. This is especially important as there is a lot of salt in Ramen, a classic college staple food.
Just think that in a few weeks, you will be home eating as you’re used to.
Many of us have been in the unfortunate situation where we must decide between spending the last $10 on food or beer. Should I buy a six-pack and eat the week old Chinese leftovers? Or should I order a pizza and stay at the dorm tonight? These are decisions that can be avoided with a weekly trip to the grocery store and a microwave. In 5 minutes or less you can have a tasty meal, and still have enough money left over for booze. Try these suggestions:
Ingredients- Tortilla chips, shredded mild cheddar cheese (or that mozzarella that’s been in your mini fridge all month, any cheese will work). Optional: sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes.
Prep time: < 5 minutes
Directions: Place tortilla chips on a microwave safe plate, spread out chips to ensure equal cheesiness. Cover with 1 cup or more of shredded cheese, and spread out to ensure equal cheesy deliciousness. If your grocery budget allows, add lettuce and tomatoes. Microwave for 40 seconds or until cheese is melted. Add sour cream after cooking.
To take these to the next level, add ¼ pound (precooked) smoked beef sausage and ¼ cup barbeque sauce before cooking.
Ingredients- EasyMac©, bacon.
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Directions: Place 2 paper towels on a plate, add 3 to 5 strips of bacon, and cover with 2 more paper towels. Microwave 1 minute for each strip of bacon. Microwave macaroni according to directions. Cut bacon into small pieces and add to macaroni. Add salt and pepper if desired.
Ingredients: Hersheys© chocolate, graham crackers, large marshmallows.
Prep time: < 5 minutes
Directions: Place 2 graham crackers on a microwave safe plate, with 4 marshmallows on top of each. Microwave for 20 seconds. Add chocolate to top (hot marshmallows will melt chocolate).
For added taste, put peanut butter on graham crackers before cooking.
Scrambled Eggs and Bacon
Ingredients: Large eggs, bacon, cheese (optional).
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Directions: Place 2 paper towels on a plate, add 3 to 5 strips of bacon, and cover with 2 more paper towels. Microwave 1 minute for each strip of bacon. Crack eggs, discard shells, and place in a microwave safe cup. Add 1 tablespoon of milk (or 2 tablespoons for fluffier eggs) and stir for 30 seconds. Cover with a paper towel and microwave for 1 to 1 ½ minutes. Stir again and add cheese if you’d like. Add salt and pepper if desired.
Banana Nut Oatmeal
Ingredients: 1 banana, 1 oatmeal packet, milk, honey, walnuts (optional).
Prep time: < 5 minutes
Directions: Add oatmeal, ½ cup milk, 2 tablespoons walnuts (optional), 3 tablespoons honey, stir, then add peeled banana into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes. Mash banana after cooking and stir again.
Cheesy Baked Potato
Ingredients: 1 russet potato, shredded cheddar cheese (mild or sharp), butter or margarine, sour cream (optional)
Prep time: 12 minutes
Directions: Clean potato with hot water, poke with fork several times. Place in microwave on microwave safe plate for 5 minutes. Be careful, potato will be extremely hot. Turn potato over and cook for approximately 4-5 more minutes or until soft. Cut potato in half (again potato will be very hot) and mash inside of potato with a fork. Add 1-2 tablespoons of butter or margarine and spread. Add ¼ cup shredded cheese, and season with salt and pepper. Put back in microwave for 45 seconds or until cheese is melted. Add sour cream if desired.
Hot Diggity Dogs
Ingredients: Hot dogs, sliced American cheese, flour tortillas.
Prep time: < 5 minutes
Directions: Wrap up hot dogs in paper towel, microwave for 20 seconds. Be careful dogs will be hot (they’re not called cold dogs), take dogs out of microwave. Place 1 cheese slice on each tortilla, put dogs on top and roll up tortillas. Microwave for an additional 10 or 15 seconds or until cheese is melted.
Tuna Mac and Cheese
Ingredients: EasyMac©, 1 can solid white albacore.
Prep Time: < 5 minutes
Directions: Add water to fill line and cook EasyMac© according to directions on package. Add tuna and stir for 30 seconds. Add salt and pepper if desired.
Chicken Parmesan Sammy
Ingredients: Frozen chicken nuggets, tomato sauce, bread or hamburger bun, mozzarella cheese slices, Parmesan cheese.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Directions: Cook chicken nuggets according to directions on package. Spread 1 tablespoon tomato sauce on each side of bread. Cut 1 slice of mozzarella cheese in half, placing 1 piece on top of tomato sauce on each side of bread. Place nuggets on top of bread and add 1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese. Put bread together and microwave for an additional 5 seconds.
Chicken Flavored Popcorn
Ingredients: Unsalted popcorn (not butter popcorn), Ramen© noodles (chicken flavored preferably, but any flavor will work)
Prep time: <5 minutes
Directions: Pop corn in microwave. When popcorn is popped, open top and add Ramen© Noodles flavor packet (throw away noodles) and shake for 2 or 3 minutes.
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