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overview shot of Chinese takeout boxes with chopsticks, lo mein noodles, snow peas, red peppers, and carrots

College Cookbook

February 17, 2018

Ah, college food: who doesn’t love over-salted, greasy, and pre-cooked questionable meat? Somehow, even the salads that aren’t tasteless seem to be loaded with added fat and sugar, especially if you don’t get dressing on the side. Thankfully, there are still quick and healthy food options you can try—if you’re willing to break in that unused stove top in your dorm’s kitchen.  

Breakfast:

1. Cereal and Fruit

Rotating photos of different cereals in a bowl with milk

Cereal is a classic, but classics stick around for a reason. Not every cereal is good for you (i.e. Frosted Flakes and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, unfortunately,) but there are some that have health benefits. Try Honey Nut Cheerios or look in the organic section of your grocery store, and then add some berries or a chopped banana for added nutrition.

2. Toast with a Kick

Motivational Toast: a piece of bread popping out of the toaster saying motivational phrases.

Instead of loading your toast up with butter, try plain yogurt with smoked salmon. It may sound weird, but it’s surprisingly light and tangy, and provides a great source of protein in the morning. Add condiments, like black pepper, or toppings, like chopped onions, for additional taste.

3. Yogurt, Grapes, and Granola…Oh My

Bowl of yogurt with granola, oranges, grapefruit and cereal added.

Embellish your usual plain non-fat yogurt with granola and fruit. Granola contains a lot of fiber and iron, while sweet fruit like seedless grapes, strawberries, and blueberries contain a lot of vitamins. Not to mention, they taste delicious and dress up any meal.

4. Egg Sandwich

Egg sandwich with yolk dripping down side

This meal is great because it can be personalized for your taste. Toast an English muffin, bagel, or your favorite type of bread. Meanwhile, either scramble or fry an egg and place it between the bread. Add extra items like cheese and ham to make a homemade NJ-style Taylor ham, egg, and cheese sandwich, or add salami, spinach, and other veggies for the perfect breakfast sandwich.  

5. Smoothies!

Pouring purple smoothie into cup

The all-time favorite: breakfast on the go! Smoothies are a perfect choice for those with a busy morning. Simply pre-slice, pre-pack, and pre-refrigerate some of your favorite fruits the night before (i.e. strawberry banana, strawberry banana blueberry, mango pineapple, mango banana, blueberry raspberry, and mango banana strawberry) in a jar. Add spinach leaves, flaxseed, and whatever other vitamins you need to start your day into the jar filled with fruit. The next morning, simply mix in a blender and drink!

Lunch:

1. Quinoa and Lentil Salad

Bowl of quinoa mixed with fruit and vegetables

Nothing says healthy like food that’s difficult to pronounce, so this salad is perfect. Open a can of brown lentils, drain, and pour about half into a bowl (store the other half in the refrigerator for later). Cook about a cup of quinoa for 10 minutes, then add to the lentils. Add fruit or your favorite seasoning to flavor, and enjoy!

2. Apple and Cheese Sandwich

Apples

This sandwich is tastier than it sounds. Spread honey mustard over two slices of your favorite bread. Next, take a fresh apple and thinly slice it, and then take the sliced pieces and place them on the bread. Add some cheese and ham, and then panini press the sandwich. If you don’t have a panini press machine, you can take a skillet, place it over medium heat, and add either butter, a light amount of olive oil, or cooking spray to the skillet and fry the sandwich lightly on both sides. Either method will make the ingredients blend together and melt in your mouth for a crisp afternoon meal.   

3. Hummus Sandwich

Knife spreading hummus on bread

What can I say, sandwiches are a person’s best friend…or best pre-packed lunch option. Take some bread and spread both sides evenly with hummus. Next, add a dash of black pepper, some sliced cucumber, spinach leaves, salami, and cheese. Cut in half and enjoy right away, or pack to snack on later.

4. Pizza Muffins

Pepperoni pizza

Who doesn’t love pizza, and better yet, who doesn’t want pizza for lunch? Make your own pizza muffins by taking an English muffin, cutting it in half, and spreading each side with a store-bought or homemade pizza sauce. Sprinkle each side with some cheese, and cook under a griller, or bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes. Add your favorite pizza toppings as needed.

Dinner:

1. Vegetarian Burritos

Burrito being unwrapped

Take a spinach or whole-grain pizza wrap and place on a plate. Simply add black pepper, half a can of black beans, your favorite cheese, and salsa to a bowl and mix the ingredients. Next, add the mixture to the wrap, fold the wrap, and place the wrap in a skillet on medium heat until crispy. For added taste, mix in rice and guacamole.

2. Chicken and Veggie Stir-Fry

Vegetables being added to a stirfry

Place a small amount of olive oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. Add some veggies and a small amount of soy sauce and stir. Add pre-cooked chicken or tofu and mix together until crispy, then enjoy!

3. Spaghetti and Meatballs…with a twist

Lady and the Tramp spaghetti scene

Buy pre-cooked meatballs, and spinach or whole-grain linguine or spaghetti. Boil the pasta for 10 minutes, and simultaneously cook the meatballs in a skillet for 10 minutes as well. Drain the pasta, add to a bowl, then add the meatballs. Add some basil pesto sauce instead of marinara sauce, then eat and enjoy.

4. Basil-Pesto Pizza Wraps

Pesto ingredients in a food processor

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Take a spinach wrap and place it on a plate. Spread evenly with basil pesto sauce and your favorite cheese. If you choose to, you can add pepperoni or your preferred pizza topping. Lastly, cook the wrap in your oven for 5 minutes, or until the cheese bubbles.

Bonus—Dessert!

1. Smoothie Ice Cream

Strawberry smoothie with whipped cream on top

If you’re not a smoothie person in the morning, then this is the perfect sweet late-night snack for you. Chop up a banana, and freeze until semi-solid (at least 1 hour). Next, blend together strawberries (or blueberries,) and add ½ cup non-fat milk and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Add the banana, blend, and pour mixture into a container. Smooth it out, and freeze for one hour. If you want to feel like a kid again, pour the mixture into an ice-cube tray, add popsicle sticks, and freeze.