The middle of the semester can be stressful, busy and exciting all at once. Balancing classes with extracurriculars does not always give us the time to cook up gourmet meals. And as college students we do not always have the funds to go out to eat at different restaurants every night. Here are a few quick and inexpensive meals to enjoy during your busy schedule.
Breakfast: Green Smoothie
We have all heard it: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Pressing the snooze button one too many times and rushing out the door to an early 8 a.m. does not always give us the opportunity to pack in a fast and beneficial breakfast. This green smoothie is sure to give you the energy you will need to power through those early lectures while providing nutrients and vitamins to boost your metabolism and start your day off right. Add about 1 ½ cups of spinach, ½ cup of frozen mango, ½ cup of frozen pineapple and a banana to your blender. Pour in 2 ½ cups of water, a splash of lemon juice and blend away. In seconds you will be left with a healthy, bright smoothie filled with fruits and vegetables that will nourish your body and taste buds!
Lunch: Avocado Toast
There is a reason that avocado toast has become so trendy over the past few years — it is both delicious and packed full of healthy fats that your body will thank you for. Start off with toasting 2 pieces of whole grain bread to a crisp and mash up ½ of an avocado and add a pinch of salt, dash of pepper and sprinkle of chili flakes for an added kick. Keep the pit in the other half of the avocado, cover it with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. Spread the avocado mixture onto your toast and add sliced tomatoes along with fresh greens for a crunchy texture. If you are feeling fancy, sprinkle some alfalfa sprouts on top for bonus nutritional benefits.
Snack: Fresh fruit or vegetables with hummus
Packing healthy snacks into your backpack to have throughout the day can save you from running into CVS and grabbing candies or chips when you are nearing that mid-day slump. Throw a crisp apple or pear into your bag to snack on, or pack a container of hummus with some baby carrots. Both are filled with tons of fiber which will keep you satisfied until dinner and won’t have you reaching into that bag of potato chips.
Dinner: Veggie Pasta
I have never met anyone who did not like pasta. Not only is it fast, but it also keeps you full and satisfied! Grab the pasta of your choice, my favorite is spaghetti, and add tomato sauce on top. If you are buying store-bought tomato sauce, make sure sugar is not a main ingredient. Lots of companies sneak in added sugars and corn syrup into their sauces. Next, stir in any veggies you have lying around for added fiber and nutrition such as steamed spinach, broccoli or peas. Instead of throwing meat into your dish for protein, try cooked lentils or black beans for extra vitamins and flavor.
Dessert: Banana “Nice” Cream
Banana “nice” cream is one of my favorite desserts to whip up. Simply add 2 frozen bananas and ½ a cup of water to your blender and combine until you are left with a creamy and delicious ice cream. Your blender may have trouble cutting through the frozen banana, so try freezing the fruit into small pieces to make the process go smoothly. And depending on the strength of your blender, you may need to scrape down the sides. Add some cocoa powder to give your “nice” cream a chocolatey taste, or try adding PB2 powder – a powder made from raw peanuts – to add a peanut butter flavor. You will never want traditional ice cream again after having this healthy treat!
Cooking your own meals at home not only saves you money, but is far more beneficial to your body than eating processed foods. Next time you are at the grocery store, pick up some of these ingredients to see how simple and fast it can be to eat clean. You will quickly notice energy levels rising and the improvement of your overall well-being. Incorporating some of these simple changes in your daily routine can create big results.