Cheap, Fast and Nutritious: 3 Meal Ideas for the Time-Crunched College Student
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Cheap, Fast and Nutritious: 3 Meal Ideas for the Time-Crunched College Student

Between classes, jobs, extracurriculars and any number of obligations a typical college student might have, it is no wonder students do not always have time to eat healthy.

With time being the main constraint, many will often turn to microwave-ready alternatives or simply order out. Making a nutritious meal is more cost-effective and easier than it seems.

The adage is that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and while that is a point of dispute among lunch and dinner fans, it is no secret that starting the day with a hearty meal will give you a much needed boost of energy.

Five minute breakfast:
An easy, protein-rich solution for breakfast is a crack of an egg away. Turn a skillet to medium heat. While the skillet is heating, chop about one-fourth cup of onions and one-fourth cup of spinach, with one-fourth cup chopped green pepper optional, to toss in once the eggs are cooking. Once the pan is heated, add the eggs. While the eggs are cooking, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, throw in the spinach, onions and any other desired vegetables. For an extra boost of calcium, add some cheese or pour a glass of almond milk to go with the eggs.

Quick and Easy Lunch:
To avoid the dreaded “2 p.m.” feeling, it is important to provide your body with energy midday. A salad is a healthy option. Salads are a great way to experiment with different flavor combinations, and this recipe is no different. Fill a mixing bowl with lettuce, add different proportions of grilled chicken, glazed almonds/pecans, strawberry slices, and feta cheese all covered in a raspberry vinaigrette.

Dinner is usually the most labor-intensive meal, but that does not have to be the case. In the time it takes to cook a frozen pizza, you could have a healthy, homemade version. You can use flatbread or a smaller pizza crust with either a creamy, alfredo-based sauce or classic marinara. First, cover the crust in sauce. Second, add a layer of mozzarella cheese. Third, add the toppings. These can include any of the following: bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, pineapple, ham, sausage or pepperoni. Fourth, cook the pizza at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes, like any store-bought pizza. Finally, once the pizza is out of the oven, sprinkle on any combination of oregano, basil, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, or other seasonings to enhance the taste. A more nutritious, tasty pizza is worth the extra 5-10 minutes.

While these three quick meals are a viable option for healthy eating, it is important to stay vigilant. Each meal should have a wide variety of nutrients, which means lots of vegetables. Avoiding processed foods and pesticides means buying local and organic whenever available, and an easy way to counter the cost of this switch is trying to only buy what is necessary.

Harley Fredriksen

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