Healthy meals on a college student's budget

We have some advice about eating healthy, even when you can't really afford it.

KUSA - Let’s talk about food.

We all would like to afford organic and healthy foods but sometimes a busy life and a tight budget does not help. As a nutrition student, eating healthy isn’t always the easiest alternative but with planning and practice it can be made easy.

Eating healthy can be possible even for busy college students on a tight budget. Here are my top three healthy meal options I eat  - grab and go or foods that can be prepared ahead of time and reheated. It’s all about conserving time while we are on the go!   

Breakfast – Think of protein in the morning, such as eggs or beans. Protein foods will last you longer throughout the day. Eggs are easy to make in the microwave or in a pan. Bake eggs in a muffin tin. It’s just eggs, veggies of your choice, meat (if desired), cheese, or add some shredded potatoes. This recipe is made for several eggs at once with some veggies. Freeze them and then warm them up in the morning. Another idea is whole wheat cherry muffins with wheat germ for extra fiber, and Greek yogurt to increase the protein.  They are a pretty nutrient dense little muffin!  Eat them for breakfast, snack, or anytime! If there is no time, make a quick smoothie with milk, banana, cocoa powder and a splash of coffee.

Lunch – Get a carb to get you moving and thinking. A tortilla wrap or a burrito that is easy to pack and eat on the go. A carb made of whole grain midday can help with hunger. A salad with a cold protein such as cooked chicken, turkey, tuna or hard-boiled egg and adding a carbohydrate is another option.

Dinner – You get home and you have homework, papers and more studying to do for the next day. When under stress, people tend to overeat, so try to get in as many fruits and raw veggies. Dinner is protein and veggies. Chicken with freekeh, veggies (peppers, broccoli, kale) and then seasoned with cumin, oregano, basil.  It’s kind of like a skillet meal, it’s super fast to make and reheats really well. Freekeh is a super grain that has more protein than quinoa as well as more fiber. It is low on the glycemic index as well! 

Snacks - Cinnamon apples, string cheese with crackers, carrots, fruits and raw veggies. These are real fast food ideas that are easy to pack and take to campus!  

About one in four college students face some type of food insecurity. Food insecurity means that you don’t know when and if there is going to be a next meal. There are food pantries located on most college campuses. At Metropolitan State University of Denver, it's in the Tivoli building. 

Stephanie Wiese is a nutrition student at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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