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10 Healthy College Meals That Are Easy To Make

College is party central for most students, and it can be hard to focus on eating healthy while you’re there.

A combination of hangovers, a slim budget, and a lack of time creates the perfect storm where all you want to do is order takeout or snack on some chips. 

We have compiled a list of some of the best healthy meal ideas that are super simple and super cheap to make. They are all ideal for college students to make and are perfect to share with your hungry and jealous roommates. 

We have split these meal ideas up into breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This will help you plan out your meals and will make it easier for you to choose which options will work best for you. All of the recipes are vegetarian and many have vegan versions to ensure that they are accessible to most people.

Breakfast

Healthy Banana Bread Muffins

Healthy Banana Bread Muffins

Source: acouplecooks.com

This recipe comes from A Couple Cooks. The main ingredients used to make these muffins are oats and bananas, making the recipe flour-free.

This means that the nutritional content is somewhat similar to a bowl of oatmeal. These muffins also contain no refined sugar, relying on the banana and a little maple syrup to sweeten the batter. 

They are also made in the blender, meaning that there is hardly any mess to clean up once the muffins are baked. They will take approximately 35 minutes to bake in the oven. Once baked, the muffins will keep well for a few days in an airtight container. They are also very suited to home freezing. 

The recipe is vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free. To make the recipe vegan, substitute 2 flax eggs for the eggs listed in the recipe. The recipe makes 10 muffins. 

What you will need:

  • 3 large very ripe bananas (1 ½ cups mashed)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups rolled oats, plus more for topping
  • ¼ cup neutral oil (sunflower, vegetable or grapeseed)**
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon allspice (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Place all ingredients in a blender, breaking the bananas into pieces as you add them. Blend everything on high for a minute or two until a smooth batter forms.
  3. Place 8 to 9 muffin cups into a muffin tin and pour the batter divided evenly between the cups; the amount of muffins will depend on the size of the bananas and type of oats*. Sprinkle the tops with extra oats and gently press them down.
  4. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes* until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the muffin tin and allow them to cool a few minutes before serving. Store refrigerated or frozen. 
  5. Enjoy!

 

Strawberry Yogurt Parfait 

Strawberry Yogurt Parfait

Source: gratefulgrazer.com

This recipe is from Grateful Grazer. It is a great summertime recipe to make to get the most out of the seasonal produce. The recipe combines layers of fresh chopped strawberries, crunchy chocolatey granola, and dairy-free yogurt. This versatile dish can be served as a breakfast or as a quick dessert. 

The chocolate and chia seed granola used in this recipe is homemade. It sounds complex, but all the ingredients are thrown in the oven on a baking sheet and roasted for 25 minutes.

This can then be stored in an airtight glass jar for a few weeks (if it lasts that long). Alternatively, you can substitute the homemade granola for a store-bought version.

We like making this recipe using a strawberry-banana flavored yogurt, although the only limit here is your imagination. This recipe can be used as a base for a huge number of variations, so you never get bored. 

What you will need: 

Chocolate Chia Seed Granola:
  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (gluten-free if needed)
  •  cup slivered almonds
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter or nut butter of choice
Strawberry Yogurt Parfaits:
  • 2 (5.3-ounce) containers So Delicious Strawberry Banana Coconutmilk Yogurt Alternative
  • 1 cup quartered strawberries

Instructions:

Prepare the Chocolate Chia Seed Granola:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  2. Add oats, almonds, cocoa powder, chia seeds, and salt to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Stir in maple syrup and almond butter.
  3. Spread the oat mixture on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, or until the oats begin to harden.
  4. Cool granola on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes. The granola will continue to crispen as it cools.
  5. Once cooled, use your hands to break the granola into small pieces
Prepare the Strawberry Yogurt Parfaits:
  1. Add a third of the So Delicious Yogurt Alternative to the bottom of two glasses. Add a third of the granola and a third of the strawberries. Repeat until all of the ingredients are used. You may have some leftover granola to save for another use.
  2. For the crunchiest texture, serve immediately after you assemble the parfaits. If you don’t mind softer granola, tightly cover and refrigerate the prepared parfaits for up to 3 days. Store prepared granola in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.

 

Blackberry Overnight Oats

Blackberry Overnight Oats

Source: gratefulgrazer.com

This recipe is from Grateful Grazer. It is a super simple breakfast that is very quick to prepare.

It must be made the night before and stored in the refrigerator overnight. This means that all you need to do when it comes to breakfast time is pull your jar out of the refrigerator and go. 

This is the perfect breakfast for students with early lectures who are always rushing to get out of the door. It can be eaten while you are sitting in your lecture and will not disturb anyone with noise or odors.

These oats can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, meaning that you can prepare a bulk quantity to store for breakfasts. You will get so many health benefits from the oats, fruit, lemon juice, and chia seeds that will set you up brilliantly for the day.

What you will need:

Blackberries:
  • ½ cup So Delicious Unsweetened Vanilla Coconutmilk
  • 2 cups blackberries (12 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt to taste
Overnight Oats:
  •  cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 cups So Delicious Unsweetened Vanilla Coconutmilk
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted if desired (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted if desired (optional)
  • Additional blackberries for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

Prepare the blackberries:
  • Heat coconutmilk, blackberries, lemon peel, lemon juice, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook over low-medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until reduced. Remove from heat and allow to cool 5 minutes.
Prepare the overnight oats:
  • In the meantime, divide oats, chia seeds, and coconutmilk between two pint-size jars with lids. Cover and shake to mix. Uncover the jars and divide the cooked blackberry mixture between them. Stir gently once or twice to swirl the blackberries into the oat mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Top with coconut flakes, slivered almonds, and additional blackberries immediately before serving if desired (see note). Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Black Bean Breakfast Burrito Bowl

Black Bean Breakfast Burrito Bowl

Source: gratefulgrazer.com

This recipe is also from Grateful Grazer. It is called a breakfast bowl but will go down a treat no matter what time of day it is served. The base of this bowl is made from a savory oatmeal using Hearty Grains and Seeds Cereal. This is cooked in water on the hob until the correct consistency has been achieved. 

The oatmeal is topped with a savory, Mexican-inspired filling made from sweet potato, chili powder, baby spinach, and black beans.

This is then drizzled in a luxurious creamy sauce made from yogurt, cilantro, lime juice, agave nectar, cumin, salt, and pepper. You can substitute the yogurt with a dairy-free yogurt alternative for a vegan version. 

The dish is completed with a sunny-side-up egg, or a tofu scramble if making the dish vegan.

What you will need:

Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons plain unsweetened yogurt (dairy or dairy-free)
  • ½ tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon agave nectar (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper
Filling:
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • ½ cup cubed sweet potato (½ medium)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • ½ cup cooked black beans
Cereal:
  •  cup dry The Soulfull Project Hearty Grains & Seeds Cereal
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper
Optional toppings:
  • Fried egg
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Sliced jalapeno pepper
  • Chopped green onion

Instructions:

Prepare the sauce:
  • Whisk yogurt, cilantro, lime juice, agave nectar (if using), cumin, and salt and pepper. Set aside.
Prepare the filling:
  • Add grapeseed oil to a hot skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in sweet potato, chili powder, and salt and pepper. Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until sweet potato is tender. Stir in baby spinach and black beans, and cook 2 minutes, or until spinach is wilted. Turn off heat.
Prepare the cereal:
  • While the sweet potato is cooking, boil ⅔ cup water and a pinch of salt in a saucepan. Stir in Hearty Grains & Seeds Cereal and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 4 minutes, or until desired consistency is reached. If cereal is too thick or dry, gradually stir in additional water as needed.
  • Transfer cooked cereal, bean filling, and yogurt sauce to a bowl. Add a fried egg, fresh cilantro, sliced jalapeño pepper, and chopped green onion if desired.

Lunch

Watermelon Poke Bowl

Source: gratefulgrazer.com

This is a recipe from Grateful Grazer. It is inspired by the classic Hawaiian tuna poke bowl that is a staple dish across the country. Leftovers for this dish will keep well in the fridge for up to 2 days in an airtight container. 

This vegan take on poke uses watermelon to mimic the tuna. This is transformed by marinating the fruit flesh in soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, sliced scallions, and grated ginger. Allow the watermelon to soak for 30 minutes at least to get the right impact. 

The bowl should have a base of cooked rice, ideally brown to increase the fiber content.

Top with steamed and shelled edamame beans, torn up sheets of nori, and sliced avocado. This is then topped with the marinated watermelon flesh and any remaining marinade is then drizzled generously over the top. 

What you will need:

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups cubed seedless watermelon
  • 1 scallion, both white and green parts, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 cup steamed shelled edamame
  • 1 nori sheet, torn into pieces
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced

Instructions:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, and ginger until well combined.
  2. Add the watermelon and scallion and marinate for at least 30 minutes or cover and chill in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. Divide the rice into 2 bowls and add the edamame, nori, and avocado.
  4. Top with the marinated watermelon.
  5. Drizzle the remaining marinade over the bowls if desired. Serve.
  6. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Vegetarian Quesadilla with Avocado Cream

Vegetarian Quesadilla with Avocado Cream

Source: gratefulgrazer.com

This recipe is from Grateful Grazer. It takes just 30 minutes to pull together and makes use of a number of pantry staples. The quesadillas are packed full of veggies and beans too, ensuring you will meet your protein and fiber requirements for the day. 

The filling ingredients include pinto beans, spinach, cabbage, radishes, jalapenos, and Mexican cheese.

The tortillas used here are classic flour tortillas, meaning that the recipe is not gluten-free. You can substitute corn tortillas here, but your quesadillas will be smaller. 

The avocado crema is what really kicks this dish up a notch. It is made by blending together milk, fresh cilantro, avocado, Greek yogurt, lime peel, lime juice, and salt. This provides a creamy kick that you will not believe you ever lived without. 

What you will need:

  • 1 avocado
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup Horizon Organic Whole Milk
  • ½ cup plain 5% Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime peel
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Salt
Vegetarian Quesadilla:
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed (see note)
  • ½ cup chopped spinach
  • ½ cup shredded red cabbage
  • 3 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, diced (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt
  • 2 burrito-size tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican-style cheese

Instructions:

  • Add avocado, cilantro, milk, Greek yogurt, lime peel, lime juice, and salt to a blender or food processor container. Cover and blend on high 1 minute, or until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, stir pinto beans, spinach, red cabbage, radishes, jalapeño pepper (if using), chili powder, and salt.
  • Place a tortilla in a 12-inch greased skillet over low-medium heat. Add half of the bean filling and cheese to one side of the tortilla and fold the tortilla over to cover the filling. Cook for 4 minutes or until the bottom turns golden brown, and then flip and cook for an additional 3 minutes, or until both sides are golden brown and the cheese is melted. Transfer to a cutting board and slice in half if desired. Repeat with the remaining tortilla and filling ingredients.
  • Serve cooked quesadillas with avocado crema for dipping.

 

Chickpea Sheet Pan Dinner with Maple Mustard Vinaigrette

Chickpea Sheet Pan Dinner with Maple Mustard Vinaigrette

Source: gratefulgrazer.com

This recipe is from Grateful Grazer. The website states that only 7 minutes of active (hands-on) cooking is required to make this dish, ideal for any lazy college student who just wants to sit back and relax as their dinner cooks. 

The chickpeas, carrots, green beans, radishes, oil, and lemon are combined on a large sheet pan and baked in the oven for 30 minutes. The sauce is made by combining mustard, oil, vinegar, maple syrup, fresh thyme, and grated garlic. Make it as you put the veggies in the oven, to allow time for the flavors to infuse. 

This dish is great served on top of brown rice. We recommend topping it with chopped capers, chopped parsley leaves, and toasted pine nuts. This dish serves 2 people, meaning that you will have the next day’s lunch ready to go as well. 

What you will need:

Sheet Pan:
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed if canned
  • 5 carrots, halved (I used rainbow carrots)
  • 16 green beans (½ pound)
  • 6 radishes, halved (1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • Salt and pepper
Mustard Vinaigrette:
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • ½ tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (1 teaspoon)
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and position a rack in the center position of oven. Stir chickpeas, carrots, green beans, radishes, grapeseed oil, lemon juice, onion powder, and salt and pepper until mixed. Spread on a sheet pan and bake 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and chickpeas are crispy.
  2. While the sheet pan is in the oven, prepare the mustard vinaigrette. Whisk extra virgin olive oil, cider vinegar, whole grain mustard, maple syrup, fresh thyme, garlic, and salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to serve.
  3. Remove sheet pan from oven and transfer to serving bowl. Pour mustard vinaigrette on top and serve with brown rice, capers, parsley, and pine nuts if desired.

 

Dinner 

Healthy Vegan Sloppy Joes

Healthy Vegan Sloppy Joes

Source: acouplecooks.com

This recipe is from A Couple Cooks. They are a plant-based take on the classic American Sloppy Joe that everyone will love.

They are made using pinto beans and kidney beans, flavored with ketchup, tomato puree, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Celery, onions, chilli powder, garlic powder, and oregano round out the filling ingredients.

The dish takes just 20 minutes and one pot to create. Serve it on a store-bought burger bun alongside some homemade (or store-bought) coleslaw. This will give the dish a variance in texture and will make eating it much more enjoyable.

Other good accompaniments for these vegan Sloppy Joes are baked potato wedges, garlic and chili fries, a tossed leafy salad, potato salad, buttered corn, or a smashed cucumber salad. This recipe serves 4, making it perfect to make for your friends or ideal to keep as leftovers for the week.

What you will need:

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 celery rib or green onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 15-ounce can kidney beans
  • 1 15-ounce can pinto beans
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • ½ cup organic ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce (or this substitute)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Dash hot sauce

Instructions:

  1. Finely chop the onion and celery. In a skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and celery and saute until soft, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Drain the beans. Add the kidney beans, pinto beans, tomato sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, kosher salt, and black pepper to the skillet, and simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes until thickened. Taste, and adjust seasoning as desired.
  3. Serve on a toasted bun, with vinegar coleslaw or creamy coleslaw if desired.

Easy Chickpea Curry

Easy Chickpea Curry

Source: acouplecooks.com

This is another recipe from A Couple Cooks. It is a super simple weeknight dinner recipe that can be pulled together in around 20 minutes – perfect for when you have spent a day studying in the library.

This quick dish is made with fresh ingredients and no compromise on the quality. It is packed with veggies and fiber, making it a very healthy dinner option. 

The chickpeas give this dish a high protein content and the spinach boosts the iron content massively. It is loosely based on an Indian classic dish, chana masala, although this is very much a shortcut version. 

This dish is perfect when served with rice (we won’t judge if you use packet microwaveable rice here). White rice is a great option but brown rice will boost the fiber content even further. You could also serve this with naan bread or chapati. 

What you will need:

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
  • 6 cups (5 ounces) baby spinach leaves (or chopped spinach)
  • 28-ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • ¾ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • White or brown basmati rice, to serve

Instructions:

  1. If you’re serving with rice, start the basmati rice.
  2. Mince the onionMince the garlic. Peel and mince the ginger (or grate it). Drain and rinse the chickpeas.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and spinach and saute for 2 minutes until the spinach is fully wilted.
  4. Carefully pour in the tomatoes, then add the curry powder, cumin, coriander, salt, and chickpeas. Cook for 5 minutes until bubbly.
  5. Stir in the coconut milk until fully combined, then remove from the heat. Serve with basmati rice.

 

15-Minute Easy Peanut Noodles

15-Minute Easy Peanut Noodles

Source: gratefulgrazer

This recipe is from Grateful Grazer. The whole dish can be cooked in under 15 minutes and primarily uses ingredients that are typically on hand in your kitchen cupboards. It is a Thai-inspired dish similar to a pad Thai. 

The dish is based around Udon or rice noodles that can be bought in any grocery store. These are cooked and then combined with steamed edamame beans and baby spinach. 

The noodle sauce is made by combining peanut butter, rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and water. Adjust the thickness of the sauce to taste by adding either water or peanut butter. 

The dish is finished off with an assortment of garnishes. These include chopped fresh basil, cilantro, and mint leaves, roasted peanuts, lime wedges, and crushed red chili flakes.

What you will need:

Noodles:
  • 3.3 ounces (1 bundle) udon noodles or rice noodles
  • cup frozen shelled edamame, steamed (see note)
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
Peanut Sauce:
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 4 tablespoons water

Instructions:

Cook the noodles:
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook 5 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside.
Prepare the sauce:
  • In the meantime, whisk together peanut butter, rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and water in a large bowl. If the sauce is too thick, add another tablespoon of water and whisk again.
  • Transfer noodles and steamed edamame to the bowl and stir in spinach. 
Serve:
  • Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with fresh herbs, peanuts, lime wedges, and chili pepper if desired.

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