Easy and Healthy Dinner Ideas For College Students
Finding easy, affordable, and healthy dinner ideas as a college student can be difficult. From classes, to jobs, to maintaining a social life we know that life can get a bit stressful at times leading to quick meal options or substitutions. Here are some great recipe ideas that will keep you healthy, are time sensitive, and won’t break the bank this year.
#1 Dinner Ideas: The Ultimate Greek Salad
I’m sure at some point in your life you’ve eaten a greek salad, but they seem to be underrated to how easy they are to make and healthy they are for you. Over the summer I started becoming obsessed with greek salads after taking a trip to Greece. After eating them over there, I quickly realized that I could live off of these for awhile without getting sick of them. To make, start with the basics. Mini cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red onion, feta cheese, oregano, and top with olive oil. The more I began to make greek salads for lunch and dinner the more creative I started to get with them, soon realizing that almost any fruit or veggie is fair game. To spice your salad up add watermelon, peaches, olives, and balsamic glaze. The prep time is under 10 min and the meal will fill you up with your daily dose of fruits and veggies.
#2 Dinner Ideas: Energy Bowls
Similar to a greek salad, bowls are easy, nutritious, and the ingredients are endless. Start with a quinoa or brown rice base. Next add all the vegetables you want. My favorites include arugula, avocado, and sweet potato. From there you have the option of adding a protein, my go to is usually salmon. From there a little salt and pepper and whatever other seasoning you want and boom a nutritious and easy meal. Energy bowls are one of those meals that you can make with the scraps you have left in your fridge which is a great way to eliminate produce waste. These bowls can also be modified for breakfast. Start with brown rice, add an egg cooked at your choice, then add some vegetables such as avocado, and tomatoes. Top off with some cheese and salt and you have a great nutritious breakfast to start off the day.
#3 Dinner Ideas: All Things Toast
My latest cooking obsession has been toast. For a great dinner idea, modified toasts are a nutritious and easy meal. First things first you have to find a good bred. I personally like to make toast meals on rye because of the shape of the loaves they sell at Trader Joes. Next add a base coat of your choosing, something with the same consistency as avocado, or butter . From there, add a protein such as salmon or another type that lays flat. A great vegetarian dinner idea option would be burrata style or bruschetta keeping the toast tomato based. Like the energy bowls, you can add pretty much anything you have in your fridge and make it a toast. Just think of it as a half sandwich, all the ingredients just minus the extra piece of bread.
#4 Dinner Ideas: Arugula Pasta
Arugula pasta is a dinner idea I picked up while visiting Paris. Monoprix is the name of the most popular grocery store in France, that can be compared to Target here in the United States. At Monoprix, they have a wide variety of pre made food to choose from including salads, sushi, bowls, sandwiches, ect. Arugula pasta is a dish that is arugula based, making it more of a salad dinner idea rather than a heavy pasta dish. Start by boiling your preferred type of noodles and then put them in the fridge for about 20 min. This dish is meant to be cold, again acting more as a salad rather than hot pasta. After the noodles are cold, add them to a bowl of fresh arugula. Add some olive oil, mozzarella cheese, cherry tomatoes, and balsamic vinegar and there you have it the perfect dinner idea that is fast and healthy. Take it a step further by adding protein such as chicken or steak bits.
As a college student, time can be a hard thing to manage. More often than not, easy food to eat as you commute to work or class is an efficient way to use your time. Wraps are a great dinner solution for those who are always on the move. Start by finding the right kind and size of either tortilla or pita bread. Next you have to add something that will hold all the ingredients together such as a spread, sauce, or a ripe avocado. Next find come veggies to throw in and add a protein. I like to add smoked sliced salmon or prosciutto to mine. You can choose to add cheese as well. Another option for a base if you’re not a fan of bread, is a lettuce wrap. I originally got this idea from Jimmy Johns after trying their lettuce wrap sandwiches about a decade ago. Wraps are easy to grab and go to eat out the door and are a nutritious dinner option that doesn’t take too long to make.
#6 Dinner Ideas: The Sandwich Quesadilla
Last year I started eating sandwich quesadillas, combining my love for sandwiches and quesadillas. Just like a wrap you have to start with finding the right tortilla for you. put it on a pan and add some cheese. From there add anything you want! I love adding tomatoes, spinach, and mushrooms. Keep flipping the tortilla until it’s a nice golden brown in color. You can always add protein too. In addition to a dinner idea, this can also serve as a breakfast one just add an egg into the tortilla too. You can use one tortilla, fill up one side with ingredients then flip it over, or take one full one and add another full one on op depending on how hungry you are. the total prep time is a bout 10 min crating a fast, easy and healthy meal.
I am a 22 year old student at Depaul University living in the heart of Chicago