Eating and/cooking healthy in college can be very difficult thing to do between having a busy schedule, being on a tight budget, and not knowing how to prepare your own meals. Michelle, a chef friend of ours, shared some tips and recipes to help your college student prepare some healthy meals for themselves.
“I would say that probably a slow cooker of some sort would be the best and safest/easiest thing to have! There are tons of great Slow Cooker cookbooks out there and Pinterest of course has great ideas!”
Michelle also shared a list of “staple groceries” to keep in the pantry/fridge so there is always something to cook:
• Diced Tomatoes
• Tomato Sauce
• Any Kind of Bean that you like
• Sweet Corn
• Chicken Broth
• Brown Rice
• Organic Milk (Lasts longer)
• Lean Protein
• Diced Fresh Veggies - Celery, Onion, Carrots, Bell Pepper
• Minced Garlic
“My two fav go-to recipes for a slow cooker would be Cilantro Lime Chicken and Turkey Bolognese. Both can be served in a taco shell, wrap, lettuce wrap or even just over a bed of lettuce as a salad, over Quinoa for a easy bowl meal OR mix leftovers in with some scrambled eggs and top with a little sour cream and you have a yummy brunch! Both can be pre mixed in ziplock bags and frozen, then you pull out the day you want to cook and pop in the crock pot!”
Cilantro Lime Chicken
• 2 Pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast. (If you don't want to mess with raw chicken, you can buy a pre-cooked whole
• 2 Packets Low Sodium Taco Seasoning
• 1 Fifteen Ounce Can of Black Beans - (I get the generic organic kind for the grocery store, so there is less sodium) - Drained and Rinsed
• 1 Fifteen Ounce Can of Sweet Corn (I get the generic organic kind for the grocery store, so there is less sodium) - Drained and Rinsed
• 1 Cup Salsa (Use your Favorite! I like
• 2 Limes
• 1/3 Cup Fresh Minced Cilantro (or you can sub 1/4 cup freeze dried)
Put Chicken in First and then top with the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT Cilantro. Cook on Low for 6-7 Hours or High for 4-5 Hours until chicken is fully cooked and tender. Shred Chicken with a Fork. Add Fresh Cilantro and Mix. This can be served in a taco shell, wrap, lettuce wrap or even just over a bed of lettuce as a salad, over Quinoa for a easy bowl meal OR mix leftovers in with some scrambled eggs and top with a little sour cream and you have a yummy brunch! Leftovers can also be frozen, if not eaten within 7 days of making the recipe
Turkey OR Bison Bolognese Sauce
• 1 Twenty Eight Ounce Can Organic Tomato Puree
• 1 Six Ounce Can Organic Tomato Paste
• 1/2 Cup Low Sodium Organic Chicken Broth
• 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
• 2 Teaspoons Dried Italian Seasoning
• 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
• 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
• 3 Cloves Fresh Minced Garlic (or 3 Teaspoons)
• 1 Diced Fresh Bell Pepper (or 1/2 cup if you buy it already diced)
• 1 Small Onion Diced (or 1/2 cup if you buy it already diced)
• 1 Pound Ground Turkey or Bison (whatever lean ground protein you prefer works here)
Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker EXCEPT the Ground Turkey. Mix ingredients. Break Ground Turkey into "cubes" and add the sauce spread out around the crock pot. Do not Stir.
Cook on Low for 6-8 Hours
Once the sauce is done, use a fork to break up the ground turkey into smaller chunks.
Server over Whole Wheat Pasta, Zoodles, Quinoa, Brown Rice OR Spaghetti Squash!
Bonus Recipe: Microwave Spaghetti Squash "noodles"
Use one medium Spaghetti Squash. Use a sharp knife to pierce the squash all the way to the center, in 4 or 5 places to allow the squash to steam. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Use an oven mitt and turn the squash 180 degrees. Microwave on high another 5 minutes or until squash is soft to the touch. Remove from microwave and let it set for 5 minutes (it will continue to steam). Once it rests cut the ends off the squash, then cut it lengthwise. Allow to cool another 2 minutes. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and discard them. Use a fork to then "fluff up" your "noodles". Top with salt and pepper and your favorite sauce! Great as a snack just topped with Salsa!
Ready-made Meals and Meal Kit Services
I’m sure you’ve heard of Hello Fresh, Blue Apron and Purple Carrot. This is another convenient, healthy option for college students; the boxes with ingredients and recipes are delivered directly to their front door!
I know your student is busy, but there is always another option besides fast food, junk food, or skipping meals all together. Next time your're in town, check to see if they are keeping their pantry/fridge stocked...you might need to take them on a trip to the grocery!