Healthy & Easy Meals: Great for College Students or Busy Professionals!

Earlier this week, I got a comment from Monica – she’s a college student and doesn’t have much time, but wanted some easy, healthy recipes that she could use during the week. I thought it was a great question – and would apply to anyone who is super busy and just doesn’t have more than 15 minutes to spend in the kitchen. So here are 5 simple, healthy recipes: one for each night of the week — and you only need to buy 5 vegetables in order to make them! You can just use the same veggies in different ways throughout the week, the rest of the ingredients should be pantry staples that you have on hand. The other great thing is that each of these meals is super balanced with veggies, whole grains and protein, and none of them should run you over ~400 calories. Enjoy!

The Secret: Cut all the veggies when you buy them or have extra time (like on a Sunday). That way, when it comes to actually making the weeknight meals, all you have to do is throw the ingredients together and you’ll be done in under 15 minutes!

So here are the 5 veggies you need:

  1. Bell peppers – any color will do – just get your favorite (red/yellow/green/orange – they’re all good!)
  2. Tomatoes – I like roma tomatoes the best, but again just get your favorite
  3. Baby spinach, pre washed & bagged
  4. Garlic
  5. Red Onion

Monday – Egg White Scramble and Toast


Ingredients you will need:

  • Bell peppers, red onion, spinach, tomatoes (chopped)
  • 3 egg whites (note: you can add a pinch of the yellow of one of the eggs if you like the flavor)
  • 1-3 tsp 1% milk
  • Cooking spray
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Whole Wheat bread
  • Ketchup or other condiments that you like with your eggs

Directions:

  1. Heat a large non-stick frying pan to a setting just above medium.
  2. In large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk and salt. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes. Add veggies to the mixture.
  3. Spray the pan with cooking spray. Add the eggs mixture to the pan. Do not stir immediately. Wait until the first hint of setting begins. Start the Martha Stewart scrambling technique (“Using a spatula or a flat wooden spoon, push eggs toward center while tilting skillet to distribute runny parts.”)
  4. Continue this motion as the eggs continue to set. Break apart large pieces as they form with your spoon or spatula. You will come to a point where the push-to-center technique is no longer cooking runny parts of the egg. Flip over all the eggs. Allow the eggs to cook 15 to 25 seconds longer. Transfer eggs to serving plates. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve with ketchup and two slices whole wheat toast.

Tuesday – Veggie Quesadillas with Refried (or whole) Black Beans


Ingredients:

  • Bell peppers, red onion, spinach, tomatoes (chopped)
  • Low fat shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • Refried black beans or whole black beans
  • Taco seasoning
  • Cooking spray
  • High fiber tortillas (either whole wheat or Mission low carb tortillas will do – each one should have ~120 calories and over 3g fiber)
  • Salsa

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a small pan, heat beans over medium heat. Add taco seasoning to beans, stir until mixed through and heat for about 5 min until beans are cooked through.
  3. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Lay tortillas out on the baking sheet. On each tortilla, spread 1/4 cup refried beans (or whole beans), 2-3 Tbsp cheese, and veggies.
  4. Fold tortillas over, and broil on low for 10 minutes or until tortillas are browned and crispy on top. Serve with salsa & enjoy!

Wednesday – Quick Pita Pizzas


Ingredients:

  • Bell peppers, red onion, spinach, tomatoes, garlic (chopped)
  • Pizza Sauce
  • Whole wheat pita pockets
  • Shredded cheese (fontina, parmesan, mozarella – just get your favorite – any one will do!)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • On each pita pocket, spread pizza sauce, garlic, veggies, and 1/4 cup cheese (max) on top.
  • Broil in the oven for 5-10 min or until pita pockets are toasted through and cheese is melted & bubbling.

Thursday – Healthy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches


Ingredients

  • Whole wheat bread (I like Oroweat Double Fiber bread)
  • Tomatoes, Onions, Spinach, Garlic – chopped
  • Your favorite cheese – I like Fontina or a Mild Cheddar
  • Ketchup
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. Heat a pan over medium high heat (or if you have a grill pan/panini press – warm that up)
  2. Layer one slice of bread with a couple thin slices of cheese (shouldn’t be more than 1oz)
  3. Top with healthy serving of all veggies, salt & pepper and the second slice of bread (make the sandwich!)
  4. Spray pan / grill pan / panini press with cooking spray
  5. Grill on both sides until crispy and cheese is melted. Serve with ketchup!

Friday – Asian Stir Fry


Ingredients

  • Bell peppers, red onion, spinach, tomatoes, garlic (chopped)
  • Soy sauce or bottled Thai Red Curry Sauce
  • Tofu
  • Cooking Spray
  • Minute brown rice

Directions

  1. Cook brown rice according to package directions, set aside
  2. Heat a pan over medium-high heat, spray with cooking spray
  3. Saute tofu in the pan with soy sauce until lightly crispy on the outside. Set aside.
  4. Saute veggies and garlic until tender, add soy sauce half way through cooking. Add tofu back to the pan, add 1/4 cup of thai red curry sauce (or other low calorie asian sauce) if you like – towards the end of cooking
  5. Serve with brown rice.

Thanks Monica for a great comment that inspired this post! And a quick note for you: For an easy Indian Meal – check out this recipe – super easy Channa Masala that will taste great!

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13 Comments

Filed under Be A Picky Eater (Tips!), Picky Cooks (Favorite Recipes), Picky Tips (Healthy Living/Eating)

13 responses to “Healthy & Easy Meals: Great for College Students or Busy Professionals!

  1. I love easy meals, especially now that my summer break has come to an end and I am back to teaching full time. Definitely holding on to these meals…thanks for sharing!

  2. This is great! I’m going to try to start eating healthier. I feel like this is often difficult as a college student constantly on the run when it’s so easy to stop at McDonalds. Although I personally love to cook & usually make time for it, some simple healthy meals are a great idea for the days of the week where my life is more hectic

  3. Everything looks delicious, especially the grilled cheese! I love the idea of pita pizzas, too! Thanks for sharing!

  4. monica

    thanks so much anjali! everything looks so good and I love all the variety! I can not wait to try these out as soon as the semester starts!

  5. Pingback: Cooking For Good Health – Paleo Cook Books « shiyan

  6. I have a 14 year old Freshman in High School who is just beginning to learn to cook, the first 3 on this list will work wonderfully for him, and he can do it all himself. Thanks for getting us thinking!

  7. Pingback: Paleo Cook Books – Healthy Meal Guide « shiyan

  8. Love all of the ideas. Cooking for one can be so hard. I always end up throwing out veggies becuase I can’t eat them all. Thanks for the great post!

  9. These all look delicious. I work late a lot during the week, so these would be great to whip up when I got home or even to take with me! Thanks for the great ideas!

  10. anjalim

    Thanks everyone for the comments! I’m so glad these recipes are helpful! 🙂

  11. hhummm….Yummy
    Everything looks delicious
    thanks for your sharing

  12. Pingback: Healthy & Easy Meals: Great for College Students or Busy Professionals! (via The Picky Eater: A Healthy Food Blog) « …

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