You’ve heard the stereotype of the college student on campus subsisting almost completely on pizza delivery. Obviously, if the campus cafeteria is not serving something that you like, and you don’t have anything to cook, then take-out or delivery might be your only option. It may not be pizza, it might be Chinese or some other delivery food. It doesn’t really matter, whatever the form your delivery takes, there are likely two common denominators: It’s expensive and it’s not really very good for you. You’ve heard of the freshman 15? Many times, that is due to a change in your eating habits after you leave home. So how do you satisfy your hunger conveniently without negative consequences, both gastronomically and economically? Even if all you have access to is a small microwave and mini-fridge, there are ways.
Frozen dinners and vegetables
Many mini-fridges come with a small freezer section – large enough hopefully to hold a couple of frozen dinners or bags of frozen vegetables. You want to be selective with your frozen dinners – some of them are just as nutritionally unsound as heading to your local burger joint or eating a ton of pizza. There are, however, healthy options. These can be more expensive than other frozen dinners, but certainly not as expensive as take-out.
Another easy meal is a bag of frozen vegetables and rice. There are many varieties of frozen veggies, including mixed vegetable combinations for a variety of stir fry-type dishes. One of the best inventions of the 21st century is pre-packaged rice. You’ll find these in the rice and noodle aisle in the grocery store. They are individual cups or packages of pre-cooked rice. There are varieties – plain rice, brown rice, chicken flavored, rice pilaf, etc. All you need to do is cook the vegetables, heat up the rice, mix them together, add your favorite sauce, and enjoy!
If you have access to a grocery store nearby, there is an almost unlimited variety of soup you can buy. This is also a quick meal when you are tired of the cafeteria and don’t want to fork over another 20 bucks for fast food or delivery.
Again, in order to be healthy, it is important to look at the label when picking your soups. Many canned foods have a high sodium content, and others add a lot of sugar to their product – which packs it full of calories. In general, a soup with a smaller ingredient list is going to be healthier than one packed full of ingredients you can’t pronounce.
Salads and Sandwiches
You should have room in your mini-fridge to keep salad and items for sandwiches on hand. I already outlined one of the best inventions of the 21st century. The other one is bagged salads. They come all ready for you – an assortment of different kinds of salads that contain all of the veggies, fruits, meats and cheeses, as well as the dressing and croutons. Simply open the bag, mix the ingredients in the bowl and you have a meal. It literally takes less than a minute! Sandwiches are always a good option. Have a supply of cold cuts in your fridge, our buy some mustard, mayonnaise, dill relish and cans of tuna to make a great tuna sandwich!
In order to do your best in school, nutrition is important. Utilizing one of these options above a few times a week in lieu of the stereotypical pizza can help you stay healthy. It will also help your pocketbook and give you some needed variety in your diet.