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4 Quick Meals for Every College Student

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pitt chapter.

Being back on campus can mean many things – reuniting with friends, stressing about your first week of classes and most importantly – figuring out what to eat. For me, gone are the days spent at dining halls using my meal plan, and in are the nights trying to figure what exactly to make. Instead of bustling down Forbes and Fifth in search of somewhere to use my dining dollars or spending late nights at The Eatery and The Perch, I instead find myself scouring the local grocery stores waiting for new meal ideas to arise. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much luck. However, with inspiration from Pinterest and TikTok, I have new found hope for meals that will soon be coming out of my apartment’s kitchen. If you’re like me and struggling to find something to make, here are some of my favorites that can be added to your weekly rotation!

Shun Matsuhashi / Spoon
  1. Spinach, Tomato & Mozzarella Pasta 

This is a go-to meal for me, and one that I simply can’t live without. Pasta is such a quick and easy staple to fit into any person’s schedule. Usually, I opt for either a whole-grain pasta or as a way to get my veggies in, a vegetable based pasta like cauliflower or chickpea pasta. Pairing that with some spinach, grape tomatoes, and some mozzarella (you can switch to feta), the pasta can be made in 20 minutes or less. All you have to do is boil your pasta in one pot, and then cook the spinach, tomatoes, and feta in some Extra Virgin Olive Oil. You can’t forget seasoning! Be sure to add some garlic to bring even more flavor to your pasta. Once the pasta is done, you can add it into your pan with all the other ingredients and mix! Then, you’re all ready to eat! I have to admit that I eat this pasta at least two times a week, and it works as a perfect left-over meal that is easy to reheat when needed!

2. Frozen Anything

Honestly with a college lifestyle – frozen is the way to go. When you’re in a time crunch and needing to get in a quick bite to eat, eating frozen food is always an easy option. Most of the time, I tend to either go for a ready-to-make frozen meal or use a frozen main component for a meal like chicken, vegetables, etc. Personally, I’ve been really enjoying the brands Gardein and Tattooed Chef. Both brands are Vegan, and use plant-based meat in their meals. From Gardein, I’ve been obsessed with their Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n, in which the chicken is made from plants! I usually pair that with some brown rice and broccoli making it the perfect Chinese-food inspired dinner! From Tattooed Chef, I’ve really enjoyed their Plant-Based Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla. Pairing the quesadilla with some sour cream and tortilla chips is a quick and easy lunch or dinner idea. Both brands can either be made in the microwave, stove, and oven – making them all quick meal ideas! Both Gardein and Tattooed Chef have so many other food options as well that anyone’s taste buds can enjoy!

3. Salads, Salads and Even More Salads 

If I’m being honest, I practically live off of salads. Whether it’s lunch or dinner, a salad is always a go-to meal of mine, and some of the easiest meals to make. A salad is also one of the best ways to make sure you’re getting your greens in (which are pretty important)! My favorite salad is typically a caesar salad, where you can always add some extra protein like steak, chicken, and maybe even tuna! If a caesar salad isn’t your thing, then don’t fret! There are so many other options to choose from like Greek, Italian, and maybe even Caprese. Salads are so quick to make, and can even be purchased already made, which makes it the perfect meal for any college student.

4. Eggs & Potatoes (Any Variation) 

I’ll be the first one to say that breakfast is superior, especially when eating it during every other time except the morning. Personally, I absolutely love having breakfast for dinner, which may be weird to some. However, it’s not just any breakfast, for me, it has to be eggs and potatoes. Eggs and potatoes is a classic breakfast meal, and is so quick to make. However, you like your eggs – scrambled, over easy, omelets – they are quick and easy to make, especially when you are in a time crunch. Right now, I’ve been especially into Greek omelets, which consist of egg whites, spinach, tomatoes, and feta. For the potatoes, I tend to either put them in an air fryer with some seasoning and extra virgin olive oil or cook them in a pan; both only take about 20 minutes at the most. However, eggs and potatoes can be altered however you want, depending on your taste, diet, etc. Ultimately, they are the perfect meal for any time of day! 

Eating at college can be difficult at times, especially after coming off a meal plan. Having to figure out what to eat, when to eat, and how you’re gonna cook can be daunting on top of classes and everything else. Hopefully these meals can bring some inspiration to your food rotation, and help create some new ideas that you can make in your own kitchen! 

Serena is a Junior at the University of Pittsburgh who is majoring in English Writing with minors in Creative Writing and Legal Studies. When she's not writing short stories for class, Serena loves to write for HC Pitt, listen to music, and watch Jersey Shore!