Every day, about three times a day, our bodies yell out a cry from deep inside that asks, “So, what are we eating today?”
I get it, when you’re in college you just don’t have the time to think about what you’re going to put in your mouth two hours from now, let alone the next day.
When you’re walking around campus hopping from class to library to printing lab, making a quick stop in Chick-Fil-A sounds a whole lot easier than packing a lunch.
If you’re anything like me, on those days where you do pack a lunch, it oftentimes disappears far before lunch time, and before you know it you’re hungry and eyeballing a chicken sandwich all over again.
To protect my wallet and my body from my fast-food-loving wandering eye, I’ve found meals that I like to prepare to eat at home and take with me to school that are quick, cheap and filling to accommodate my busy schedule.
While we all love to ignore it on those busy days, deep down inside we know breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.
When you’ve got an early start to your day with 8:30 a.m. classes like I do, you need some fuel to get your brain working.
If I know I have an early start to my next day, I will prepare two hard boiled eggs at night and put them in a container in the fridge to eat in the morning.
With the boiling work already done, I’ve got eggs ready for me to eat when I wake up, and all I have to do is pop a slice of toast into the toaster, pour my orange juice and be on my way.
With my protein already prepared, making breakfast takes me at most five minutes and very little brain power if I’m running on little sleep.
The eggs, toast and orange juice keep my body feeling full, fueled and ready to go until it’s time for coffee and a snack.
Unlike the rest of the world, I don’t like to have my coffee as soon as I wake up.
I wait until after my morning class and get settled at my internship before brewing a cup.
Right when I need an extra bit of brain power to get the creative juices flowing, I click that Keurig button and let the caffeine course through my veins.
For me, lunchtime is when the temptation to eat out is strongest.
To combat the lunchtime cravings, I’ve found that consistent snacking is the easiest and cheapest way for me to stay full throughout the day.
For lunch, I like to pre-prepare fruit, veggie chips, dip, vegetables and lunch meat.
Some of my favorite items to pack for lunch and snacking are grapes, sweet potato chips, artichoke dip or hummus, carrot sticks and lunch ham.
Some of my favorite items for lunch are the Trader Joe’s Gluten Free 3 Seed Sweet Potato Crackers, the Trader Joe’s Chunky Artichoke & Jalapeño Dip and the Sabra Roasted Pine Nut Hummus.
Along with keeping me and my wallet full, there is plenty of research that states that eating small meals or snacks regularly throughout the day, rather than three large meals, keeps your metabolism working better and processing food more smoothly.
When dinner time comes around and I finally get home after classes and my internship, the last thing I want to do is slave over food in my kitchen.
One of my favorite meals to make on those tired afternoons is grilled chicken and sweet potato fries.
I buy the chicken tenderloins and sweet potato fries in a frozen bag from Walmart and keep it stored until it’s time for use.
The morning before I leave for school, I will take the chicken pieces I want to use and let it thaw throughout the day so it’s ready for me to throw in the pan when I get back in the evening.
When the time comes, I pour a little olive oil into the pan, put the stove over medium-to-high heat, throw in the chicken tenderloins and sprinkle some Adobo and Weber Roasted Garlic and Herb Seasoning to give it some flavor.
Thanks to my handy air-fryer, I pour in my desired amount of sweet potato fries, press the start button and have perfectly crispy fries ready in 14 minutes with zero oil or grease involved.
This meal fulfills my never-ending chicken tenders and fries craving in a quick, cheap and healthy way.
It took me until my senior year of college to finally find an eating plan that worked for me, but now that I have, I am saving more time, cash and calories than ever before.
College eating doesn’t have to be a penny toss between ramen noodles or Chick-Fil-A; with the right preparation, you can be snacking your way through a successful day.
For a more in-depth view of what I eat in a day in college, you can check out my YouTube video all about it!