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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

One of the most difficult things to do as a student at university is cooking meals and deciding what meals to cook. It is always easy to simply opt for takeout or instant noodles, but what you might not realize is how much your food helps you to function. It gives you the energy you need to do all the work you have to do and the fun activities you want to do. That being said, it can be really difficult to find healthy recipes that are student-friendly. Most of the time recipes take hours or require obscure ingredients and tools. On top of that, no one really teaches students how to make meals from scratch. For this reason, here is a basic guide to making meals for yourself three times a day.

I’m sure as a kid you have been told at some point that breakfast is the most important meal of the day; a way to start the day off right. A thing to remember is that breakfast is important for your brain to be able to function. It needs fuel to do all the work you need it to. Opting for a higher protein breakfast can help to stay full longer and to be able to get everything done quicker. This can be anything from scrambled eggs to peanut butter toast with banana, super easy and staple breakfast foods. If you like the workout in the morning, opting for something like a protein smoothie is amazing! Adding some spinach and greens to that smoothie is a great way to get your veggies in and you will not even taste it. If you want easy pancakes but do not have any mix, try one banana mashed up, add 2 eggs and mix. Fry it up and you are good to go for a healthy breakfast. One thing that is super fun when using basic recipes is you can mix and match as you please. If you do not have one ingredient for a smoothie, you can substitute it for something else. Oatmeal is another great option to mix and match with whatever you have lying around because you can put pretty much anything in oatmeal and it will taste good.

 Lunch can be harder for students because classes can run at strange times. The thing to remember when going for quick and easy lunches is to either pre-plan or go for something simple. There are many students who can prepare meals days in advance but some of us are just not built that way and that is okay. A basic way to make a lunch is to pull from different food groups, this helps to ensure a balanced meal while keeping it simple. Start with a carb, this can be rice, bread, quinoa, pasta or any other thing you like. Once you have decided on the base,  try adding a protein; chicken, packed cold meats, fish (if you want to get fancy!), tofu, beans or any other protein you like. Add some veggies, this can be either on the side or in the sandwich/pasta/salad. And finally do not forget to add some sauce or spice, whether it be your favourite dressing or something else that you like. Despite what you may see on the internet, the taste is equally if not more important than aesthetics.

Dinner is, arguably, one of the hardest meals to make. By the end of the day, students are exhausted and cooking is the last thing anyone wants to do. If you want to make it quick and easy, make extra of whatever you made for lunch and save it for dinner. One easy thing to do to solve the issue of what to make for dinner is to make extra rice or pasta and mix and match recipes for a couple of days. This way you are getting different meals but doing half the work. Tortilla pizza is also a staple that is great for using up extra ingredients and is always super delicious.

When you lose inspiration about what to make, do not fret! The internet always comes to the rescue! Here are some of my favourite Tik Tok creators that show easy and quick meals for students: @kwo.owk, @han.jarr, @collegechefron, @scheckeats and honestly, a lot of fitness influencers have super easy and healthy recipes on their Instagrams as well. Some of my favorite fitness influencers to go to for food inspo include @marillewellyn, @nutrientmatters and @ilsifit. 

Overcomplicating cooking can be the reason many students do not like to cook. Simple recipes that are easy, cheap and tasty are often the best ones. Being able to throw things into a bowl and call it a meal is a vital life skill that all university students must master at some point and I hope that this guide has helped you on your journey. Food really is the fuel you need to achieve your goals so do not forget to feed yourself and give yourself time to make food that your body deserves. 

Her Campus at Wilfrid Laurier University
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