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5 Cheap, Healthy DIY Meals for College Students

Two things may pop into your head as you smell the mesmerizing scent greasy burgers from your local joint: (1) It can’t be good for you, and (2) I don’t have the money. Luckily, all you need to conquer the craving is a microwave and a few ingredients — you can make delicious meals in your dorm or apartment!


1. Spaghetti and Meatballs

All you need for this meal is multi-grain pasta, tomato sauce and frozen meatballs. To start, you add a cup of water to your portion of pasta; then, pop the mixture into the microwave for about two to three minutes. When the pasta is soft and cooked, top it with some tomato sauce. Remove the pasta from the microwave and heat up one or two meatballs for about two minutes each. Finally, add the meatballs to the pasta and put it back into the microwave for one more minute. There, you now have yourself a delectable dinner that took less than ten minutes to make!

2. Avocado Toast

This yummy treat is an efficient and healthy pregame snack. The three ingredients are whole grain bread, avocados and lemons. First, stick two slices of bread into a toaster. While the bread is heating up, peel a soft avocado and press down on it with the back of a fork. When the avocado is of a dip-like consistency, squeeze and mix in half a lemon. If you have pepper or onion powder, add them to the avocado fusion for an extra punch. Finally, top the toasted bread with the avocado spread — that’s it!

3. Black Bean Quesadillas

These tasty quesadillas require only three ingredients: whole wheat tortillas, canned black beans and low-fat cheese of your choice. The quesadilla entails only a one-step process: simply add a quarter to a half can of drained black beans to the tortilla, and top it with a handful of low-fat cheese. Fold the tortilla over, and set it in the microwave for one to two minutes. A bite of this filling and cheesy dish will melt away your cravings for Chipotle. Feel free to add corn or spinach for some extra taste!

4. Chicken and Zucchini Pasta

Zucchini pasta is a healthy and delicious substitute for regular pasta! You can buy zucchinis in noodle-form from most grocery store. If you just have a whole zucchini, you can also make thin slices with a peeler. Once they are in noodle-form, pop them into the microwave with a cup of water for one minute. Next, if you have a kitchen, sauté the chicken breast with a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of garlic on medium heat. For an even healthier option, broil the chicken in an oven for eight minutes on one side and four on the other. The chicken is done when it has a brown-ish tint. Place the zucchini pasta into the pan with the chicken, and add a light sauce of your choice. Pesto sauce and tomato sauce are easy solutions. Mix in the sauce with the noodles and the chicken — enjoy!

5. Omelets

Eggs are inexpensive and can be used in easy recipes to stay healthy. Plus, egg whites provide a low-fat protein. You can make egg whites by cracking an egg in half and tossing the yolk from one shell to another. Feel free to sauté some frozen veggies, like spinach, onions and tomatoes, before pouring eggs into your pan. Let the omelet sit for a minute on low heat. If you can’t make an omelet, you can scramble the eggs by moving a whisk or spatula around. You can also make delicious eggs by popping this recipe into the microwave for 45 seconds!    


These five healthy recipes are all relatively easy and quick to make. Next time you’re tempted by some junk food, try making one of these delicious, healthy meals instead.

Gabby Schwartz

Wisconsin '21

Sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
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