Broke College Student #6: 4 Ingredient Vegan Overnight Oats

Broke College Student, food, healthy

My intention for going to Target was to purchase party supplies for my friend’s birthday, but damn does Target know how to do business. I immediately walked and saw to my left their extremely aesthetic dollar section filled with pastel colors, gold calligraphy words, and vintage looking items, all for $5 or less. I always ignore the snacks or little toys, but there was a section of mason jars and glass spice containers that caught my attention, and they were only $3. How do I even pass on such a deal? Deciding that mason jars are too large for my food portions, I selected the pack of 4 small spice jars for $3 with the idea of testing overnight oats. Several years ago I made overnight oats and thought it was the grossest thing ever, until after self-reflection I realized I made “48 hour oats” rather than “overnight oats”. I despised the mushiness of the oats as I wondered why overnight oats were even a thing, like do people like eating mush? But that was my mistake. Do NOT soak your oats for over 7-9 hours, it’ll be disgusting.

Eagerly ripping over the package of 4 glass jars, I improv’d with a simple dorm-friendly, 4 ingredient overnight oats recipe. I am not certain what the measurement are since I eyeball’ed so all measurements are estimates.

4 Ingredient overnight oats (yields 1 jar):

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. microwaveable instant oats
  • 1 tbsp. nut butter, I used peanut butter in 2 jars and almond butter in the other 2
  • 1 tsp. chia seeds
  • 4 tbsp. almond/soy milk

Instructions:

  1. add all ingredients into a jar and mix
  2. place in the fridge for 7-9 hours and enjoy

Tip: since I bought 4 jars, I prepped each jar with the recipe above except the addition of the milk. I recommend to add the dry ingredients and add milk only if you will be eating the oats 7-9 hours after to prevent oversoaking and mushiness.

Note: Do not eat if it hasn’t soaked for 6 hours. I tasted my first jar after only 3 hours and I got a major stomachache.

-Jamie

Broke College Student #5: 3 Ingredient Chia Pudding

Broke College Student, food, healthy

It looks rather offputting, like a colony of fish eggs, but I swear that it’s completely animal friendly. Chia seeds are a new product to me, so I simply sprinkle some on top of my oatmeal, cereal, and wraps, where I barely noticed eating it. All I knew was that I was getting some sort of health benefit without the taste of it. However, I recently browsed the web and discovered that chia pudding is a thing! It looks extremely unappetizing, but it’s a great breakfast staple-a great swap for oatmeal/ cereal on certain days. The more jaw-dropping part was that I actually had all the ingredients sitting in my teeny tiny dorm room! How so? Because my “Broke College Student” version requires only 3 ingredients: chia seeds, almond/soy milk, and honey. If you have 30 seconds to spare, I recommend you make chia seed pudding, by pouring milk into the chia seeds along with a dash of honey.

Chia pudding:

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c. chia seeds
  • 1 c. vegan milk (I used unsweetened almond)
  • 1 tbsp. honey

Instructions

  1. combine all three ingredients together and mix thoroughly to incorporate
  2. Place in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hr. and make sure all chia seeds are submersed the the milk
  3. Top with your favorite toppings! I used banana, pumpkin flax granola, and pumpkin seeds.

There are multiple variations of chia pudding recipes online, many which require 6 + ingredients such as cinnamon or vanilla extract, but I find that honey adds enough flavor and sweetness to the pudding. The pudding is packed with flavor, fiber, protein, and antioxidants on its own, but additional toppings is recommended for a more flavorful and filling meal. You probably have some nuts, raisins, or chocolates lying around your dorm, so toss them on and enjoy the gooey, crunchy pudding in your mouth.

-Jamie

Broke College Student #4: Movie Night

Broke College Student, food, healthy

I watched Safe Haven on a Monday Night. Seriously? A Monday night? Do you even study? Yes, I do. But I had just finished an exam and my class on Tuesday isn’t until 2 so I needed to treat myself and celebrate! As the ultimate foodie, of course there were loads of food as I and a couple friends brought our food stash together to create a delicious movie night. Pizza came into our minds, but we’re all quite health conscious so we had a healthy movie night sponsored by Trader Joe’s. And by “sponsored” I just mean we bought our products from the store… they didn’t send us snacks or pay us (I WISH).

Our food stash consisted of:

  • Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger snaps
  • Trader Joe’s Raises the Bar Chewy Granola Bar W/dark Chocolate Chunks
  • Trader Joe’s Beet Hummus (This tastes like heaven) and baby carrots
  • Blue Diamon Pecan Nut-Thins
  • Baps Shayona salt + pepper banana chips
  • dark chocolate covered cashew, walnuts, and almonds
  • pears
  • oranges
  • oatmeal raisin cookies
  • “Grilled” cheese sandwiches (Made of toasted bread and provolone cheese, melted in a microwave- wasn’t soggy though)

As I snacked on every single food item and gasped at the thrilling scenes in Safe Haven, I physically felt good eating these items instead of a pizza. The total cost of all these items was close to the price of a Large Papa John’s pizza- around $12, and we had plenty of leftovers that aren’t perishable such as the granola bars, nuts, banana chips, etc. Eating healthy can be completely affordable for a college student, especially when shopping at Trader Joe’s. I highly recommend swapping chips for Nut-thins or hummus and carrots. Go to Trader Joe’s or whatever affordable grocery store nearby and get your cheap and healthy snacks for your next movie night!

-Jamie

Broke College Student #3: Ordering Groceries for the First Time Ever (it was amazing)

Broke College Student, food, healthy

fullsizerenderAlthough current millennials are fast-paced, on-the-run, and multi-tasked, I found myself to be quite the opposite of that. You see, I’m very old fashioned, and that’s the way I like to live. I’ll stretch my arms as wide as I can to hold each end of the newspapers. (wait.. millennials read newspapers??) I’ll air dry my clothes out under the sun, because why not save energy and use nature’s resources?  And I’ll spend a couple hours in a grocery store, scrutinizing each product, looking at nutrition facts, and admiring the packaging design.

However,  as a college student, living in a college dorm, I’m unable to be as old-fashioned. Yes, I still hang my wet clothes throughout the room (my roommate openly scorns me for this), and yes, I’ll read the newspapers once in a while. But with no car and no reliable source of money, it’s difficult to purchase the “luxurious” foods that I crave. Almond milk for $2.19? Chia seeds for $8.99? ALMOND BUTTER FOR $10.99? UHH NOO I DON’T THINK SO. But I’m tired of feeling lousy from cheap junk food. The sad part is that the junk food  is not even that cheap. $7.50 for 2 tacos or $5.50 for a filling burger is quite pricey. And so I went online and began to compare prices for certain products I’ve been wanting. I compared prices for chia seeds, whole almonds, almond milk, quinoa, and other healthy items, and the company that rose above all other companies was Walmart. Neither my parents nor I have ever shopped at Walmart before, but the prices for these items were extremely affordable. It was almost shocking how affordable the products were, and so I went a little ham in ordering the items, but I’d say it was the greatest $40 I have ever spent in my life.

Order cart:

  1. Great Value Whole Natural Almonds, 14 oz. – $5.98, (compare to Blue Diamond Whole Natural Almonds, 14 oz.- $7.40)
  2. Sam’s Choice Slow Roasted Creamy Almond Butter, 12 oz. -$5.98, (compare to MaraNatha no stir almond butter, 12 oz.- $15.50
  3. Healthy Cooking Chia seeds Organic bag, 16 oz.- $4.42, (compare to Nutiva chia seed, 12 oz.- $7.17)
  4. Joyva sesame tahini, 15 oz.- $3.78, ( compare to Al wadi sesame tahini, 16 oz- $7.87)
  5. LouAna 100% Pure coconut oil, 14 fl oz.- $3.68, (compare to Nutiva Organic coconut oil, 15 oz.- $8.04)
  6. Village Harvest Red Quinoa, 16 oz.- $3.58, (compare to Trader Joe’s Organic Red Quinoa, 16 oz.- $11.99)
  7. Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate chips, 12 0z.- $1.98, (this price is about the same as any other store)
  8. Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almond milk, 32 fl. oz.- $1.84, bought 4- $7.36, (this price is about the same as any other store).

TOTAL: $36.76 + Free shipping

My order arrived in 2 days and the products are just great. I have absolutely no complaints about any damage, and now I am stocked up with healthy foods that can last me for a 2+ months. On days when I want to just eat clean in my dorm, I can just grab my Walmart goods and make almond butter toast, microwave quinoa, or snack on whole almonds. This was my first experience with Walmart and I highly recommend purchasing from Walmart in-stores or online.

-Jamie

Broke College Student #2: The Ultimate 2 Ingredient Snack

Broke College Student, food, healthy

img_8075-1.jpgThere are many variations of a no-bake protein ball on the web, but I’ve never seen a 2 ingredient variation. Many of the recipes call for pricey ingredients such as medjool dates, vanilla extract, or flax seeds that college students would not typically buy, so I have tested a two ingredient peanut butter protein ball recipe. The great thing about this snack is that it is extremely filling because of the dense peanut butter packed with heart-healthy monosaturated fats, potassium, and protein mixed with rolled oats. For a snack, I would snack on one or two balls maximum (depending on how hungry I feel). Doing so prevented me from snacking on low-nutrient snacks such as potato chips or cookies, which I would eat about 3 servings of.

Ingredients:

Disclaimer: keep in mind that college students in dorms probably don’t have measuring tools, so I am approximating. Approximation is not a big deal for this recipe because you just keep adding the amount of oats to the peanut butter gradually until it fits your preferred consistency.

  1. 1/2 c. peanut butter or any nut butter
  2.  1 c. rolled oats
  3.  1 tbsp honey (not necessary, I used to add flavor:)

Instructions:

  1. put peanut butter in a microwaveable bowl and microwave for 25 seconds
  2. The peanut butter is easy to mix now, so add handfuls of rolled oats, mixing after each batch of oats.
  3. Add oats until you cannot see the whites of the oats. The oats should be brown (peanut butter). If the oats are not brown, the mixture will be too dry and the balls will not stick together.
  4. Refrigerate mixture for minimum 30 minutes. Roll into 1 tbsp. balls and place in an airtight bag or container.

-Jamie

Broke College Student: Shop Smart on Groceries

Broke College Student, food, healthy

img_8058If you’re in college and you don’t get excited about free food opportunities on campus, then you’re probably living quite the life. However, the majority of students I know control the number of times they eat out because the bills build up over time. But how do you eat well without eating the same old, same old food served at the cafeteria? First start by doing some grocery shopping. But shop smart.

A typical meal around campus costs on average about $9. If you are going to a place where you have to sit down and tip, around $15+. I didn’t realize how much I was spending by going out so often until I checked my bank statement and wish I had not checked it. I often found myself spending $9 by myself, just because I felt like eating some good food. It turns out that I can convert $9 into multiple meals and on much healthier items by doing some grocery shopping. Although I thought about how much of a hassle the trip to the grocery store would be, it really wasn’t. The time I spent going to the grocery store was probably the amount of time I would’be laid on my bed and stared at my phone. Why not doing something much more productive and fun? The closest grocery store to campus is Central Market, which is a bit pricier then your average grocery store, like Kroger. But as long as you look at the right items and compare prices, all is good. I spent a generous amount of time in the store and bought the following items:

  1. 4 small Hass avocados- $1.96;    idea: avocado toast, put in tortilla wrap, eat with hummus or salad dressing (go for a low fat one!)
  2. 1/3 lb. Raw Royal Mix (nut blend of raw cashew, pistachios, almonds, and golden raisins)- $3.25;    idea: eat as snack, topping for oatmeal, yogurt, or salad
  3. Organic long grain brown rice (32 oz.)- $2.99;    idea: this is not microwaveable rice, however I cooked it in the microwave and it worked!! The con is it took 30 min., but I popped it in the microwave, did my homework and had some delicious rice 30 min. later! Eat with frozen veggies, pickled Chinese vegetables, and meats from school cafe.
  4. Frontera chipotle pumpkin salsa (16 oz.) ON SALE -$0.91;    idea: spread in tortilla wrap, put on avocado toast, mix with frozen veggies (usually bland), eat with cheese and crackers, use as a low-fat salad dressing
  5. 1 lb. mini carrots- $0.98;    idea: eat with hummus, dressing, or peanut butter (is PB just for celery??)
  6. frozen Green beans French cut (16 0z.)- $1.38;   idea: eat with rice, throw on top of leftover pizza, place in any noodle/pasta dish
  7. frozen broccoli cuts (16 oz.) – $0.98;    idea: eat with rice, throw on top of leftover pizza, place in any noodle/pasta dish
  8. Regular flour tortilla (20 ct.)- $2.39;   spread with peanut butter and honey, make avocado tortilla, microwave with cheese for a “Broke college student” quesadilla, make wraps, cut into tiny pieces as a salad topping

TOTAL: $14.84

A total of $14.84 could possibly get you two meals from the cheapest eatery around campus, but I purchased these items because they’re nutritious and filling. The possibilities are endless for what you can do with these items! Do your own thing, be funky, be hipster, and eat your carrots with some peanut butter. How long will these items last me? Considering I eat half of my lunches and dinner in the dining halls and half in my dorm, these items could last me for about a week and a half. Of course I won’t eat these items only. I have some deli meat in my fridge and I can grab some free toppings like lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and onions from the dining cafes if I wanted to make a wrap or sandwich. I’m so excited to eat my low budget meals, and hope you will try them too!

-Jamie