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
- 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!
Although 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.
- Great Value Whole Natural Almonds, 14 oz. – $5.98, (compare to Blue Diamond Whole Natural Almonds, 14 oz.- $7.40)
- Sam’s Choice Slow Roasted Creamy Almond Butter, 12 oz. -$5.98, (compare to MaraNatha no stir almond butter, 12 oz.- $15.50
- Healthy Cooking Chia seeds Organic bag, 16 oz.- $4.42, (compare to Nutiva chia seed, 12 oz.- $7.17)
- Joyva sesame tahini, 15 oz.- $3.78, ( compare to Al wadi sesame tahini, 16 oz- $7.87)
- LouAna 100% Pure coconut oil, 14 fl oz.- $3.68, (compare to Nutiva Organic coconut oil, 15 oz.- $8.04)
- Village Harvest Red Quinoa, 16 oz.- $3.58, (compare to Trader Joe’s Organic Red Quinoa, 16 oz.- $11.99)
- Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate chips, 12 0z.- $1.98, (this price is about the same as any other store)
- 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.
There 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.
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.
- 1/2 c. peanut butter or any nut butter
- 1 c. rolled oats
- 1 tbsp honey (not necessary, I used to add flavor:)
- put peanut butter in a microwaveable bowl and microwave for 25 seconds
- The peanut butter is easy to mix now, so add handfuls of rolled oats, mixing after each batch of oats.
- 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.
- Refrigerate mixture for minimum 30 minutes. Roll into 1 tbsp. balls and place in an airtight bag or container.
If 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:
- 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!)
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 1 lb. mini carrots- $0.98; idea: eat with hummus, dressing, or peanut butter (is PB just for celery??)
- 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
- frozen broccoli cuts (16 oz.) – $0.98; idea: eat with rice, throw on top of leftover pizza, place in any noodle/pasta dish
- 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
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!
I recently tried a fusion spring roll called Chicken Mango roll at a Vietnamese restaurant which had rice vermicelli, panko-crusted chicken, carrots, and lettuce served with a creamy mango sauce. The dish was $10, which is a bit pricey for a spring roll, but it was absolutely delicious and the sauce just really made the entire dish! I believe that the sauce is a combination of mango, mayonnaise, butter and mustard.. something like that, but I searched online for “Spring roll mango dipping sauce” and nothing alike the restaurant’s comes up. Personally, I think that a spring roll isn’t a spring roll without the sauce, so I decided to make my own spring roll at home… and disclaimer: Not Authentic at all, but 100% DELICIOUS. I began to make the spring roll, realizing that I lacked so many of the ingredients that I needed, but I made use of what I had and the outcome is absolutely the bomb!!!
- 4 rice papers
- 1/3 c. roughly chopped salmon (I used store bought brown sugar salmon from Costco)
- 1/2 sprig spring onion
- 1 c. roughly chopped iceberg lettuce
- 1 avocado
- 1/4 c. mayo
- 1 tbsp. barbecue sauce
- 1 tbsp. asian hot mustard sauce
- soak the rice papers in water for about 4 seconds
- place some lettuce on the bottom, then add spring onion, avocado, and salmon
- Roll the paper by folding the right and left in, and roll it up like a burrito.
- Combine mayo, barbecue sauce, and mustard sauce
I came up with this sauce which pairs so well with the spring roll because the smokiness of the barbecue sauce and salmon pairs really well together. Ingredients that I wished i had were rice vermicelli noodles and carrots, but skipping out on the rice vermicelli makes the dish a lighter fare.
I have made this decadent blueberry cake twice, and every time the entire cake disappears within 2 days. I eat a couple of slices and then friends and family members devour it EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Cutting the fat content as compared to a regular cake by 1/2 makes this cake more guilt-free, and also it has blueberries in it… so that makes it more healthy? mmm yeah, that’s my mentality.
- 1 c all purpose flour
- 1/2 stick margarine (softened)
- 1/2 c. vanilla greek yogurt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 c sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 c. blueberries
- sift the flour and set aside. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add the egg.
- In another bowl, combine all dry ingredients and pour into the butter sugar mixture.
- Place the mixture into a round cake pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place blueberries on the top, pushing them halfway down so the top of the blueberries are visible.
- Bake for 30 minutes (more or less depending on the oven).
- I then finished off the cake with sifted powder sugar.
So, this cake can be quite pricey at grocery stores, but you can make it at home with that secret greek yogurt ingredient! Make this cake and wow your guests and family members!
Muffins are notorious for being extremely oil. But all that oil is what makes a muffin so moist and decadent. A dry crumbly muffin is nothing enjoyable. If I could eat a muffin everyday for breakfast, I would! However, all the sugar and fat is not a good boost to start the entire, tedious day. Because of my love for muffins, I came up with a guilt-free blueberry muffin recipe! Low in fat, low in cholesterol, low in sugar; it is the ultimate healthy “unhealthy” food. The secret to the healthiness of these muffins is to use an egg and fat substitute. I have swapped the canola oil for equal parts applesauce and the egg with a flax egg substitute. The substitutions are unnoticeable and no one will know that they are actually so much healthier!
Blueberry Muffin Recipe:
- 2 1/2 c. pancake mix
- 1/3 c. sugar
- (1 tbs. ground flax + 3 tbs. water) = 1 egg
- 2/3 c. water
- 1/4 c. applesauce
- 1 1/2 c. blueberries
- In a small bowl, combine pancake mix and sugar
- In a large bowl, combine flax mixture, water, and applesauce
- Fold in dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Fold in blueberries.
- Bake muffins for about 15 minutes
- Optional: Serve with pancake syrup!
Spice up a stodgy ham and cheese sandwich with different ingredients that add a kick of flavor. On days when I don’t have much time for lunch, I fix myself a simple ham and cheese sandwich. It gets rather routine though. I’m pretty much tired of the same flavors over and over. But, one can easily boost up the nutritional value and flavors with simple ingredients such as avocado and turkey bacon. Today’s lunch consisted of my typical sandwich bread and cheddar cheese. I then cooked two slices of turkey bacon, sliced a tomato, and cut a romaine lettuce and avocado in half. There wasn’t much assembling; I artlessly toppled as much as I could onto the two bread slices without leaving it in shambles. Further, I was feeling a little pretentious, not that I usually am, as I placed my sandwich on a wooden board and served goldfish (healthier than chips) on the side. The wooden board completes the presentation. In my mind, a sandwich with a presentation like that could be double the price of a sandwich on a plate. It’s what’s trendy now. Presentation is extremely mandatory since people want photogenic food to “instagram”.
Cooking naan on stove top
Naan and Chicken Tikka Masala
When I first ate naan, there was an immediate connection between me and the Indian leavened bread. What makes naan so delectable is that it is similar to pita bread, but it has a higher fat content, making it more moist. Because of my obsession with naan, I proceeded to make it at home. My first attempt was quite disastrous. The naan did not rise a lot (I think my water may have been too hot so I killed the yeast), and I had accidentally used rice flour instead of all-purpose flour. What came out was an edible, flattened, soggy pancake, but it didn’t have the fluffy and puffed up texture that naan is supposed to have. To redeem myself, I came up with another recipe and I made sure to use all- purpose flour and lukewarm water to activate the yeast. I was ecstatic because this naan had such great texture, and do I dare say it: It was better than the restaurant’s! GASPP. yes, I said it. It is so gooood. The naan is incredibly delicious by itself but even better with chicken tikka masala. I have not yet made chicken tikka masala; this time I bought a store made sauce and added chunks of chicken, but I am destined to make it one day.
Naan Recipe (yield 9-11):
- 3 c. all-purpose flour
- 1tbsp. active yeast
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 2 tbsp. greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp. salt
- 2/3 c. warm water
- 1 c. milk
- 1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 tbsp. melted butter
- 1. Take the lukewarm water (about 110 degrees) and add yeast, sugar and salt. Set aside for ten minutes until yeast mixture is completely dissolved and bubbly. *tip: sprinkle the yeast, do not dump it all in, it will clump and not fully activate.
- In a large bowl add flour, milk, yeast mixture, greek yogurt, butter, garlic powder and knead until dough forms together. If the mixture is too sticky, which is likely to happen, add 1 tbsp of flour at a time until the dough is a good texture.
- Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place bowl in a warm area for an hour. The dough should double in size.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, separate the dough into equal balls and flour a board or counter. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin into oval or circular shapes. You can roll in some little toppings such as sesame seeds, herbs, or chia seeds to make the naan more decadent.
- Heat the stove and prepare a bowl of water on the side. Spread water on one side of the naan. Place it in the pan on one side and cook on the fire for about 30 sec. Then flip the pan over so that the naan is facing the flour. The naan should stick to the pan. It will eventually fall off. Once the naan falls off, decide whether the naan is ready or if it needs further cooking, place the naan directly on the stove top, being very careful that it does not burn.
- Cook all the naan and enjoy!
The process of making the naan sounds very odd but this is the way to create huge bubbles and texture in the naan. Anyways, Happy cooking and enjoy the naan!
For a quick go-to lunch that only requires a few ingredients pasta salad is an excellent choice. It’s light and healthy and can be placed in the fridge for up to 4 days. Pack it up in a container and bring it to picnics or your job. Here is a simple pasta salad recipe that I came up with. I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to use measuring tools, so I’m always tasting and adding ingredients to accommodate to my taste buds. But here are the close measurements to what used:
– 1/2 box penne pasta (equivalent to 8 oz, 1/2 lb)
– 3/4 c. red pepper pesto (this is not a very common product found in stores, but I happened to have some. This is optional, but it adds a ton of flavor! I bought the pesto from Costco, but there are simple recipes online for red pepper pesto)
– 1 c. feta cheese (I LOVE FETA CHEESE SO I PUT A GINORMOUS AMOUNT)
– 1 tsp rosemary
– 1/3 c. olive oil
– 2 cloves of garlic
– salt and pepper
– 2 tomatoes (diced)
1. Boil a pot of water, add 1 tsp salt, and add pasta. (Adding salt in the boiled water prevents the pasta from sticking together. Tip: I boil my pasta for about 5 minutes, turn the stove off, and let the remaining steam cook the pasta. Leave the lid on the pot so the steam does not escape. By doing this, you save the amount of gas that you use. It is a great money-saving technique that I learned!)
2. Finely chop the garlic and place in a small bowl with the olive oil and rosemary. Let it sit for about 10 minutes so the oil will be infused with garlic and rosemary.
3. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water.
4. Dump the pasta in a big bowl. Add garlic oil, feta cheese, red pepper pesto, and tomatoes. Combine the pasta.
5. Add salt and pepper to you preferred taste.
6. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
I like to add cooked spinach or kale in this pasta salad. However today I did not have any of those ingredients on hand. Adding the green vegetables adds color and gives the pasta the colors of the Italian flag!!