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Jul 19, 2012 06:19 PM

Cooking healthy on a college student's budget (short on $ and time!)

I have a friend who is failing miserably at eating properly while away at college. He eats out all the time for the convenience, but would like to cook on his own if he had an idea of what to make. I'm helping him put together a meal and grocery plan, so I'm on the hunt!

I could really use some recommendations for dishes and meals that are:

- easy (he has moderate cooking skills, but is abhorrently lazy)
- quick (no more than thirty minutes tops)
- nutritious, healthy, and filling.
- something that stretches the dollar

Thank you in advance! :)

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  1. First thing that comes to mind here is a vegetarian lasagna. But you'll have better results with you interests in this subject by posting on:
    which was specially developed for health and nutrition.

    1. I suggest making pasta sauce from scratch, to reduce cost over the kind in a jar, but also to avoid the sugar (unhealthy). Make a big batch, then freeze it in individual serving containers. This will take more than 30 minutes for the batch, although without requiring constant attention. Then the individual portions can be used in a few minutes, adding ingredients for variety (olives, mushrooms).

      1. Take a pasta or a cooked grain (rice, bulger, quinoa, etc.). Add a protein; bits of meat, fish or some cheese. Throw some assorted steamed veg on top. Add seasonings/toppings to taste; hot sauce, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, nuts, green onion, chopped tomato, cuke, or avocado, etc. Top with fresh parsley or cilantro. It's different every time and is good cold as a leftover.

        1. I'm in somewhat of the same boat right now... I'm taking a full summer schedule, so that means I'm in class from 9-5 every day. I cook pasta on alternating days, and add in different veggies and tofu/cheese (i'm a vegetarian, he can add meat/cheese) and differing dressings and bring a tupperware container in to either heat up for lunch or eat cold. At night and for breakfast I eat miso soup and rice from my rice cooker, plus for more filling variations I add in other ingredients to my rice. If my plans hold any interest for him, let me know and i'll give you more details

          1. Omelets with various fillings of cheese, veggies, diced ham/bacon, etc. Or just plain cheese topped with salsa and some whole wheat toast along with it.

            Different types of sandwiches - grilled cheese with tuna and/or slices of tomato; microwave bacon, tomato and lettuce; horseradish sauce, roast beef from the deli and mixed greens; hummus, tomato and sprouts, etc. Just tell your friend to use real whole grain bread, not extra-soft with a faint hint of whole grains.

            Once it's cool: soup. Pretty much anything can go into soup: meatballs, noodles, rice, every vegetable under the sun, tofu, egg drizzles, seafood, etc. Soup is a great way of combining different foods to create wonderful, sustaining food. It encompasses everything from cheddar cheese soup to miso soup, meatball soup to clam chowder.

            Beans. Indian style lentils. Pasta e fagoli. Chili in a slow cooker started in the morning. (Vegetarian chili was a staple in my tons-of-debt, first low pay job.) Hummus with veggies and pita bread.