The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines recommend making half your daily grains whole. Swapping whole wheat for enriched pasta is an easy way to up your daily dose of those whole grains. Another smart trick in this recipe is adding cauliflower. It helps add bulk for few calories, and helps cut down the amount of pasta per serving.
12 oz whole wheat shell pasta 2 cups pureed cauliflower (small head of cauliflower, 2 tablespoons water) 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt 1/2 cup fat-free evaporated milk 1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese 1/4 teaspoon salt Freshly ground pepper
1. Cook pasta according to box directions. 2. Steam chopped cauliflower in about 2 tablespoons water until tender. 3. Blend cauliflower and cooking liquid in food processor or high speed blended until smooth. 4. Add evaporated milk and Greek yogurt, pulse until incorporated. 5. Cook this cauliflower and dairy mixture in saucepan over low-medium heat. Whisk in cheese, salt and pepper to taste. 6. Mix cooked pasta into cauliflower cheese sauce and serve! Sprinkle paprika and parmesan cheese for added flavor.
This is a creative combo of two college faves: tuna melts and cheese quesadillas. There are two simple tricks used to make this dish healthier. First, the tuna is made with a combo of Greek yogurt and mayo instead of being drowned with mayo. Second, portions of cheese are kept in check with only 3 slices for 2 servings.
1 (6-ounce) can tuna, packed in water, drained 1 teaspoon plain Greek yogurt 1 teaspoon mayonnaise 2 tablespoons chopped banana peppers or pickles 2 tablespoons chopped parsley 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion Black pepper to taste 1 small tomato, sliced 2 whole grain tortillas 3 slices provolone or mozzarella cheese, each cut into 4 pieces
1. In a medium bowl, mix together the yogurt, mayo, peppers, parsley, onion, and black pepper. Then use a fork to flake the tuna into the bowl and mix everything together. 2. Heat a non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. 3. To assemble the tuna melts, lay the two tortillas out flat. Place 3 of the cheese sections over half of each tortilla, then spread half of the tuna mixture over the cheese on each tortilla. Place the tomato slices over the tuna, then the remaining cheese on top of the tomatoes. 4. Fold each tortilla in half, then place in the skillet. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until the tortilla is golden and the cheese is melted. 5. Serve with fruit and a small salad or carrot sticks on the side.
Pizza is a college favorite but you can easily make your own. First, purchase pre-made dough from your favorite pizza joint (Just ask—most will sell it to you!) You can also pick up pre-made dough or a cooked whole wheat crust at the grocery store. Second, top the pizza with any leftover veggies you have in your fridge. It’s a budget-friendly, quick and easy meal.
1 pizza dough, room temperature 3 tablespoons flour Cooking spray 1 cup shredded mozzarella (I like to buy an Italian blend of mozzarella, parmesan, and asiago) 3 plum tomatoes, sliced ½ small zucchini, chopped ½ small yellow squash, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced ½ teaspoon oregano ½ teaspoon parsley flakes 1-2 tablespoons olive oil Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 2. Coat the pizza dough in flour and begin to gently spread the dough over a flat surface. Do not pull the dough, as this will create holes. Gently push the dough out from the middle until it is the size of the pan. 3. Coat a pizza pan or cookie sheet with cooking spray. Place the dough onto the pan, and put it in the oven for 3-5 minutes. The dough will rise slightly during this time. 4. Remove the dough from the oven and let it cool in the pan for a few minutes. 5. Once the dough is cool enough to touch, evenly spread the cheese over the dough. Place sliced tomatoes over the cheese, then layer on the zucchini. Sprinkle fresh garlic, oregano, and parsley on top of the vegetables. Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. 6. Place the pizza back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes. Cooking times may vary by oven. Check the bottom of the pizza for doneness—it should be golden brown when ready.
These chicken tenders are baked rather than fried, which helps cut calories and fat. They’re also coated in gluten-free brown rice cereal and dipped in Greek yogurt— a nice change from the traditional flour, breadcrumb, and egg batter.
The chicken tenders also have 5 common ingredients many students commonly purchase. Print the recipe and stick it on the fridge so you’ll always have an easy recipe within reach.
2 cups crispy brown rice cereal ⅓ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt 2 tablespoons Sriracha or hot sauce 1¼ pounds chicken breast tenderloins or breasts cut into tenderloin shape Nonstick cooking spray
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 2. Place rice cereal in a large zipper bag, seal and crush with a rolling pin or the back of a spoon. Pour onto a large, flat plate and set aside. 3. In a bowl, combine yogurt and Sriracha or hot sauce. 4. Take each chicken breast, dip in yogurt mixture, dredge in rice cereal, and place on baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. 5. Spray tops of chicken lightly with cooking spray. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Whether it’s time to watch the big game or you just need a feel-good meal, whip up a batch of this turkey chili made with three types of beans. Eat half the batch now, and freeze the second half in small single-portion freezer-safe containers. This was you’re prepared with a healthy, hearty meals on busy weeknights.
2 tablespoons olive oil 1 large yellow onion, chopped 2 large bell peppers, chopped 3 medium carrots, finely chopped 10 oz mushrooms, chopped 5 cloves garlic, chopped 1 teaspoon chili powder 1 teaspoon oregano 1½ teaspoons cumin 1 pound ground turkey 12 oz lager beer 2 (14.5oz) can diced fire roasted tomatoes 1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat olive oil in large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell peppers, carrots, and mushrooms until the onions turn golden brown and the carrots begin to soften – about 8 to 10 minutes. 2. Add the garlic, chili powder, oregano, and cumin and stir 1 minute. Add the turkey, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until meat loses its raw color – about 3 minutes. Add the beer. Cover pan; reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes. 3. Add tomatoes with their juices and the three kinds of beans. Simmer uncovered and stir occasionally until chili thickens – about 20 minutes. 4. Garnish chili with shredded cheddar cheese, non-fat plain Greek yogurt, avocado, or guacamole
Instead of cheap cups of Ramen noodles (AKA fried noodles drowning in salt), make a noodle-less pad Thai made of spaghetti squash. If you’ve never tried to cook spaghetti squash, it’s about time you give it a try. Once cooked, use a fork to unravel the spaghetti-like strands of squash. It’s a fun dish to cook, especially on a study date.
6 oz chicken breast 1 oz spicy corn nuts (I used Nourish Snacks Holy Habanero) 2 tablespoons peanut butter powder (I like PB2) 1 tablespoon gluten free soy sauce ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes 2 cloves garlic 1 teaspoon garlic powder ⅛ cup chopped onion 1 tablespoon rice vinegar ¼ cup water 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 cup broccoli crowns ¼ cup red bell pepper ¼ cup chopped carrots 1 (8-oz) can water chestnuts 1 small spaghetti squash
1. Combine garlic cloves, onion and chicken with ¼ cup water in wok. 2. While doing this, zap your spaghetti squash in the microwave. If you have the time, cook it in the oven. 3. Toss in chopped carrots, bell peppers and broccoli when chicken is almost fully cooked. 4. In a separate bowl, combine all liquid ingredients with spices and PB2. 5. Poor liquid spice mix over cooked chicken and vegetable blend. 6. After squash has cooled so you can touch it (be careful, it's hot!), gently fork the strings of the spaghetti squash out into the wok. 7. Combine the squash and your mixture of veggies and lean protein, stirring thoroughly so all of the liquid coats the squash blend. 8. Simmer on low for 5 minutes, then top with the Habanero Corn Nuts. Enjoy!
Skip the packaged rice treats with all the additives and preservatives and make your own instead. This lighter version skips the sugar-laden marshmallows and uses peanut butter, oats, and nuts.
Skill level: Beginner Serves: 6 Start to Finish: 15 minutes, plus refrigeration Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 0 minutes
1 cup high-fiber flake cereal (we used Fiber One) 1 cup oats (quick cook) ½ cup honey ¾ cup of peanut butter 1 tablespoon vanilla extract ½ cup chopped pecans
1-Line an 8×8-inch dish with parchment paper or no-stick aluminum foil. 2-Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Stir until flakes and oats are coated. 3-Transfer mixture into lined dish. 4-Cut into bars. 5-Place into refrigerator for an hour. Remove and serve.
Many college students rush through the drive-through to pick up a fast food egg and cheese sandwich. Instead you can make your own with halloumi cheese—it melts fantastically and tastes incredible. After devouring this healthier version, fast food breakfasts will be a thing of the past.
1 avocado ½ tablespoon lime juice 8 ounce package halloumi cheese, cut into 8 slices ½ teaspoon olive oil 8 pasteurized eggs 8 slices whole grain sourdough bread Kosher salt Freshly ground pepper 2-3 roasted tomatoes (optional) Microgreens for garnish (optional)
1. In a medium bowl, mash together avocado, lime juice, and a pinch of salt. Set aside. 2. Heat a nonstick frying pan (or a grill pan) over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to coat the pan. Place 2-3 slices of halloumi in the pan and cook for one minute. Turn and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the cheese has softened and browned. The cheese should not melt. (I recommend turning on your vent when doing this step.) Remove from pan and continue with the remaining slices of cheese. Set aside. 3. Poach eggs: Fill a medium saucepan with a shallow layer of water and bring to a simmer. Crack egg into a small dish (I like to cook them one or two at a time). When the water comes to a simmer, gently tip the dish into the water so the egg can slide out. Gently simmer the egg for about 3-4 minutes until the egg white is firm but the yolk is still runny. Use a slotted spoon to remove poached egg to a plate and repeat with the remaining eggs. 4. While the eggs are poaching, toast bread to desired crispness. 5. Spread 2 teaspoons mashed avocado on each slice of toasted bread. Top with 2 slices of pan-fried/grilled halloumi cheese. Place 2-3 roasted tomatoes (if using) on the cheese and top with 2 poached eggs. Season with a pinch of Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, and microgreens if desired.
Nutrition Information (per serving, without optional tomatoes and microgreens)
Most people don’t realize popcorn is a whole grain—which makes it a healthy, filling snack. So dig into a bowl during game night or as a late night study snack. The calories start adding up quickly when oil or butter is added. At 120 calories per tablespoon of any oil, you want to use it in small amounts.
½ cup grapeseed oil (or substitute with any vegetable oil) 1/3 cup popcorn kernels 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon sriracha 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder Salt to taste
1. In a medium saucepan, heat grapeseed oil over medium-high heat. Add a few kernels of popcorn to the oil. Once the kernels start to pop, add the rest of the kernels so that they are evenly distributed in one layer over the oil. 2. Cover the pan and wait until the kernels start to pop. Shake the pan back and forth over the burner while the kernels pop until the popping slows down. Once it's a few seconds in between each pop, turn off the heat and remove the pan from the burner. 3. In a small saucepan, heat butter, olive oil, garlic powder, and sriracha over low to medium heat until the butter is melted. Pour the sriracha mixture over the popcorn and transfer to a large bowl to coat evenly. Salt to taste.
Nutrition Information (per approximately 1½ cup serving)
Instead of spending money on packaged protein bars, save dough by making your own. This no-bake version takes about 15 minutes to whip up and has all kinds of good-for-you ingredients like chia, peanut butter, and oat flour.
Skill level: Beginner Serves: 8 Start to Finish: 16 minutes, plus freezer time Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 1 minute
1 cup oat flour (I just ground up oats in my food processor until I have enough to fill 1 cup) 1 cup vanilla protein powder (2 heaping scoops) 1 cup Rice Chex cereal 2 tablespoons chia seeds ½ cup peanut butter ¼ cup milk 3 - 4 tablespoons honey, depending on sweetness preference 1-2 tablespoons water, if necessary 2 tablespoons chocolate chips, optional
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, protein powder, cereal, and chia seeds. 2. In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, milk, and honey. 3. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir and microwave 15-30 sec more. 4. Add liquid mixture into dry ingredients and stir to combine. 5. Add water if necessary to make sure all dry ingredients are moistened. (Mixture will be crumbly). 6. Use parchment paper to press the mixture into an 8x8 pan (I use a 9x9 and just leave about an inch empty on one side). 7. Freeze for 20 minute. 8. Cut into bars (I cut mine into 8 bars). 9. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. 10. Melt chocolate and spread or drizzle over the bars, if desired