Healthy eating can include pricey grain bowls and elaborate do-it-yourself clean food recipes — some health buffs even make their own almond milk. But healthy food bloggers Emily Dingmann and Karen Donaghy said healthy eating does not have to be that expensive nor difficult.
Dingmann is a nutritionist and founder for A Nutritionist Eats, a recipe blog, and Donaghy is the office manager for Clean Food Dirty Girl, a meal plan community and recipe blog. They both gave tips and recipes over how to eat healthy with a college-student schedule and budget.
Eating healthy can be tricky for college students for three main reasons: time, money and knowledge, Dingmann said in an email.
“It takes time to plan, to shop, to cook,” Dingmann said. “It takes money to buy wholesome, nutritious foods. And it takes the knowledge and skills to know what foods are nutritious and how to cook. It’s not that it’s impossible, but if you’re short on time, money, and skills, it’s not easy.”
Hacks to know
If you’re in a pinch for lunch, turn to sweet potatoes and edamame, Donaghy said in an email. Microwave sweet potatoes for five to six minutes, depending on size, poke with a fork multiple times and top the potato with pumpkin seeds and cinnamon, she said. Donaghy also enjoys reaching for bags of frozen edamame and sprinkling on some low-sodium soy sauce.
“Bam, lunch,” Donaghy said.
One of Dingmann’s favorites is rice, black beans and a fried egg, she said. Cook a big batch of rice and freeze it in smaller portions, heat up a can of black beans, fry an egg and add some hot sauce, salsa or feta cheese crumbles for a little more flavor, Dingmann said.
Cheap food to add to the grocery list
Nutrient-dense foods typically cost more than processed foods void of any nutritional value, so it’s important to focus on incorporating these healthy foods into your diet without striving for perfection, Dingmann said.
When shopping in the produce aisle, pick up spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots and frozen vegetables, she said. To get protein in, Dingmann recommends eggs, cheese and beans. And lastly, for whole grains she encourages students to buy oatmeal, brown rice and whole-wheat pasta.
Donaghy and Dingmann give three easy lunch recipes for students to try.
10 MINUTE GARBANZO BEAN SALAD
• 2 Tablespoons olive oil
• 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
• 1 teaspoon oregano
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1-15 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
• 1-14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
• 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
• 1/3 cup roughly chopped sun-dried tomatoes (I used ones packed in oil)
1. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper.
2. Add remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir until combined.
3. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
4. Serve plain or over greens or grains.
SWEET AND SALTY TOAST
• Sprouted bread, toasted
• Almond butter (no oil or sugar added)
• Applesauce (no sugar or any other ingredients apart from apples)
• Strawberry slices or thinly sliced apples
• Tamari roasted sunflower seeds
1. Toast bread and slather on some almond butter followed by some apple sauce.
2. Pile high with strawberry or apple slices and sprinkle with sunflower seeds.
ALMOND TACO MEAT
• 1 cup raw almonds (150g)
• 1 cup canned red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (170g)
• 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
• 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
• 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder (double it if you like spice)
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1. Place the almonds into your food processor and pulse for about 20-30 seconds, until the almonds are well chopped. There shouldn’t be any huge pieces of almonds, but it shouldn’t be fine like flour either.
2. Add the kidney beans, red chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, garlic powder, cayenne powder, salt and balsamic vinegar and pulse for about 20-30 seconds, until the mixture is mixed up. The consistency should be a bit chunky, not smooth like paste. Add salt if needed.
3. Place in a container and store in the fridge just like that. Use this mixture for tacos, burritos or salads. You can heat it up in a skillet or have it cold.