Instant ramen noodles and other cheap, sodium-packed meals that deem easy and quick to make during the hustle and bustle of university years have taken over students’ menus in the dorm rooms and apartments for years. However, Carden points out that though these flash foods are friendly for anyone’s budget or taste buds, they are not so nice towards stomach or heart health, raising the risk of stomach cancer, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome.
When time and money are still of the essence for busy students, Carden provides a few college cooking hacks and solutions at the exact cost of ramen so that essential health do not have to be put on the back burner to keep up with funds and grades.
Hack #1: Get to know the microwave’s magic
Usually, dorms and apartments come with a microwave, which students quickly realize is one of the easiest and fastest ways to cook a meal. But the great thing about microwaves is that these beautiful tools cook an array of meals that are much healthier options than instant ramen noodles and for the same cost per meal.
Grab a microwave-safe bowl, crack in an egg, stir in any omelet fixings, and pop in the microwave for about thirty to forty seconds to whip up a delicious and healthy omelet for breakfast (lunch or dinner!).
Though they make individual instant oatmeal packets that are simple to warm up in the microwave with added water, these packets sometimes come with a noticeable amount of unnecessary added sugar. In less than five minutes, students can create a healthier option of oatmeal goodness by keeping a few dry ingredients in stock.
All that is needed is a microwave-safe bowl with steel-cut or old-fashioned oats, walnut pieces, dried cranberries, golden raisins, crushed apple chips, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and a pinch of sea salt mixed together with a liquid such as water or milk. Warm in the microwave for one minute, and alakazam, oatmeal is ready.
Hack #2: Live the luxury of portable food
Portable food is a college student’s best friend when spending the week on the run. Yes, Pop-Tarts are yummy, but there are better and healthier mobile food options to choose from that stimulate brainpower and energy. Protein bars are great to grab as well as almond butter single-packets with an apple or banana.
Another idea to pack in protein is to buy a jar of peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter and keep it in a backpack with a bag of granola, dried fruit, a bar of dark chocolate, and a spoon. When hunger strikes, scoop a spoonful of nut butter, dip it in the granola, top with dried fruit, and spread the mix on top of a piece of dark chocolate. Delicious!
Hack #3: Discover the useful tools
Many cool tools exist to make eating healthier a more obtainable option for university students, such as personal portable smoothie bottles that blend on the go, microwave pasta cookers, or microwavable rice steamers.
About Bryn Carden
Bryn Carden is a young entrepreneur and philanthropist with a passion for real estate and design. She is currently studying at Neeley School of Business, pursuing a major in Finance with a Real Estate Concentration. Besides working towards her degree, she has already begun her entrepreneurial journey as a co-founder of BF Hats and a creator of Styles for Smiles – a company selling bracelets to help fund cleft palate operations for children in developing countries.