Q: “First of all, I LOVE your blog… you have so many great ideas and I love reading about them. I have a problem that you might be able to help me out with…I just moved into my first apartment a few months ago after living in dorms the past few years and i’m loving it, but my one issue is making food for myself. I like cooking my own meals (so much cheaper and healthier than eating out) but with my crazy class schedule I just dont have the time to cook during the week. Do you have any suggestions/recipes that are good to make over the weekend then freeze to eat later in the week?”-Kristen, 20
A: Kristen, I feel your pain. Transitioning from the dorm life to an apartment for the first time can be difficult when it comes to eating healthy in the kitchen. But, good news you aren’t doomed and there are plenty of quick meals you can make ahead of time or even the day of (yes, even on those extra hectic days!)
>whip up a quick smoothie with soy or skim milk, a slightly mushy banana, and frozen berries of your choice. Add cinnamon, flaxseed oil or peanut butter for an extra healthy boost to get you going during the day! Seriously, smoothies are my savior when I’m in a rush to get somewhere!
>breakfast burrito: scramble up 2 eggs or egg whites, and top with low fat cheese and some salsa. Add black beans if you have ’em! Wrap it up in a whole wheat wrap and take it to go while your heading out the door!
>Make healthy muffins ahead of time, and pop ’em in the fridge or freezer to stay fresh, so you can grab one whenever you’re in a rush!
>cut up fruits and veggies ahead of time during the weekend, so you can throw together a quick salad when you’re on the go. Add hummus, tuna or a hard-boiled egg for some extra protein!
*Tip: I hard-boil several eggs at the beginning of the week so I can have them on hand whenever I’m in a rush!
>Whole grain wrap: Throw together turkey, tuna or any other lean meat, and wrap it up in tin foil to head out the door for your busy day. Be creative-add on chopped apples, raisins or vidalia onions for some extra flavor!
>Take rice cakes, unsalted nuts ‘n’ fresh fruit with you whenever your out of the apartment for a long day. You never know when those munchies are going to hit and this is a much better option than settling for the vending machine or a burger from your cafeteria!
>tuna melt: make tuna ahead of time if you want and just pop it in the toaster with some light cheese on a piece of whole grain bread or wheat wrap! Top with lettuce and veggies : )
>Pop a sweet potato in the mic for about 6 minutes, and sprinkle with cinnamon ‘n’ sugar, or spices and a light buttery spread like Smart Balance. Serve with a large salad or some chicken you had precooked in the freezer ahead of time. Seriously-quickest, yummiest meal!
>Buy Boil-in-a-Bag brown rice by Success, which cooks in 8 minutes. Meanwhile thaw out your chicken and frozen veggies to throw in. Add a dash of low-sodium soy sauce and you’ve got yourself a 10 minute meal!
>Make a chili, lentil or chicken soup ahead of time and freeze it for those times your schedule is extra crazy! Take it out the day of and put it in the fridge so it will be thawed out by the time your ready for din! Try these healthy chicken soup recipes from Woman’s Day; substitute extra veggies and veggie stock for the chicken to make these comforting soups vegetarian-friendly!
>Make meat sauce ahead of time with some fresh marinara, tomatoes, garlic and lean turkey burger. Freeze and use it whenever your craving a yummy pasta dish. It’ll take 10 min to make the pasta, and you can forget about the whole sauce schpeel! Use brown rice or whole grain pasta for ultimate health benefits!
>Have store bought veggie burgers and turkey burgers on hand for when you seriously have ZERO time. I love Dr. Praeger’s Veggie Burgers-in the California flavor-and the original Bahama Rice Burgers.
>Marinate chicken with some light italian dressing, lemon, garlic and spices of choice and freeze to add to any dish during the week! You can even use it for a Mexi night and make fajitas-just have all the veggies precut and top with salsa or light sour cream!