September 22, 2016

Easy Lunch Ideas for the Busy College Student

Ok, I'll admit it: I'm posting this as motivation to start eating lunch. I've hardly eaten what can be considered "lunch" at all this semester, which I know is a terrible habit. On my Tue/Th schedule, I'll eat nothing but two granola bars, plus breakfast and dinner. On my M/W/F schedule, I'll stop home before work, and, if I happen to have leftovers or ripe avocados, I'll heat up last night's dinner or make some avocado toast. If I don't (which tends to be the case), I'll make a meal out of trail mix or pita chips and dip; as I type this, I'm eating Trader Joe's spinach and kale Greek yogurt dip with multigrain pita chips.

So, today, in an effort to kick my bad habit (and yours?), I'm sharing some easy, healthy lunch ideas for the busy college student because—I don''t know about you— but I'm pretty busy. These recipes (that I made up, yes), some of which are "to-go" lunches (two of which are vegan) and some that don't travel as well, do assume that you have access to a grocery store and a kitchen. My healthy grocery list is here

Quinoa Salad
1/4 c. white beans (for every 1 cup quinoa)
Olive oil
Dried cranberries/cherries
Pecans or walnuts, chopped

1. Prepare quinoa according to package directions, and rinse and heat up beans. 
2. Drizzle quinoa with olive oil, and toss with remaining ingredients. 

Caprese Toast
Ciabatta rolls
Fresh mozzarella
Olive oil and balsamic vinegar

1. Toast your ciabatta. Any bread should work, though; ciabatta's just yummy.
2. Spread pesto on toasted ciabatta, and top with mozzarella slices, tomato slices, and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic.

Breakfast Burrito
1 large whole wheat tortilla
2 eggs (or 3 egg whites)
Frozen peppers, corn, shredded potatoes
Shredded cheese and salsa (optional)

1. Heat a small pan over medium heat, and spray with cooking spray. 
2. Add your frozen veggies. Cook until thawed, and potatoes start to brown. 
3. While the veggies are cooking, whisk up your eggs with some salt and pepper (and lots of chili flakes, if you're into that, like me). 
4. Pour your egg mixture into the pan with the veggies, and mix everything together, pushing the eggs around until they're scrambled. 
5. Spoon burrito filling onto tortilla, sprinkle with shredded cheese/top with salsa, and roll up.

Avocado + White Bean Sandwich
I saw a similar recipe on Pinterest, and I sort of made my own version. So good. And vegan.

1/2 15 oz. can white beans
1/2 large ripe avocado or 1 small avocado
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. dried thyme 
Olive oil
Dash of chili flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Greens for garnish 
Two slices bread

1. Toast the bread while you prepare the filling (totally optional but I highly recommend it).
2. Smash white beans with a fork, leaving some beans whole and some larger pieces.
3. Add the avocado, and smash beans and avocado together with a drizzle of olive oil.
4. Add Dijon, thyme, chili flakes, salt, and pepper.
5. Spread filling on one slice of bread, add greens, and top with remaining bread slice. 

And, when in doubt, you can't go wrong with a classic sandwich. There's a reason our parents packed them for us when we were kids. My favorite is Boar's Head Cajun Turkey and pepper jack on whole wheat/grain with arugula.

What is your go-to college day lunch?


  1. These recipes sound quick and good! I'm going to have to try all of them!! I'm a college blogger too and I struggle with finding time to make healthy food!

    1. These recipes are still some of my go-tos, especially breakfast burritos and the avo/white bean sandwich (even better when you mix in pesto)!


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