Food

No Meal Plan, No Problem: My go-to dorm-friendly meals

When the word “college” is thrown out there, my guess is that one of the many images that comes to mind is the dining hall, where friends congregate and eat as much food as their little hearts desire. Now that could sound like total bliss to some (looking at you, folks with a hollow leg), or to some, it could sound like the nightmare of the dreaded “Freshman 15.” One of my biggest questions my senior year of high school–is a meal plan really necessary freshman year of college? 

From what I’ve picked up these past 5 months of college, you can not only survive without one, but you can thrive.

Last summer, I found out I had an intestinal condition called “leaky gut,” which essentially meant that toxins that were meant to make their way out of my body through my intestines ended up escaping into my bloodstream through some holes in my gut and created a whole host of other health issues throughout my body. But that’s a story for another time. Bottom line: I realized that in order for my insanely weakened gut to heal, I had to be super mindful of everything I put in my body. So coming into college, I wasn’t eating gluten or dairy. As the months progressed, I realized that that wasn’t quite cutting it; after lots of research and trial and error, I also eliminated soy, peanuts, and corn from my diet.

I know that sounds intense. And I’m not saying that every person has to eat that way to be healthy. Health is a pretty relative thing–what’s healthy for one person could be a total no-go for another (allergies, etc.).

BUT, what I am here to tell you is that without a meal plan, I’ve had the freedom to get creative with my grocery shopping and cooking, and make meals that will fuel my body well. Not to mention, I’ve been able to save A TON; grocery shopping can be a whole lot cheaper.

So, to follow that {probably too} long intro, here are a few of my go-to meals!

Scrambled egg/sweet potato/kale/avocado bowl

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  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1-2 eggs (I usually do one egg if I add avocado)
  • handful or two of raw kale
  • 1/4-1/2 hass avocado
  • dried thyme, sea salt, and this delicious spice blend to taste

Microwave the sweet potato for about 6 mins or until soft. While potato cooks, whip up your eggs in a microwave-safe bowl and add in the kale. I usually end up with more kale than egg, but if you only want a little green, you can adjust. Once the potato’s done cooking, swap the potato with the egg bowl and microwave the egg/kale mix for about 2 mins (depends on the microwave). Once the eggs are done, peel the sweet potato and chop it up, then add in your avocado and spices, and viola. Nutrient-packed deliciousness in minutes. This is pretty much my go-to of all go-to’s; about 90% of the time when I call my mom around lunch or dinner time and she asks what I’m having, my response is, “the usual.” It’s just so easy and delish!

Chicken/kale/quinoa/chestnuts

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  • 1 piece of frozen chicken breast (I use the Trader Joe’s boneless frying pieces because they’re the perfect size and easy to store in a dorm freezer, plus you get a lot for the price)
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • handful or two raw kale
  • 3-4 chestnuts (this recipe is the first time I’d ever eaten chestnuts, but they quickly became a fav)
  • chicken broth for cooking chicken (I use Pacific Organic chicken broth because it has few ingredients)
  • Italian seasoning, sea salt, tarragon (you can play around with the seasonings–I like to try different combos with every meal)

To cook my chicken, if I’m not in the mood to go down to the kitchen at the end of the hall (pretty much always), I’ll throw about 4-5 pieces of chicken into my little mini crockpot (here’s a similar one) in the morning with enough chicken broth to cover about half the chicken and let that cook during the day while I’m at class or out and about. To cook my quinoa, I use my little rice cooker to cook a cup and a half of quinoa. This way, I have chicken and quinoa cooked and ready for the rest of the week. To cook the kale, I just microwave it on a plate with a little chicken broth so it wilts a bit. Then, just put it all together on a plate, drizzle on some of the chicken broth that the chicken cooked in and top it with chestnuts and seasonings!

Breakfast Sweet Potato

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  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 tbsp. raw almond butter (I used maple almond butter in this picture)
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/4 or so of blueberries (TIP: buy frozen blueberries and microwave them when you want to use them!)
  • cinnamon to taste

Sweet potatoes are basically my favorite food on the planet, and I love that they work for any meal of the day! They go so well with so many different flavors. For this one, I just microwaved the sweet potato for about 6 or so minutes, cut it in half, measured out 1 tbsp. of almond butter and smeared it on, added some banana slices, blueberries, and a little cinnamon to add some extra flavor and BONUS: cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties and helps stabilize blood sugar!

Acai Bowl+My Morning Cup O’ Joe

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This isn’t one that I go to super regularly during the wintertime, but I bought some acai puree packets from Trader Joe’s a couple weeks ago so I decided to make a bowl. It’s super refreshing and tasty! Smoothie bowls are the bomb because you can customize it with whatever fruit you like best. For this one, I used:

  • 1 pack of frozen acai puree
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 or so of coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp. raw almond butter
  • 1/4 cup or so frozen raspberries and 1/4 of frozen blueberries (which I thawed in the microwave)
  • 2 tbsp. or so unsweetened shredded coconut

I threw the first four ingredients into my NutriBullet and blended till thick and creamy consistency. (TIP: using frozen banana vs. fresh makes for a thicker smoothie bowl! When bananas go brown, peel and freeze them!) Then, I poured the mixture in a bowl and topped it with the other goodies. Super energizing!

For my everyday coffee:

  • 1 kcup (I do the 10 oz. setting)
  • 2-4 tbsp. canned coconut milk (Trader Joe’s organic canned coconut milk is my favorite because it has no sneaky ingredients–just coconut and water!)
  • 4-6 drops of liquid stevia
  • cinnamon (I do about 5-6 shakes of ground cinnamon)

I used to be a black coffee drinker until I tried canned coconut milk in it. It’s heavenly. Boxed kind does not have the same effect, though. The canned kind is so much creamier and richer. Plus, it adds some healthy fats to your morning to get you energized and help keep the mid-morning munchies away. Stevia is a zero-calorie, plant based sweetener that has also transformed my coffee drinking habits. Warning: a little bit goes a long way! All together, this is one of my favorite parts of my mornings. I just really, really love a good cup of coffee. (PSA Santa’s White Christmas coffee by Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen with all these ingredients will change your life. It tastes like the hot version of the limited edition Santa’s White Christmas ice cream from Publix.)

Hope this helped/inspired someone out there! It’s definitely possible to super well without a meal plan. Just a little creativity can make “healthy food” decadent!

Love always,

Shannon

 

 

2 thoughts on “No Meal Plan, No Problem: My go-to dorm-friendly meals

  1. I love this post! I wish I had seen it before the start of last semester. It would have saved me a whole lot of trial and error haha. Your first go to is really similar to a meal I made quite frequently. It’s delicious!

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    1. Thank you! Honestly, trial and error is how I came up with these! 😅 I definitely started my semester out on a rough foot (aka going out to eat too much), but now I’m getting into the groove of cooking my own meals and I’d much prefer that! Ps I love looking at all the goodies on your Insta!!

      Like

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