Health & Wellness

5 meals that are light in calories and cost

by Mathew Towers

Let me tell you a secret.

My roommate’s entire diet consists of canned spinach, tuna, and instant ramen. While that sounds a bit over the top, the reality is that a lot of students don’t have the time or money to make healthy delicious meals. The “freshman 15” exists for a reason – instead of cooking we find ourselves eating cafeteria food or ordering pizza.

While there is no doubt that pizza is delicious, we can’t stress-eat it for every meal of the day – no matter how much we’d love to. What if I told you that you can eat healthy and delicious food, all while not failing school or breaking the bank? To give you a helping hand we decided to find you 6 healthy and budget friendly meals that students will love.


 

Chocolate Banana Breakfast Quinoa

Chocolate breakfast quinoa

  • ½ cup raw quinoa
  • 1 cup + ¼ cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • fresh mint for garnish (optional)
  • 1 banana (½ mashed, ½ cut into slices)
  1. Boil ½ cup of quinoa, ½ cup of water, 1 cup almond milk, and a dash of sea salt in a small pot.
  2. Reduce the heat once boiling and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally until all liquid has been absorbed.
  3. Remove quinoa from stove – transfer to a bowl
  4. Mix in mashed banana, cocoa powder, vanilla, and honey. Stir until combined.
  5. Pour your remaining almond milk over your delicious mixture. Add mint and banana slices if you wish.
  6. Bonus points: Having chocolate for breakfast is always a good start to your day. Try using chocolate almond milk instead, or even strawberry if you’re feeling adventurous.

For more details, check out the recipe on Healthy Planet USA

Pesto Cheese Pizza

Pesto Pizza

  • 1 package refrigerated whole-wheat pizza dough
  • 2 packed cups basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 large clove garlic, quartered
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 F.
  2. Grease a pizza pan and spread your dough evenly across it. Set it aside for now.
  3. Make your pesto – place basil, pine nuts, parmesan, oil, water, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Pulse a few times to even it out and then blend until its as smooth as you like. Put the extra in the fridge for later! See the bottom of my weight loss article for an alternative, healthier pesto recipe.
  4. Spread your pesto onto the pizza dough covering it evenly.
  5. Spread ricotta on top of your pizza, and sprinkle mozzarella on top. It may not cover the entire pizza.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7. Add a little fresh feta and spices (oregano/basil) on top for taste.
  8. Bonus points: Take the leftovers to school for lunch or have a cold pizza breakfast feast.

For more details check out the recipe on Greatist

Chicken Fajitas

Chicken fajitas

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into strips
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 small tortillas
  1. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F
  2. Make your fajita seasoning – no pre-packaged stuff here! Whisk together chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Set it aside for later.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan – medium high heat.
  4. Add your chicken to the pan, sprinkle with ¾ of fajita seasoning. Mix together and cook 6-10 min or until brown.
  5. In a second pan heat remaining olive oil (2 tablespoons) on medium high. This time we’re going to add peppers, onions, and the remaining seasoning. Cook until veggies are soft (about 6-10 minutes) and stir occasionally.
  6. While your veggies and meat are cooking, wrap tortillas I tin foil and warm them in the oven.
  7. Fill your tortillas and mow down. Add your favorite garnishes and spices.
  8. Bonus points: Make them with a date and enjoy cooking something new and delicious together.

For more details check out the recipe on Greatist

Peanut Butter, Strawberry, & Banana Quesadillas

PB, Strawberry, Banana quesadilla

  • Cooking spray or butter
  • 2 tablespoons natural creamy peanut butter
  • 2 whole grain tortillas
  • 1 large ripe banana, sliced
  • 4-5 strawberries, sliced
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (if desired)
  1. Heat a medium skilled on medium high heat. Spray with cooking spray.
  2. Spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter evenly over each tortilla. Arrange banana and strawberry slices over one tortilla. Top with sprinkled cinnamon.
  3. Top with the remaining peanut butter only tortilla – peanut butter side down. Press gently to stick them together.
  4. When the skillet is hot add the quesadilla, flipping once until golden brown. This takes about 2 minutes per side.
  5. Cut into halves or quarters. Mow down.

Note: For a desert version try adding a teaspoon of mini chocolate chips. Serve with honey, maple syrup, vanilla Greek yogurt, or chocolate sauce. You can also replace the peanut butters with different nut butters (ie. Nutella, almond butter)

For more details check out the recipe on Ambitious Kitchen

Spinach and Feta Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese

  • ½ Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ lb. frozen cut spinach
  • Pinch of salt & pepper
  • 2 ciabatta rolls
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 oz. feta cheese
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  1. Mince the garlic and add it to a skillet with olive oil, cooking over medium low for 1-2 min or until soft. Add frozen spinach and turn up the heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes or until most of the moisture has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Cut the rolls in half and add about ¼ of a cup of mozzarella and a ½ oz of feta to the bottom half of each roll. Divide cooked spinach between both sandwiches.
  3. Top with red pepper flakes and an additional ¼ more mozzarella on each.
  4. Place the top half of the ciabatta roll on the sandwiches and transfer to a non stick skillet. Fill a large pot with a few inches of water and place it on top of the sandwiches to press them down – think panini press!
  5. Turn the heat to medium low and cook until the sandwiches are crispy on the bottom. Flip and repeat on the other side.
  6. Bonus points: make a bunch of grilled cheese, pick your favorite dipping sauce, and share with your best friends. I recommend warm marinara sauce.

For more details check out the recipe on Budget Bytes.


Did you find a way to make one of these recipes your own? Have a recipe of your own to share with the Humber and Guelph-Humber community? Let us know on our Facebook page.

If you are having a really hard time financially and budget meals are not enough, IGNITE’sfinancial services may have some options for you. Want to stay healthy? We can help with that too – check out our Health and Wellness page to find out more.