Stance: Studies on the Family

Brigham Young University Student Journal

Tag: healthy eating

Easy Plant-Based Meals That Won’t Break the Bank

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Meal planning, right? We’ve all been there. Finding healthy, easy, and relatively inexpensive meal ideas isn’t for the faint of heart. As a vegan and gluten and soy free college student, I’ve come to find this out first hand!

Here are a couple of general principles I follow to keep my meals as cheap as possible:

 

  • Shop out of bulk bins as much as possible. Often items cost much, much less this way. Buying out of bulk bins is especially convenient when buying some ingredients for a new recipe that you don’t have on hand already. You can get just the amount you need, and then next time (if the recipe turns out, that is) you can stock up if you choose.That keeps the trial and error process of finding go-to meals as cost effective as possible. Some of the best bulk bins I’ve found are at Winco and Sprouts.

 

  • Use dried spices instead of fresh ones. Whether a spice is dried or fresh when it goes into a recipe often doesn’t significantly, if at all, alter the taste of the recipe. Buying dried spices can be cheaper and much more convenient. I don’t know about you, but when I have bought fresh spices here and there, I use a tiny little bit and then the rest goes to waste. Also, the jars of dried spices often have equivalency information so you can be sure you’re putting the right amount into your recipe.

Luckily, I have found a few good recipes that vegans and non-vegans alike have enjoyed, so hopefully some of these will ease the struggle for you just a bit. Besides being delicious, each of these recipes and meal ideas is also healthy AND easy AND relatively inexpensive. Three for three. The following are five recipes that I hope will be beneficial to you and your family:

 

Lentil Brown Rice Salad

This is a family favorite that makes a nice, light spring or summer meal when paired with a fresh green salad, cooked veggies, grilled or baked chicken if you aren’t vegetarian, or even grilled tofu if you are vegetarian. I’ve even eaten this as a stand-alone lunch before.

1 ½  cups cooked brown rice (cooked in veggie broth)

1 cup cooked lentils*, cooled

1 cup diced fresh tomatoes

⅓ cup sliced green onions, including tops

1 Tbsp snipped fresh parsley

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 ½ tsp fresh lime juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp Dijon mustard

¼ tsp ground black pepper

Combine rice, lentils, tomatoes, onions, and parsley in medium bowl. Whisk remaining ingredients in small bowl; add to rice mixture and toss. Chill. Makes 4 servings.

*To cook lentils, combine ½ cup dry lentils with 1 cup water in saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Drain.

 

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

Another family favorite! Quinoa is packed with nutrition and is a complete protein by itself, so this salad can be a well-rounded meal by itself since it contains unrefined carbs, protein, vegetables, and a little healthy fat. Again, this can be paired with salad, other veggies, lean meat or tofu, or eaten by itself.

1 cup raw quinoa

1 ¾ cups water or veggie broth

2 Tbsp olive oil, divided

1 tsp grated lime zest

1 Tbsp fresh lime juice

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed

¼-½ cup diced red bell pepper

¼-½ cup diced cucumber

1 roma tomato, chopped

¼ cup fresh cilantro

2 green onions

⅓ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

In a saucepan, combine quinoa, water or broth, and 1 Tbsp of oil. Bring to a boil and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork and let cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl, whisk together lime zest, lime juice, and 1 Tbsp oil.

Transfer the quinoa to a bowl. Add beans, bell pepper, cucumber, tomato, and chopped cilantro. Drizzle with the lime mixture and toss gently to coat.

Serve warm or chilled. Makes 4 servings and 6 cups total.

 

Baked Potatoes

A baked potato bar is a great way for families to eat together while letting family members personalize their own meals. Some of my favorite toppings as a vegan are salsa, green onions, and guacamole. For non-vegans, sour cream, cheese, and butter are some additional options. Chili or leftover chunky soup or stew are other tasty toppings. A simple green salad really compliments these well, and feel free to add meat or tofu to round out the meal, if desired.

I usually follow this aluminum foil oven baking method from “The Kitchn” website.

 

Tomato Basil Cream Pasta

Some people live on Ramen noodles their freshman year of college (and for the duration in a lot of cases– let’s be real); however, I lived on this stuff. It’s quick and easy, and you can substitute ½ to ¾ a can of plain diced tomatoes for the fresh tomato called for in the recipe for convenience. Bulk bins are a great place to look for affordable prices on cashews.You could use whole wheat or brown rice pasta to make this very healthy, or you could even swap out pasta for quinoa. Add a cooked or raw veggie on the side and you’ve got a complete, hearty, nutritionally balanced meal!

Here is the recipe.

 

Easy Vegetable Curry

This goes together so quickly and so easily! It has a very mild flavor, as far as curries go, so don’t be scared if you’re weary of strong flavors. This goes great over rice, quinoa, or even pasta. Because it’s a vegetable curry, no additional vegetables are required to make this a complete meal–bonus! As always, a side of lean meat would be a healthy addition for non-vegetarians.

Here is the recipe.

 

Happy cooking!

By Samantha Bullock

 

Poppy Seed Dressing

by Cody Phillips

Whether it’s beginning to look a lot like springtime where you live or you’re still stuck in a polar vortex, a fresh spinach salad sprinkled with homemade poppy seed dressing will always brighten your day.

Continue reading

Healthy Recipes in College

by Amanda Ricks

As a follow-up to my last blog post on eating healthy in college, the following are a few recipes that are both healthy and cheap!

 

Carrot Cake and Zucchini Bread Oatmeal

½ cup steel-cut oats
1 ½ cups vanilla-flavored nondairy milk (coconut, almond, rice, soy, etc.)
1 small carrot, grated
¼ small zucchini, grated
Pinch of salt
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
½ tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. brown sugar or maple syrup
¼ cup chopped pecans

Directions:

  1. The night before, oil the crock of your slow cooker. Combine all ingredients, except pecans. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
  2. In the morning, stir the oatmeal, taste and adjust the seasonings, and add more milk if needed. Top with the chopped pecans.

 

This recipe is absolutely delicious. Whenever I make it, I find myself so excited to go to bed at night because I know I will wake up to the delicious smell of oatmeal.

 

Fruit Trifle (from chefintraining.com)

Fruit:

Fresh pineapple
Fresh strawberries
Seedless green grapes
Seedless red grapes
Bananas

Topping:
1 ¼ cups milk
½ cup sour cream
8oz. crushed pineapple
1 (3.25 oz) package instant banana cream pudding

 

Directions:

  1. Layer fruit in a large bowl or trifle bowl.
  2. For the topping, whisk all ingredients together until well combined. Spread over the top of trifle.
  3. Arrange any extra fruit on top for a pretty presentation.

 

This fruit trifle is delicious. When I made this, I used sugar-free pudding. Not a good idea. Stick with the regular pudding and trust the fruit to keep it healthy.

 

 

BBQ Chicken Ranch Salad

1 bag Spring Mix lettuce
½ can black beans, drained
½ can corn, drained
½ red pepper, chopped
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 lime
1 bag corn chips
4 chicken breasts
½ cup BBQ sauce

Dressing:

1 ½ cup ranch dressing (not buttermilk ranch, just regular)
¾ cup BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Ray’s is my favorite)

Note: For smaller amounts, use 2 parts ranch to 1 part BBQ sauce.

 

Directions:

  1. Put the chicken into a 9 x 13 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Pour the BBQ sauce over the top. Bake at 400°F for about 25–30 minutes. Once it has cooled, chop or shred chicken into 1-inch pieces.
  2. Chop up the lettuce and place in a large bowl.
  3. Add the corn, beans, and chopped red pepper to the salad greens. Add the chicken, chips, and cheese, and squirt the lime all over the top.

 

I use this recipe all the time. It’s a big crowd pleaser and tastes like it would be a lot harder to make than it actually is.

 

2 Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins (from www.food.com)

18 ounces spice cake mix
15 ounces pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

Directions:

  1. Simply mix the pumpkin and the spice cake mix together with electric mixer until well combined.
  2. Spoon into small, paper-lined muffin/cupcake tins, 2/3 full. (The batter is very thick and doesn’t “settle,” so you may wish to smooth the tops if you care what the finished product looks like!)
  3. Bake at 350°F for 18–22 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

 

What kind of recipe collection would this be without a dessert? When I made these muffins, I substituted devil’s food cake for the spice cake mix. I also added in chocolate chips and peanut butter dollops because I was making them for company. They are delicious with or without these things added in.

Five Ways To Eat Healthier in College

by Amanda Ricks

Eating healthy while in college can be a daunting task. Fast food restaurants, particularly ones with a dollar menu, are cheap and easily accessible, and this convenience can sometimes outweigh the negative consequences of eating foods that have been fried, saturated, or greased.

The following are some tips for cleaning up your diet:

  1. Stock your refrigerator with fresh fruits and vegetables. When it comes to a late night craving, you won’t feel guilty if you’ve snacked on carrots or grapes rather than a doughnut or chocolate cake.
  2. Plan time for your meals. If you plan time, you are more likely to eat a balanced and nutritious meal.
  3. Don’t always fall for the “free candy” gimmicks thrown at you by different clubs. Generally, the piece of taffy isn’t worth the time or signing a piece of paper. If the treat is your sole incentive for going to meetings, perhaps you could better spend your time making yourself a healthier meal that can fill you with nutrients.
  4. Make a shopping list. If you buy food and have meals planned, it will mostly end with pleasing results for your body and your pocketbook.
  5. Take healthy snacks to campus with you. If you have some almonds or dried fruit with you, you are less likely to buy a high-fat, high-sugar candy bar because you’re hungry in between classes. Additionally, carry water around with you on campus. Staying hydrated is key to being healthy.

Eating healthy in college can be affordable if the necessary time is put in. Who knows? Maybe next time you are thinking about making cookies for that cute boy in your ward, you can take him a plate of carrots instead.