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


  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


Fresh pineapple
Fresh strawberries
Seedless green grapes
Seedless red grapes

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



  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


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.



  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

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


  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.