College can be a lot. Whether it’s your first year living on your own, or you’ve been doing the undergrad or grad student thing for a minute, the grind is so real. With a schedule packed with classes, labs, and study groups, networking and socializing, internships and jobs, it’s kind of a miracle there’s any time left to take care of yourself.
When you were living at home, your parents may have made at least some of your food decisions for you. Now, you’re having to figure that out for yourself day after day, and making smart choices can be harder than you think, especially when you’re crunched for time or burned out.
Two of the key nutritional elements that are often missing from grab-and-go and convenience foods are: fiber and protein. Stereotypical “college” foods, like pizza, burgers, and sandwiches, are often high in fat and carbs but not particularly well-rounded with fiber and protein. One simple way to affordably and simply feed yourself is with tasty plant-fueled foods that are no biggie to prepare.
If your dorm room or apartment’s kitchen is limited or non-existent, keeping non-refrigerated fruits around makes breakfast or an afternoon snack easy-peasy. Some suggestions: clementines, apples, bananas, kiwi fruits, cherry tomatoes, and stone fruits, like peaches, plums and nectarines.
Got a mini fridge? Then you can go one step further with satisfying, crunchy veggies, like baby carrots and mini cucumbers, and hummus, guacamole, and other healthy dips. Plant-based cheese, stuffed grape leaves, and olives are nice to keep chilled for when salty cravings hit! And with a fridge, you can even keep simple ingredients on-hand for making delicious meals for yourself.
For a hearty lunch or dinner, here’s a hack: A box of ZENB Pasta Agile cooks up in under 3 minutes — yes, that’s less time than the new Olivia Rodrigo single — thanks to its unique shape, and makes the perfect base for a quick dinner that will power you through a late-night paper-writing sesh. Made with 100% yellow peas (for more on these magical legumes, head here), ZENB pasta is packed with vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber, and it’s gluten-free, too!
If you’re really short on time, try Pasta Agile tossed with ZENB Skillet Sauce, savory sauces made from plants and aromatics in crave-worthy flavors, like Ginger Miso and Classic Chili. You basically cook and drain the pasta, then toss it with a sauce pouch. Boom: a healthy meal that’s ready in under five minutes.
If your kitchen set-up includes a microwave, that also opens new possibilities for you. Sure, you can make popcorn and heat up soup, but did you know that microwaves are actually really handy tools for cooking without fire? They can make perfectly steamed fish, baked potatoes, and even pasta! Check out our blog post for more info about how to cook with a microwave.
For a top-notch on-the-go meal that can be made in the microwave, stock up on ZENB Agile Bowls, which are light years beyond tyipcal college microwave meals like ramen. Our bowls, which cook up in 3 minutes, contain 13 to 14 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber, and they’re all vegan. Plus, there are six bowls to choose from, each inspired by an exciting global cuisine: Mexican Street Corn, Vegetable Thai Curry, Red Pepper Harissa, Tomato Basil Pesto and Zesty Garlic Spinach. They make a nutritious (and affordable) alternative to takeout or fast food.
If you’re a college student embarking on your own journey of self-sufficiency and cooking for yourself, check out the ZENB Blog for more cooking tips, tricks, and hacks, and explore the ZENB recipe collection, which is packed with inspired-but-easy meal ideas. Follow ZENB on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest for more fresh content on living a balanced life.