Healthy Eating On A College Budget Is Possible

Healthy Eating On A College Budget Is Possible

Trying to eat healthy on a college budget is not easy, but here is a simple recipe that is not only healthy, cheap, and yields a lot, but it can fit your cravings.


When in college, it is very hard to find time to not only cook, but to find options that are healthy, inexpensive, filling, and don't taste like you are eating grass. Fortunately, through the changes in my diet and overall lifestyle that I have been making for a little over a year now, I have found a really great recipe that is not only healthy, filling and tastes great, but it is inexpensive and you can make it in big portions to freeze or prepare for a whole week of meals!

The recipe that I make quite often I call a spring roll mix. Now, this recipe contains ground beef, however, it can be altered by using chicken instead of beef for those who don't eat red meat or for vegetarians and vegans by eliminating the meat! In addition, I do not use exact measurements when I make these recipes, I eyeball it based on how much I am making at the time. I also use organic grass fed ground beef, organic free range non-gmo chicken, organic rice, organic vegetables, and organic seasonings. Again, these are my personal preferences, but I understand as college students that not everyone can afford to eat organically. Therefore, if non-organic meats, produce, and seasonings need to be purchased to accommodate your budget that is perfectly fine! It is definitely better than simply eating a bag of Cheetos for dinner!

For the spring roll mix, I buy adobo seasoning, microwave rice, organic grass-fed beef, red or orange bell peppers, frozen broccoli, bean sprouts, basil, cilantro, green onion, and a pre-made coleslaw mix that consists of carrots, cabbage, and cucumber. Now, depending on how much I want to make, that influences how much ground beef and vegetables I add. I usually cook around one package of ground beef, which equates to about 4 or 5 portions that I then freeze or store in the fridge for a few days.

To start, I cook the frozen broccoli in boiling water on the stove. Following that, I cut the bell peppers in medium-sized pieces and dice the green onion. I also dice the basil and cilantro. I then begin to add the bell peppers followed by the green onion, coleslaw mix and bean sprouts. After they are slightly cooked I take them and the broccoli off the heat, strain the broccoli, and put all of the vegetables in a mixing bowl. In the same pan, I add the ground beef, basil, and cilantro, and while that cooks, I put the rice in the microwave. Before the ground beef cooks all the way through, I add the vegetables and adobo seasoning to the beef, allow it to cook a little more, and then take it off the heat. I don't cook the beef all of the way through and the reason I do this is to prevent the beef from drying out when I take it out of the freezer to reheat.

Now it is time to portion! After gathering all my storage containers I add a cup of rice to each container and then try to evenly divide the meat and vegetable mixture to each container. To add some crispness and freshness to the meal I will also add water chestnuts, sugar snap peas, and fresh bell pepper after I defrost and reheat the meal.

When I make the spring roll recipe with chicken, I go through all of the same steps except I cut the chicken into small pieces, and I also buy a white onion. I cube and roast the onion in the pan to add more of a barbeque chicken kabob flare to the recipe, but other than that, everything else is the same!

Like I said, this recipe isn't an exact science and I do a lot of eyeballing. But, it is super simple, healthy, tasty, inexpensive, and can be adapted to make several different variations and fit the eating accommodations for different people. However, the best part is that you can make this recipe in one portion or make it in several portions to freeze for the week and it becomes a great time saver!

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How To Play 'New Girl's' True American Drinking Game

"It's 75% drinking, 20% Candy Land, and the floor is molten lava."

I think it's fair to say that anyone who watches "New Girl" knows about True American. This crazy, nonsense drinking game which pops up every so often throughout the seasons and first introduced in season one, episode 20.

The game, as described by "New Girl" character and fan-favorite Schmidt, is 75% drinking game and 20% Candy Land with a floor of molten lava.

The point of the game is for players to navigate through the Candy Land-like spaces to the "castle," which is a table in the center of the room that holds beer "pawns" and the "king" bottle. The first person to reach and sip from the bottle wins.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things "New Girl" Fans Know to Be True

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Here's how to play:

Step #1: Prepare the "castle"

First, set up your "castle." The castle is made up of beer "pawns" and the "king," a bottle filled with the alcohol of your choice.

The bottle should be in the middle of the table, surrounded by four lines of beer pawns. There is no exact number of beers necessary for each line of beer pawns. Choose any amount of beers that seems appropriate for the amount of players.

Step #2: Set up spaces

Set up spaces using pillows, chairs or any other objects players will be able to stand on. Place an equal amount of spaces around the table. You'll want about 5-8 spaces on each side, depending on the size of the room you're playing in.

Only four of these spaces should reach the castle, lining up with the parade of beer "pawns" and allowing players to take a beer pawn from the castle. For example, in the photo above, each of the chairs touch a corner of the table at the end of the line of beer pawns. Therefore, these are two of the four special spaces that allow players to take a beer. Unlike the pillows pictured, which are just regular spaces that the players can use to move around.

Step #3: Pick teams

Teams are optional. To pick teams, all of the players will place a certain number (1 to 5) of fingers against their forehead on the count of three.

Any players who hold up the same number are a team. Unmatched players can team up as needed or simply pair up with the person standing closest to them.

Step #4: Begin

Begin with a shotgun "tip-off" to determine which player goes first.

The winner of this shotgunning contest will yell, "One, two, three...JFK!" to announce the official beginning of the game. All players will enthusiastically respond, "FDR!" then quickly grab a beer pawn from the castle and run to any space they wish to start at, excluding for the four special spaces that reach the castle.

Step #5: Make moves

The winner of the shotgunning contest has earned the first turn. From then on, the order of turns will move in a clockwise rotation. During each turn, the player will move one space toward the castle and choose to play one of the following mini-games.

Mini-game No. 1: The player whose turn it is will count to three then all players will place a certain number (1-5) of fingers on their forehead. Any player who selects a number no one else selected can move ONE space.

Mini-game No. 2: The player whose turn it is will recite the beginning of a famous American quote. The first player to complete the quote can move TWO spaces.

Mini-game No. 3: The player whose turn it is will name two famous American people, places, or things. The first player to identify what the two have in common can move THREE spaces.

For example, say it's your turn. You will move one space then choose one of the three mini-games. You and all of the players will participate in that game, and the winner will move accordingly. After this, your turn is over and it's the next player's turn (in the original clockwise rotation).

Step #6: "Play on, playa."

Continue playing by these rules until one lucky winner reaches the bottle and sips from its royal glass.

The bottle cannot be opened until every last pawn is removed from the castle. Any players who fail to keep at least one beer in hand, who accidentally end up with more than three beers in hand, or who touch the lava are immediately disqualified. Disqualified players can rejoin the game by shotgunning a beer.


You are now able to impress all of your "New Girl"-loving friends with knowledge of the workings of the epic True American drinking game. Know your limits, drink responsibly, and enjoy!

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'Oh, You're A Vegan?'

When I tell people I'm vegan, people give me that exasperated look.


When I first decided to try and become vegan, I got a lot of mixed results. Some people were extremely for it, while other people looked at me like I had gone off the deep end. After a while and even now, I like to play a game of guessing what reaction I will get from people when I tell them about my dietary habits. Unlike a lot of other people who decided to go vegan for the ethical reasons, I kind of fell into it based on me realizing that half the stuff I was putting into my body was making me want to curl up in a ball and only come out for dollars on Wednesday nights at Taylor's. Through the last year and a half, I have learned a lot, from tips and tricks to making food taste good, to some added benefits of being on a plant free lifestyle. So for all the haters, vegan enthusiasts and people looking into making the leap, enjoy!

1. Trust me, its not all just vegetables.....there's other stuff too.

One of the biggest mistakes or misconceptions about being vegan is that all we eat are plants or vegetables. I will be the first to assure you that that piece of information is not true. There are tons of things we can eat if you are creative. Learning what you like and what you can eat will all come with practice. You might have to experiment a little before you find your groove, but it will happen. I would also put money on the fact that you might find yourself having that moment halfway through a bowl of Cornbread Cafes vegan Mac and cheese. Just saying.

2. No allergies in Eugene, too good to be true!

One of the best things that I noticed about becoming vegan didn't become obvious until a few months later. For anyone who has lived in Eugene, OR through the springtime, you know what I am referring too. Allergies are monstrously bad here as we are in the middle of a basin and many people have to shut in themselves to not like, die. I was always one of those people, but last spring and this one so far as well I have noticed a crazy change. While I still get itchy eyes and sneeze occasionally, I no longer want to live in my bed where the pollen can't reach me! The vegan diet has been proven to reduce the levels of allergy issues that people have faced so basically if you're driving people crazy with your sneezing, maybe cut out the glass of milk in the morning.

3. Happy skin, happy day! 

Another benefit to being vegan is clear skin. A lot of people who are vegan tend to have clear skin that is acne free. That is not always the case, but there is 1 key reason why shiny skin comes from veganism. Dairy and meat products are not the skins best friend according to dermatologists. Both are chock full of hormones that aren't good for our bodies. Dermatologist William Danby even calls cow's milk "nature's perfect food for the creation of acne." So you might want to kiss that ice cream goodbye.

4.  There are lots of Vegan options, you just have to look!

Like I said above, there is a gross misconception that the only things Vegans eat are vegetables. There are so many different things that are incredibly good and don't have any animal products in them. Also, vegan restaurants are popping up all over the place now so you will able to eat out in peace and rest easy knowing your environmental footprint will be smaller. Some of my personal Eugene favorites are Cornbread Cafe, Morning Glory, the Veg and surprisingly Tacovore. Their tofu tacos are to die for! If you're more of a homebody though there are a lot of different well-known brands such as Ben and Jerrys and Carls Junior that are coming out with vegan alternatives!

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