Eating Healthy on a College Budget

Eating Healthy on a College Budget

5 things to make that won't break your bank.
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As college students, we know a lot about time management, hard work, and budgeting. Well, trying to budget that is. With our daily schedules being jam-packed with classes, homework, Greek life and everything in between, we want to at least squeeze in a healthy meal or two.  

Healthy lifestyles make us feel better about ourselves personally and physiologically. A few proven benefits of eating healthy are an energy boost, an improvement in mood, a stronger immune system and overall health. Eating well doesn't have to be more expensive and time consuming. Here are 5 quick and relatively cheap meal ideas you can try to improve your eating habits.

1. NutriBullet smoothies. Over the summer, I purchased a NutriBullet and I can say that it was worth every penny. Not only can it make a quick breakfast or snack, but also the smoothie actually tastes wonderful without adding any preservatives or sugar. I would suggest filling the NutriBullet cup up halfway with spinach (yes, you can actually put spinach in it and you will not even taste it), and then adding your favorite fruits, greek yogurt, and nutritional supplements, such as flax seed. If you don't like your smoothie being a green color, add blueberries to change the color. A ripe banana is really good at hiding the taste of things that you put in solely for the nutritional benefit.

2.Ground-Turkey Tacos. An easy and equally tasty meal option is a turkey taco. It is the same as making regular tacos except you use ground turkey, a healthy alternative to ground beef. Fill your tacos with low-fat cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce. Enjoy the Mexican goodness. 

3. Soups. You can find many recipes for soups that are relatively cheap and healthy online. You want to find a soup that is not cream-based and, if possible, has a protein such as beans or chicken to keep you full. One nice thing about making soups is that you can make a lot and then keep the leftovers to easily reheat and have another delicious meal.  

4. Sautéed chicken, broccoli and brown rice. Chicken is easy to cook and goes well with anything. I suggest making this meal with brown rice because it is also easy to make and cheap. Broccoli is delicious and it's a good source to get your vegetables for the meal.    

5. Carb-controlled pasta with Marinara. Pasta has to be a favorite meal for college students because it is an easy-to-make, versatile dish. I really enjoy making the Dreamfields Healthy Carb Living pasta because it has 5 grams of Fiber and 7 grams of protein per serving, and tastes just like regular pasta. Serve with marinara and enjoy! 

Cover Image Credit: 123rf.com/profile_subbotina

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I'm The Customer That Doesn't Always Tip 20 Percent

I can be your best friend or your worst nightmare, but it depends on YOU.
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As a server, I fully understand that myself, and others like me, make a living off of our tips.

I know how nice it is to get a $50 tip and how frustrating it is to get merely change when you did everything you could to make the unpleasable table happy. I am well aware that an acceptable tip is anywhere from 15-20% and I typically tip way over that.
However, I can easily say that there have been times where I have tipped anywhere from 5-15%. In these times, the tip was well deserved...or not deserved.

As before mentioned, I am a server, bartender, and part-time restaurant manager. It is safe to say that I know the business quite well. This makes me aware of the tipping process and what is deemed acceptable, but it also makes me aware of what a serving job entails. We are, without a doubt, the worst critics when we are out to eat. We noticed everything you did or didn't do and we timed how long it took to get our drinks -- it's just in our blood.

We also notice if you are genuinely good at your job, or if you are just there to be there.

The key point to any serving job is knowledge. I, as a customer, expect you to be able to answer almost all of my questions. If I ask you something absurd like "exactly where was your lettuce grown?" ....Like what the f****? Who knows that? But when I ask what beers you have on draft, or what all comes on a salad, I expect you to know it. If you don't, I dock it off your tip. No, it's not mean, it's you not holding up your end of the deal when you started this job.

I know that sometimes you get busy and it's hard to cater to someone's every need, but I do expect my refills in a timely manner and would also expect you to check back with me shortly after I get my food to make sure everything tastes good. I feel like that all is just common sense. If I have to wait for five minutes with an empty glass before I even have the chance to call you over, that's going to affect your tip. If you never check up on me after I get my food, guess what, I take it off your tip. If something goes wrong in the kitchen or you forgot to put my order in, do not avoid me. Tell me. I know how hard it is to tell a table that you are the one who screwed up their experience, but it is so much better to be honest and shows more about your integrity than by saying, "I don't know, the kitchen lost your ticket. There was a computer malfunction and then things caught fire. The firemen had to come and put it out, and then they found your ticket under the smoldering embers...so that's why your steak is five minutes late.".... Just tell me you got busy and it slipped your mind. I'm okay with that.

The worst one to me is when I see my server on her phone. I know that today's generation has some need to be in contact with everyone 24/7 and I have learned to accept that. But when I need something at my table, and you fail to notice because your girl friend just broke up with her boyfriend who cheated on her with his supposed best friend...I'm not going to be happy. You are here to work and this is your job. And, not to be conceded, but I come first. I am the one paying the bill that allows you to keep that phone your on in service, so make sure that I am happy before Samantha can't call you the next time shit hits the fan with Andrew. It's common sense.

Despite all of these, probably the number one thing I look for in a server is a positive attitude. We all have our own lives outside of work, and not to be cold, but I don't really care about yours. I am here for a nice dinner and a night out to not worry about my own crazy life let alone wonder about yours. As soon as you walk into work, the outside world needs to stay there. Do not be in a terrible mood because your girlfriend is psycho. Do not show the customer that you simply don't want to be at work. You don't want to be -- I don't tip you. Easy as that. If you engage in even a small conversation with me, I will tip you more than expected. I am extremely easy to please and really understanding.

I know that every place is different and every store/restaurant has different standards, but I the guest-service industry all lies on the same guidelines. The number one rule is to make the guest happy. I am not that guest who asks for the world from my server. Nor am I that guest who doesn't tip my server if my food came out overcooked or doesn't taste good. I know what lies on the server and what lies in other areas of the store. I know what they can and can't control.
As a customer, I can be your best or your worst, but that all lies on the service that I receive from YOU.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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Pho Fixes Everything

A bowl a pho keeps everything bad away.

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Pho might just be the best thing my taste buds have ever endured. If you haven't had pho, you're missing out. It's a Vietnamese soup, but it's not just any soup; it's the soup to my heart.

And no, this is not like ramen. It makes ramen look like random noodles in a bowl of water….yeah I know that's basically what it is, but you get the point.

Pho helps with everything. Having a bad day? Pho. Want to have 2 meals, one here and one to go? Pho. Bad break up? Pho. Need some emotional support? PHO IT UP.

Best part, there are so many options for pho. If you're vegetarian, no worries, there's pho for you. If you don't like spice, no worries! There's pho for you! If you love different kinds of meats… THERE'S PHO FOR YOU.

Please, everyone, just go get a bowl of pho and be happy. Doesn't matter if it's 100 degrees out or -13, pho is still amazing. You won't regret it.

Not going to lie, I'm craving it just from typing this.

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