Whether a student lives in an apartment or university accommodation, the time and budget restraints of university can make cooking healthy vegetarian meals appear difficult. These same restraints often compel many students to eat inexpensive fat-laden convenience foods. By investing in some basic time-saving kitchen appliances and spending some time shopping and meal planning, vegetarian students can cook and prepare simple, healthy and low-fat meals and snacks.
Whether you dine in your room or eat in the cafeteria, breakfast usually offers a plethora of meal options for vegetarians. Skip the bacon, sausage and fatty foods and dine on yoghurt sprinkled with fruit and granola. Add a protein boost to plain toast by slathering it with peanut butter. If time-pressed, grab a cereal bar or a bagel spread with cream cheese or a dairy-free cream cheese substitute.
Although many university lunches tend to focus on burgers, hot dogs and lunch meat sandwiches, vegetarian options are plentiful. Create a salad out of mixed greens, carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms and other veggies. Top it with black beans, cheddar cheese and salsa for a veg-friendly "taco" salad or with garbanzo beans, cucumbers, feta cheese and a splash of olive oil and vinegar for a protein-filled Greek salad.
Make some quinoa or brown rice--you can do so in the microwave if you lack access to a stove. Add beans, olive oil, leftover veggies, curry powder or herbs for a low-fat, vegetarian lunch. You can fortify a cup of Ramen noodles, the traditional fare of many starving college students, by adding some leftover veggies or tofu. Try spicing them up by including a bit of curry powder and red pepper flakes. Just take a few minutes in the grocery store aisle to verify that the noodles you choose don't contain any type of meat by-products.
By shopping in bulk for dried and fresh fruits, inexpensive vegetables and dry snacks, vegetarian uni students can ensure they always have plentiful snack options. Microwave popcorn also makes a tasty snack option---try dipping it into spaghetti sauce to add a bit of extra vitamins to your diet. Celery and carrots dipped into peanut butter or hummus help keep energy levels high throughout the day.
Regardless of the type of kitchen set-up available to you, investing in a crock pot and/or electric wok can help make vegetarian dinner preparation easier for time-pressed college students. Just about any type of vegetable lends itself to a tasty stir-fry. Try red peppers, some type of green vegetable (mangetout, kale or chard) and tofu seasoned with soy or teriyaki sauce. Or mix cabbage (usually an inexpensive vegetable) with canned pineapple, broccoli and red onion. Season the concoction with a splash of red wine or balsamic vinegar. Serve your stir-fries over brown rice or whole grain noodles.
Let your crock pot do the cooking while you are in class. Fill it with a cup of brown rice and 65 grams (½ cup) of lentils. Dice an onion, sauté it and add it to the pot. Season the mixture to taste with curry and garlic powders. Pour 455 grams (3 ½ cups) of vegetable broth into the crock pot and cook on low four to five hours.
Turn two tortillas into satisfying quesadillas by filling them with refried beans, cheese and other goodies like sautéed peppers, onions, mushrooms or spinach, and cooking over a hotplate or stove until lightly brown.
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