Living off campus with no access to a kitchen of any kind sucks. Like, really sucks. When I first moved into Greek housing and realized that on the weekends I would be expected to make my own meals with nothing more than a microwave and a toaster, I was left in a panic.
As a dietetics major, making sure that I could prepare healthy meals inexpensively was a huge concern for me. After about a week of buying Chipotle for every meal, I realized that Target Express sold healthy, affordable food choices that didn’t require me to cook anything.
Once I found these products and learned how to cook them with what little kitchenware I had, I was in business.
1. Arnold Sandwich Thins
Go for the whole wheat version. These beauties are only 100 calories a piece, and each have 20 grams of whole grains, which can reduce your risk of heart disease and keep you fuller longer. Try topping these with peanut butter, hummus, or adding in some low-sodium lunch meat to make a sandwich.
2. Archer Farms Steam-In-Bag Vegetables
Whether you want sweet potatoes, green beans, or cauliflower, Target Express has it in stock. These vegetables come portioned out perfectly, and all you have to do is stick them in the microwave to create a nutritious side dish. For extra flavor, try adding different spices, which can be found in the bread aisle.
3. Target brand Healthy Smoked Honey Turkey Breast
Per serving, this turkey has only 60 calories and 360 mg of sodium, which is only 15% of the recommended daily amount. There are about four servings per container, and it's a great addition to a bagel, English muffin, or a slice of whole wheat bread.
4. Chobani Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt has about twice as much protein as regular yogurt, keeping you fuller longer and helping to build strong muscles. It also contains calcium, a nutrient that many students do not get enough of and which helps to maintain healthy bones. Go for a low-fat version for the healthiest possible option, and be sure to try different flavors.
#SpoonTip: The fruity flavors tend to have less sugar, which is even better!
5. Quaker Oatmeal Packs
No one wanted to eat oatmeal as a kid, but I promise it's actually pretty good. Quaker sells boxes of single-serve packages with amazing flavors, like Maple & Brown Sugar and Apples & Cinnamon. All you have to do is add water and microwave for 1 minute, and you have a healthy, cheap breakfast that tastes great. Try topping it with berries or walnuts for added nutrients.
While living in a situation with no kitchen isn’t ideal, it’s still possible to make healthy meals for yourself without spending all of your money. Remember, Kraft is never the only option.