Ah, college life. Enigmatically fast-paced and painstakingly slow at the same time. If you're anything like me, you'll agree that while the weeks feel long, each day is a new battle against the clock to finish your work on time and somehow manage to take care of yourself in the minutes you have to spare.

When it comes to food, many of us resort to quick, unhealthy snacks or skipped meals during the stressful days in order to keep up with our heavy workloads. Well, suffer no longer, students! Here's the gift you didn't know you needed: four time-saving food hacks to accommodate your busy schedule.

Grocery Shop With a Plan

beer, wine
Zoe Zaiss

And yes, that means with a list. Grocery lists are underrated and under-appreciated. Going in with a plan of exactly what kinds of food and snacks you'll need for the week is a guaranteed way to save time and money in the store. 

When writing up your list, consider what type of meals you might want to make and any alternatives that might make cooking simpler and faster—such as using frozen, pre-cut fruits and vegetables as opposed to ones you'd have to prepare on your own. 

Plan Meals in Advance

lettuce, carrot, corn, tomato, salad, onion, vegetable, pepper
Angela Kerndl

Admittedly, this may be moreso a simple piece of advice than a "hack," but it's a super helpful habit to get into when it comes to saving time! Having the chance to cook a nice meal over the weekend (if you're a culinary spirit) is something of which we should all take full advantage. If the food you make can last a few days in the fridge, double or triple your recipe instead of making a single serving.

Instead of eyeballing how much uncooked pasta you think you can eat in one sitting, make the whole box! Then, refrigerate your leftovers in portioned-out Tupperware and voila! Suddenly, you have an instant microwaveable meal for a night when you're too stressed out to even order a pizza. Pro tip: Your microwave is your friend, not your enemy. 

Microwaving Meals

coffee, beer, tea
Rebecca Block

Speaking of your microwave, there are so many more incredible foods that you can make in mere minutes than just the mug-cakes that you see on your Facebook news feed (although those can be great). The microwave gets a bad rep—yes, food is better when cooked in the oven or on a stovetop, and this is something we can all agree on.

But, I'm not suggesting that you should live off of Lean Cuisines during exam week. You can actually make some great eggs and omelets, homemade soup, baked potatoes, and even lasagna and spaghetti dinners with nothing other than your microwave and a few minutes of your time. No more excuses!

Sort Out Your Snacks

sweet, candy, chocolate
Sydney Davis

This one takes some patience and organization but can potentially make a huge difference if you're a busy, on-the-go student. Over the weekend, when you're lucky enough (hopefully, for your sake) to have a couple of minutes to spare, sort out your groceries and snacks into plastic baggies. It may help to pretend that you're a soccer mom packing lunch for her high-maintenance kids.

With this setup, instead of frantically fumbling to find some crumbled chips and a granola bar when you accidentally sleep in too late, you can quickly grab an assorted snack bag on your way out the door.

While this time-saver may seem minimal, sometimes small changes can create big differences—if you feel a bit more organized and put together, you might become motivated enough to make it a habit. 

Ultimately, we can all afford to add some extra time into our schedules to ease stress. It is a strange truth for college students that while we need and love to eat, sometimes we feel as if we have to prioritize academics over our basic human needs.

Keep in mind that while you might save some time for your schoolwork with these hacks, you should also consider giving yourself some time to relax and recoup. You definitely need it.