This summer, college students are working jobs, internships, taking classes, and spending more time with friends. It can be hard to have the energy to spend a long time cooking dinner. I asked college students at Florida State what their quick, go-to healthy meals are, and they delivered some tried-and-true recipes you easily can whip up in your dorm or apartment kitchen.

Rice Dishes

Brown Rice + Frozen Vegetables + Soy Sauce

Take-out food, who? 

1. Boil water with a pinch of salt in a large pot.

2. Add 1 cup rice to 1¾ cups water.

3. Turn the stovetop to medium heat, and follow the instructions on the bag or box of rice of your choosing in order to ensure the optimal cooking time.

4. While rice is cooking, defrost and dice vegetables of your choice. Carrots, onions, edamame, corn, and bell peppers are all great additions to your rice.

5. Fluff rice with fork once cooked, and let cool off for about 20 minutes.

6. Mix in 1 tablespoon of soy sauce to taste, as well as vegetables into the rice.

Brown Rice + Black Beans + Bell Peppers + Sriracha

A very basic dinner with a kick.

1. Follow steps 1-5 from above.

2. Mix in canned black beans, diced bell pepper, and top with a drizzle of sriracha sauce.

Pasta Dishes

Black Bean Pasta + Sauce + Spinach

Consider pasta alternatives such as black bean or quinoa pasta for a healthier take!

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil with a pinch of salt. It is recommended to use four quarts of water for every pound of pasta.

2. Add pasta, and stir occasionally.

3. Ensure the proper cooking time by reading the package. When testing the noodle, make sure it is chewy; not too firm but not overdone.

4. Drain pasta in colander

5. While the noodles are boiling, heat up a saucepan on medium heat for the spinach.

6. Melt enough butter to coat the bottom of the pan, and add spinach.

7. Cook the spinach for 1-2 minutes, until slightly wilted.

8. Return noodles to the pot, stir in a sauce of choice over low heat and add spinach last.

Fettuccini + Zucchini + Squash + Mushrooms + Feta

A light meal with grains, produce, and dairy.

1. Follow pasta cooking steps 1-4 above.

2. While pasta is cooking, wash and cut up zucchini, squash, and mushrooms

3. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to a saucepan over medium heat.

4. Add in vegetables, and stir frequently. It is suggested to include salt and pepper to taste, as well as a tablespoon of lemon juice.

5. Top the cooked pasta with a serving of vegetables and crumbled feta.

Gnocchi + Turkey Sausage + Tomato Sauce

Are you dining on the Tuscan countryside or in your dorm kitchen? Same thing, right?

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil, with a pinch of salt.

2. Slowly add the gnocchi to the boiling water and stir regularly.

3. Gnocchi will cook for a minute after they rise to the surface of the water. 

4. Drain gnocchi in a colander, and set aside in bowl.

5. In a separate pot on medium heat, add chopped turkey sausage and a jar of tomato sauce, stirring regularly.

6. When meat sauce is warm, stir in gnocchi.

7. Top with cheese of choice, and garnish with basil (optional).


Toast + Avocado + Cream Cheese + Egg

The basic avocado toast has received a protein upgrade.

1. Warm a saucepan to medium heat.

2. After adding olive oil, crack an egg so as to not break the yolk. Cook until preferred consistency, sunny side up (pictured) is optimal.

3. Peel and remove pit from an avocado

4. Mash avocado in a bowl along with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

5. Toast a piece of bread (sourdough recommended) until golden.

6. Spread cream cheese on bread, then a layer of avocado, and place egg on top.

Vegetable Dishes

Zucchini + Olive Oil + Lemon Juice + Salt and Pepper

The easiest meal preparation imaginable; whip this up when you cannot wait any longer to start eating.

1. Wash and chop 1-2 zucchini. Cut either in spears or discs for even cooking.

2. Bring a saucepan to medium heat, and coat bottom with a teaspoon of olive oil.

3. Carefully add zucchini and cook until both sides are golden.

4. Add salt, pepper, and the juice of one lemon for the last minute of cooking

Zucchini + Diced Tomatoes + Basil 

A one-pan operation for a hearty stew.

1. Wash and dice two zucchini.

2. Select two 14.5-ounce cans of pre-diced tomatoes with basil and garlic included.

3. Bring a saucepan to medium heat, add all components and cover, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.

4. Add salt to taste.

Variety of Fresh Vegetables + Olive Oil + Salt and Pepper

Use your sheet pan to cook up in-season vegetables for a filling dinner.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Chop vegetables of choice for your sheet pan meal. Recommended vegetables include asparagus, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, bell peppers, carrots, and broccoli.

3. On a sheet pan, cover the bottom with parchment paper, and lay out vegetables to be cooked.

4. Drizzle the vegetables with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and toss until vegetables are coated.

5. Sprinkle vegetables with salt and pepper once laid on sheet.

6. Cook for 30 minutes, until vegetables begin to brown.

Meat-Based Dishes

Pineapple Teriyaki Marinade + Chicken Breasts

Pineapple teriyaki marinade makes chicken taste like a true summer cook-out meal.

1. Select desired amount of raw chicken breasts, and place them in a gallon-sized bag.

2. Pierce chicken with fork in order to allow for easy marination.

2. Pour marinade (pineapple teriyaki recommended) over all pieces of chicken in bag.

3. Place bag in fridge for up to 12 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

5. Lay chicken in a glass pan, and wash hands thoroughly.

6. Cook for 30 minutes, and ensure the internal temperature of chicken reaches at least 165 degrees before serving.

Grilled Chicken Burger + Lime + Guacamole + Roll

Another summer-inspired dinner to eat after a long day of class.

1. Follow steps 1-6 above with desired marinade. For a chili-lime (recommended) marinade, see recipe.

2. Butter and toast ciabatta rolls while chicken is cooking.

3. Spread guacamole on roll.

4. Use tongs to place chicken on buns, and squeeze lime juice on top of chicken.

5. Top with desired items, and serve.

Enjoy your health homemade meals that have been tried and suggested by college students. Even when your summer schedule seems crammed, you can still eat well.