With classes, projects, extracurriculars, and making time for friends and hobbies, finding the time (and energy) to make nutritious and affordable meals or recipes can be difficult. We’ve put together a few breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack ideas for you, plus a few tips, so you can make the most of your time and budget!
Side note: if you’re looking for specific items on sale or store flyers, check out the Flipp app! You’ll save some time by not having to roam store aisles in hopes of finding what you need on sale.
For breakfast, food that you can prepare ahead of time is the way to go. Whether you’re rushing to class in the morning, or you’re just not a morning person, having something you can grab to take with you will save you time!
For overnight oats, combine 1 part rolled oats with 1 part milk of your choice. Chia seeds and Greek yogurt are great to add as well to thicken the oats mixture. Stir this all together and add whatever toppings and sweeteners you’d like! Some ideas include maple syrup, honey, berries, seeds, peanut butter, or banana. You can make individual containers/jars of overnight oats or make enough for a few days at a time, just pop it in the fridge and it’ll be ready to grab in the morning!
Yogurt parfaits are just as easy to make – layer yogurt and the toppings of your choice in a jar or container, and you have a great breakfast in minutes! Some of our favourite toppings are granola, strawberries, blueberries, or even a few chocolate chips!
Turkey Breakfast Sandwiches
If you have a little more time to prep and cook, check out these homemade turkey breakfast sandwiches. These also keep well in the freezer (just wrap them in plastic wrap and stick them in an airtight container), so you can make a bunch ahead of time and grab them as needed.
If you don’t eat meat, swap out the turkey for a plant-based meat substitute, or just make them with the egg! These are also customizable – you can add additional toppings like spinach, tomato, or microgreens, or try swapping out the English muffin for a bagel. To make prep time even faster, you can get pre-made breakfast sausage patties or use a different type of meat (bacon, turkey bacon, etc.).
1 pound ground turkey
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
Cheese of your choice
6 English muffins
Whisk together the eggs and pour into a baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees until the eggs have set, and then cut into 6 egg ‘squares’. Mix together the ground turkey and spices and shape into patties. Fry in a pan until thoroughly cooked. Assemble your sandwiches, let them cool a bit, and then wrap them up to store in the fridge or freezer!
There’s always Free Breakfast at SAMRU
Finally, if you’re short on time or in need of some extra food support, the Peer Support Centre (room Z210) has Free Breakfast on weekdays, starting at 8:45 am until supplies last.
Lunch on the Go
If you have midday classes, bringing an easy-to-eat, no-heating-required type of lunch is probably what you’re looking for!
Wraps, Sandwiches, and Salads
A couple of lunches you can make in a variety of ways include tortilla wrap sandwiches or salads. Both of these can be eaten cold, and the sky’s the limit with customizations!
When assembling your wrap or salad, consider protein, starches, and veggies. Buying a fully cooked rotisserie chicken is a fast way to get some protein into your meal, and so is having some canned tuna or salmon on hand. You can always substitute a vegan or vegetarian ‘meat’ option or consider adding beans if you’re making a salad but don’t want meat.
Try changing out your salad “base” by using lettuce or mixed greens, rice, quinoa, or even cooked pasta noodles or potatoes. For veggies, consider canned corn, tomato, onion, or roast some vegetables if you have time (it’s squash season!). Adding something sweet, like oranges, a dressing with honey, or dried fruits like cranberries can pair nicely as well, depending on the salad.
You can’t really go wrong with flavour combinations for either of these meals! Try out different ingredients and dressings to find what you enjoy the most. Check out this salad recipe generator for some ideas on ingredient combinations!
Side note: ordering a Good Food Box is a great, affordable way to get some fresh fruits and vegetables that are perfect for adding to a wrap or salad (and you can avoid getting scurvy)! The content of the boxes varies, depending on what’s in season.
Even though ~Girl Dinner~ is an easy option every so often, we’re going to give you some more robust recipes( still just as fast, with as few dishes as possible).
Some options are stir fry, one-pan casseroles, and grilled cheese (try mixing up the type of bread and cheese, or add some jelly or thinly sliced apple to create an ‘elevated’ grilled cheese!). These are all relatively quick and easy to make, and you won’t be doing many dishes afterward.
Chicken and Rice Casserole
Extra-virgin olive oil, for baking dish
2 c. white rice, rinsed well and drained
1 large onion, chopped
2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
2 (10.5-oz.) cans cream of mushroom soup
Salt and pepper to taste
4 large bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 lb.)
2 tbsp. melted butter
2 tsp. fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 9″x13″ baking dish with oil. Add rice, onion, broth, and soup and stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
Place chicken thighs skin side up in rice mixture and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with thyme and garlic and season with salt and pepper.
Cover dish with foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover and bake 30 minutes more, until rice is tender and chicken is cooked through. Turn oven to broil and broil until chicken is golden, 3 to 5 minutes.
Garnish with parsley before serving (optional).
Feeling SMACKY? Uh, we mean snacky, did you get hangry before you got to the end of this blog? Here are a few easy sweet/salty/savoury snack options!
- If you want something sweet or dessert-like but still healthy, try mixing a bit of cocoa powder into some plain or vanilla Greek yogurt.
- Popcorn is another quick and fun snack to make – cook some kernels in a pan with a bit of oil (make sure to keep the lid on) and season to your liking!
- For a snack higher in protein, beef jerky is a great option – even better if you can get some on sale.
- Feeling bougie? A snack plate of veggies, crackers, cheese, and hummus, tzatziki, ranch, etc. is another great option! Add a hardboiled egg to keep you full for longer.
Make sure to check out the SAMRU Care Cupboards around campus! Re-stocked twice a week, the pantries feature both refrigerated and non-perishable food, microwaves, and essential hygiene and sanitation products.
There are five Care Cupboards at various locations across campus:
- B wing 2nd floor
- EA main floor
- EB main floor
- MRU Library main floor
- Cougars Concourse (between Recreation and Wellness)
If you’re in need of more comprehensive food support, visit the Peer Support Centre (room Z203), where you can get information from one of our Peer Support Volunteers on accessing our Main Care Cupboard, or receiving a referral to the Calgary Food Bank. Interested in donating to the Peer Support Centre (PSC)? Drop off non-perishable food and hygiene items year-round directly to the PSC!