Posts Tagged ‘meal plans’
Yes, you’ve got a meal plan. No, meals shouldn’t stop there! There are ways to eat healthy, on a budget, with nothing but a microwave available to you. If you don’t have a microwave in your dorm room, many residence halls have common rooms or common kitchenettes for students to use. Check with your RA! Dorm cooking is far from gourmet, but there are a few fun things you can do if you’re out of meal credits and have limited cooking supplies.
Sweet potatoes only take about 5 minutes to microwave. Poke a few holes in your sweet potato with a fork before microwaving. When your sweet potato is done cooking, slice it down the middle to make sure it’s soft and ready. To spice it up, grab a can of black beans and a can of diced tomatoes and pour them into the potato. Salsa works, too. Add 2-3 minutes to your microwave time for each additional potato you put in there. (This cook time also works for corn on the cob!)
A new trend in the frozen food aisle is steamable packets of vegetables! Steamed veggies are hard to do without a stove and strainer, but these packets are microwave-ready. All you do is follow the instructions on the package for cook time; the package serves as a cooking container. If you’re looking for more than vegetables or salad for dinner, use these steamed veggies as a healthy side dish option.
This is a great idea if need a quick, filling breakfast full of protein. You’ll need a microwave safe bowl and plate. Pour about half a cup of water into the bowl. Crack an egg into the bowl so it’s completely under water and cover with the plate. Microwave on high for 1 minute and then scoop out with a spoon. So easy! Add microwaveable oatmeal as a side, and you have a hearty meal.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, get ready. There’s a microwaveable dessert out there for you! In a microwave-safe bowl, combine your favorite fruits. You can either buy fresh berries, slice up an apple or banana, or find chopped fruit in the frozen food section of the grocery store. Microwave for 2-3 minutes until the fruit is soft and hot. Sprinkle granola (and cinnamon if you like) on top. You’ve got yourself a miniature fruit crisp!
Again, these aren’t gourmet meals. However, they are healthy options when all you’ve got is a microwave and a student budget. Enjoy!
In addition to the gigantic tuition, there are a couple important financial decisions you will have to make to attend college. Two big ones involve meal plans and textbooks.
Question: How do I choose the best and most affordable meal plan for me?
Answer: Be realistic about your eating habits and compare all available options.
The whole meal plan process will be simplified as soon as you take a look at your established eating habits. Do you need three hearty meals every day? Are you a breakfast fanatic who requires sausage and pancakes to start your morning? Get a feel for your ideal meal situation and then take a look at what your school offers. Tip: A cheap and easy breakfast option is keeping cereal or granola bars in your dorm room!
Find out specifics of each meal plan your college provides. Some schools allot students an exact amount of meals for a fixed price. For example, fourteen meals per week that you can use at any time and are akin to all you can eat buffets. Others charge per item or may only be valid at certain dining halls. If you know you’ll want three hearty meals a day, paying per item may not be the best idea.
Things to Consider
Where are the dining halls located? If for some reason they are located far from your dorm, consider a plan that doesn’t require you to use those meals often.
What restaurants are located on or near your campus? If there are affordable and healthy options located around campus, keep that in mind as you may end up eating lunch between classes at these places instead of the dining hall.
What flexibility is offered? Check to see if your school will let you switch meal plans mid-year if your initial choice isn’t working out.
Question: How do I find the cheapest textbooks?
Answer: Used textbooks! Ask your school’s bookstore if they have a sale or used section. If not, check both Ebay and Amazon for used versions of your required reading. Tip: Make sure you’re buying the correct edition!
As you go through school, reselling books to other students you know is a great way to make some money back. Borrowing books works just as well and both ways – loan out your books to friends and ask to borrow books from other students you know in your major or department.
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