By Emily Crouch, Nutrition Intern, Liberty Dining by Sodexo
Outside of the dorm, the residential dining hall and retail locations across campus do a great job meeting the needs of students with hours and the meal options available. However, the timing of life doesn’t always match dining hours and options. Let’s say it’s 9:15, you are bone tired, and you do not feel like catching a bus to Montview to get dinner. What can you eat? It’d be so easy to grab the high fat, high sodium snack crackers sitting there, but that’s not the healthiest choice and you’d be hungry again in no time. With a bit of pre-planning you can create an affordable, healthy, and satisfying meal. Whether it is breakfast, lunch, or dinner it is possible to use just a microwave and mini fridge to create a filling meal. Here’s a few ideas!
Quinoa Dinner Bowl
Feta Cranberry Quinoa Bowl
- ½ cup quinoa
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup small broccoli flowerets
- ½ shredded carrots
- 2 Tbsp. Feta Cheese
- 2 Tbsp. slivered almonds
The Directions below will provide the steps to safely microwave you quinoa, steam your vegetables. Once you have prepared your vegetables, the final step is to assemble the rest of the bowl.
Part 1: Quinoa Prep
- pour quinoa into a medium – large microwave safe bowl
- Add ¾ cup of water
- Cover (using a plate or lid) and microwave on high for 6 minutes
- Microwave again for another 3 minutes, or until the water has been removed
- Stir/fluff with a fork
Part 2 Steaming Broccoli/Carrots
- Make sure selected vegetable is in smaller bite size pieces
- place in microwave safe bowl
- Add 2 to 3 Tbsps. of water
- Cover bowl (with plate/microwave safe lid)
- Microwave for 2 – 3 minutes
- Broccoli will appear done when it is bright green and soft (Not mushy)
Another combination to try would be the Mexican quinoa bowl! Cook the quinoa as outlined above and heat up some drained and rinsed canned black beans. To the cooked quinoa and black beans, add some pico de gallo, Mexican shredded cheese, and a moderate amount of avocado ranch dressing (we used Hidden Valley).
Sweet Potato Dinner
- 1 sweet potato
- paper towel
- plastic wrap
- Use fork to poke holes throughout the potato
- Dampen the paper towel and wrap it around the sweet potato
- Take plastic wrap and roll one layer round the potato, twisting to secure in the ends
- Place on microwave safe plate and microwave on medium- high for at least 6 minutes.
- Add toppings if desired.
- Some other suggestions:
- Feta, steamed broccoli and carrots, craisins
- Greek vanilla yogurt and cinnamon, and almonds or pecans
- Sour Cream or unsweetened plain Greek yogurt and fresh salsa
- Guacamole, low sodium black beans, fresh diced tomatoes (optional)
How will you know your sweet potato is done?
The potato should be only slightly firm and not too mushy. If your potato is still firm after 6 minutes, microwave for an additional minute or until desired texture is reached. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and your potato will be ready to enjoy.
Mac and Cheese in a Mug
- ½ cup macaroni pasta noodles
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup finely shredded cheese
- Optional Toppings
- shredded carrots
- bacon bits
- diced tomatoes
- Combine pasta and water in a large mug or small bowl
- Heat for two minutes, stir. Continue to stir and heat until noodles have reached the desired texture.
- Remove the mug and noodles and add milk, cheese, and other toppings. Stir and allow the cheese to melt.
I hope you have a chance to try one or more of these ideas. Not only would it be healthier than a single bag of chips, but the health benefit is huge as well! Just think about it. The average “grab bag” is at least two dollars and you can buy a whole container of quinoa for about $2.50. The return of investment is huge! Then let’s hope that your schedule aligns with the dining hall hours the next day, so you can leave the cooking to the professionals!