Easy Lunch Ideas College Students

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Are you a student looking for easy lunch ideas college students? Or maybe you’re not in college but looking to save money at the grocery store? If so, then this blog post is read for you.Clean eating and meal prepping are all the rage right now and that’s because they work! College students who use these methods have a much easier time staying on top of their busy schedules. When it comes to clean eating and meal prepping, there is no place where students can get better advice than here at I’m A College Student Clean Eating. We understand the challenges of being a college student and a healthy eater, so we’ve decided we need to give back some easy lunch ideas college students can use for clean eating.

Easy Lunch Ideas College Students

As a college student, your time is precious. Between classes, tutorials, getting to and from class, study, assignments and potentially even a part time job, there’s not a lot of time left over. Often you’ll want to spend it on sport, time with friends or extra-curricular activities. So when are you supposed to find time to cook healthy, delicious food for breakfast, lunch and dinner? It can fall to the bottom of the list, leaving you ordering takeaways, relying on quick, unhealthy food like ramen, mac & cheese or throwing together less than appealing sloppy joes.

But this behavior does not support healthy brain function, give you the energy you need or even feel good. You can definitely eat unhealthy food sometimes, but it shouldn’t be all you eat. Having a list of healthy, easy recipes for college kids can help you avoid fast food and fuel yourself for whatever your day throws at you. Remember, variety is the spice of life and it helps make sure you’re getting all your nutrients in, so mix it up! Arm yourself with a shopping list and head to the grocery store. Here are some of my favorite recipes for easy lunches. You can even meal prep some of these if you have a fridge/freezer, so you can eat them whenever you want later! When a recipe calls for chicken, if you want to make the lunch even quicker, buy a rotisserie chicken for the store, it will help you cut down the time if you can’t make it yourself sometimes.

Easy Lunch Recipes For College Students

1. Chicken Salad Sandwich

Think of this as a fancy version of a chicken salad sandwich!

329 calories

Ingredients

  • 2 servings lettuce leaves for lettuce wraps

  • ½ small avocado

  • ½ red pepper

  • 5 oz chicken breast, boneless, skinless, raw

Directions

  • Spray a pan with an oil spray. Cook chicken for 7-8 minutes on each side. Use an instant read thermometer to make sure chicken gets to 165 degrees internally

  • Add in pepper (slices) for the last 5 minutes

  • Add chicken, peppers, and avocado slices to lettuce wraps

2. Quinoa Greek Style Bento Box

487 calories

Ingredients

  • 1 serving cucumber

  • 1 cup grape tomatoes

  • ½ cup garbanzo beans (chickpeas), cooked

  • ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese

  • ½ cup quinoa, cooked

  • 2 Tbsp vinaigrette, less than 50 calories per 2 Tbsp

  • 1 dash each salt, pepper, basil, oregano

Directions

  • Cook quinoa if not already cooked

  • Slice cucumber and tomatoes

  • Mix all ingredients together to make quinoa salad

  • Make only 2-3 days ahead of time to preserve freshness

3. Black Bean Burrito Bowl

319.25 calories

Ingredients

  • 2 cups leafy greens

  • 4 oz chicken breast, boneless, skinless, raw

  • ¼ salsa

  • ½ green bell pepper

  • ½ yellow onion

  • ½ cup black beans, cooked

Directions

  • Spray a pan with an oil spray. Slice chicken into strips. Cook chicken for 6-7 minutes, turning strips over regularly. Make sure chicken gets to 165 degrees internally (use an instant-read thermometer).

  • While the chicken is cooking, spray a second pan with an oil spray. Stir-fry veggies (sliced) for 7-8 minutes. Add in beans for the last 3-4 minutes

  • Combine all ingredients into a salad

  • No chicken? Use tofu or canned tuna.

4. Rainbow Lunchbox With Peanut Butter

This is one of my favorite snack style lunches, with simple ingredients you probably have in the fridge.

463 calories

Ingredients

  • 1 oz cheese, sliced cheese, full fat/ regular

  • 1 cup baby carrots

  • 1 cup celery stalks, cut in half

  • 1 cup red grapes

  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter

Directions

  • Cut cheese into cubes (if you want!)

  • Arrange ingredients in bento box or container

  • Roasted & salted nuts are fine. No nuts? Use seeds. No dairy? Use more nuts or seeds.

6. Thai Lettuce Wraps

364 calories

Ingredients

  • 2 lettuce leaves for lettuce wraps

  • 4 oz lean, raw ground turkey

  • 2 Tbsp peanut sauce

  • 2 tsp sesame seeds

  • ⅛ c peanuts

Directions

  • Spray a pan with an oil spray. Stir-fry turkey for 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently, until cooked through / no longer pink

  • Add in peanut sauce, peanuts, and sesame seeds for 1-2 minutes

  • Add to lettuce wraps – assemble as close to the time when you’re going to eat as possible

  • No turkey? Use tofu

  • Note: I like Whole Food’s Peanut Sauce best, but any store will have their own version! If you want to make your own (100% not necessary!) here’s a 5-ingredient one from Minimalist Baker: minimalistbaker.com/5-ingredient-peanut-sauce/

7. Lentil Salad With Cucumbers, Feta,And Onion

417.5 calories

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cucumber

  • ½ red onion

  • 1 cup canned artichoke hearts

  • ⅓ feta, crumbled

  • ½ c lentils, cooked

  • 1 dash salt

  • 1 dash oregano

Directions

  • Chop cucumber and onion

  • Mix all ingredients, including liquid from canned artichoke hearts

  • Lentils here can count as a protein for vegetarians, or starches for non-vegetarians if you prefer

8. Grilled Chicken With Israeli Salad

Whip up these healthy grilled chicken salad in less than 30 minutes.

314 calories

Ingredients

  • ½ cucumber, medium

  • ½ cherry tomatoes

  • Fresh herbs, like fresh basil or oregano

  • 1 dash salt

  • 1 dash pepper

  • ⅓ c feta, crumbled

  • 2 c arugula

  • 1 Tbsp vinaigrette

  • ½ small avocado

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees

  • Line baking sheet with tin foil & spray with an oil spray

  • Bake salmon for 15 minutes or until flakes easily

  • Chop tomato, cucumber and arugula, salad dressing, and seasonings

  • No chicken? Use tofu or tuna

9. Avocado Turkey Bento Boxes

430 calories

Ingredients

  • 4 oz deli slices, turkey

  • ½ avocado, small

  • 1 cucumber, medium

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1 dash everything bagel seasoning

Directions

  • Cut tomatoes in halves & slice cucumbers

  • Mix tomatoes and cucumbers together with oil and dash everything bagel seasoning

  • If you like, add another dash of everything bagel seasoning to the avocado half

  • Store salad and deli turkey/ avocado separately if you prefer

  • Make for only 2-3 days ahead of time to preserve freshness

  • Keep avocados fresh after cutting: Rinse with water & keep in an air-tight container

10. Quick And Easy Asian Chicken Bowl

343 calories

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mixed greens

  • ⅛ cup cashews

  • ½ cup cabbage, shredded

  • ½ cup mandarin oranges, canned

  • ½ cup shredded carrots

  • 3 oz chicken breast, boneless, skinless, raw

  • 1 Tbsp cilantro

  • 1 Tbsp peanut sauce

Directions

  • Spray the pan with an oil spray. Cook chicken for 5 minutes on each side. Use an  instant read thermometer to make sure chicken gets to 165 degrees  internally

  • Combine all ingredients into a salad

11. Egg, Feta & Spinach Bowl With Cauliflower Rice

347 calories

Ingredients

  • 1 cup leafy greens, spinach, raw

  • 2 eggs, large

  • 1 cup veggies noodles/rice, cauliflower “rice”, raw

  • 1 Tbsp cheese, Parmesan, grated

  • ⅓ cup cheese, crumbled, feta

  • 1 dash garlic

Directions

  • Spray a pan with an oil spray. Add in cauliflower rice. Stir fry until  you see some browning. Add in Parmesan cheese and garlic salt. Remove from the pan.

  • Spray pan again with oil spray and fry eggs

  • In a bowl combine eggs, cauliflower rice, feta, and spinach

12. Salmon With Veggies And Peanut Sauce

386 calories

Ingredients

  • 4 oz salmon filet

  • 1 c baby carrots

  • 1 c snap peas

  • 2 Tbsp peanut sauce

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees

  • Line baking sheet with tin foil or parchment paper & spray with an oil spray

  • Bake salmon for 15 minutes or until flakes easily

  • Dip veggies in peanut sauce

13. Parmesan & Salsa Baked Chicken

412 calories

What You Need

  • 5 oz chicken breast, boneless, skinless, raw

  • 2 cups shredded cabbage

  • ½ cup salsa

  • ⅓ cup shredded parmesan

  • 2 Tbsp vinaigrette, less than 50 calories per 2 Tbsp

  • 1 dash of salt

  • 1 dash oregano

Steps

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper & spray it with an oil spray.

  • Season chicken on both sides with salt and oregano; press into meat.

  • Lay chicken on parchment paper, top with salsa.

  • Bake for 20 minutes.

  • Remove from the oven, top with cheese, bake for another 5 minutes.

  • Make salad with vinaigrette and cabbage.

  • No dairy? Use dairy-free cheese.

14. The Best Banana Bread Mug Cake

This list wouldn’t be complete without a quick and easy cake you can whip up in dorm rooms.

367 calories

What You Need

  • 1 banana

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 Tbsp chocolate chips

  • 3 Tbsp almond flour/almond meal

  • 1 dash cinnamon

Steps

  • Mash banana with a fork in a bowl

  • Crack in egg and add almond flour, mix

  • Add in chocolate chips and cinnamon

  • Spray a mug with an oil spray

  • Add in mixture to the mug

  • Microwave for 120 seconds. If still watery, microwave another 30 seconds.

15. Beef Nachos

Nachos are the ultimate comfort food for me!

382.5 calories

What You Need

  • 1 oz tortilla chips

  • ½ cup salsa

  • ½ yellow onion

  • 5 oz shaved beef

  • 1 dash garlic salt

  • 1 Tbsp cilantro

Steps

  • Slice onion

  • Spray a pan with an oil spray

  • Stir-fry onion and beef for ~8 minutes, or until onions are cooked through and beef is no longer pink

  • Top chips with stir-fry mixture, salsa, and seasonings

16. Ground Beef With Veggies

381 calories

What You Need

  • 1 Bell pepper, green – 27 calories

  • ½ Onion, yellow – 27.5 calories

  • 1 Tomato, medium – 22 calories

  • 4 oz Ground beef, 90% lean, raw – 185 calories

  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil (Tbsp) – 119 calories

  • 1 Salt, dash – 0 calories

  • 1 Garlic powder, dash – 0 calories

  • 1 Turmeric powder, dash – 0 calories

  • 1 tsp Red pepper flakes, dash – 0 calories

Steps

  1. Chop peppers, onion, and tomato into small pieces.

  2. Add oil to a pan. Stir fry beef and veggies until beef is no longer pink, ~10 minutes, on medium heat.

  3. Top with seasonings.

  4. No beef? Use chicken, fish, tofu, or beans

17. Ground Turkey, Sweet Potato, Green Beans & Avocado

STARCH

479 calories

What You Need

  • 4 oz Ground turkey, 93% lean, raw – 172 calories

  • ½ Avocado, small – 116.5 calories

  • 1 Potato, sweet, medium, 5 inches – 112 calories

  • 2 cups Green beans – 78 calories

  • 1 Tbsp Garlic, minced (Tbsp) – 0 calories

  • 1 tsp Red pepper flakes, dash – 0 calories

  • 1 Everything bagel seasoning, dash – 0 calories

Steps

  1. Poke holes in potato with fork on top and bottom. Microwave for 4-5 minutes on each side.

  2. Spray a pan with an oil spray. Add in garlic.

  3. Stir turkey beef until no longer pink, ~8 minutes on medium heat.

  4. Add green beans for another 5 minutes. Add in seasonings.

  5. Serve with avocado on side.

  6. No meat? Use beans or tofu.

18. Lettuce Wraps With Ground Beef & Chopped Veg

509 calories

Instructions

  • 1 cup Leafy greens, romaine – 7 calories

  • ⅓ cup Cheese, shredded, cheddar – 152 calories

  • 4½ oz Ground beef, 85% lean, raw – 319.5 calories

  • 1 Salt, dash – 0 calories

  • 1 Pepper, dash – 0 calories

  • ½ cup Celery stalks, chopped in half – 8 calories

  • ½ cup Carrots, baby – 22.5 calories

Steps

  1. Spray a pan with an oil spray.

  2. Dice veggies.

  3. Stir fry veggies & beef, until beef is no longer pink, ~8 minutes.

  4. Add in salt and pepper.

  5. Add into lettuce leaves.

  6. Top with cheese.

  7. No dairy? Use oil instead of an oil spray, or avocado.

19. Chicken Stir Fry with Sweet Potato

STARCH

503 calories

What You Need

  • 6 oz Chicken breast, boneless, skinless, raw – 190 calories

  • 1 Bell pepper, green – 27 calories

  • 1 Onion, yellow – 55 calories

  • 1 Potato, sweet, medium, 5 inches – 112 calories

  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil (Tbsp) – 119 calories

  • 1 tsp Red pepper flakes, dash – 0 calories

  • 1 Garlic salt, dash – 0 calories

Steps

  1. Add oil to a pan. Cube chicken. Slice veggies.

  2. Cook chicken and veggies for ~12 minutes on low heat, until cooked through. Season.

  3. Poke holes in potato with fork on top and bottom. Microwave for 4-5 minutes on each side.

20. Baked Sweet Potato With Chicken & Avocado

STARCH

419 calories

What You Need

  • 1 Potato, sweet, medium, 5 inches – 112 calories

  • ½ Avocado, small – 116.5 calories

  • 6 oz Chicken breast, boneless, skinless, raw – 190 calories

  • 1 Everything bagel seasoning, dash – 0 calories

Steps

  1. Slice chicken into strips.

  2. Spray a pan with an oil spray. Cook chicken for ~10 minutes, turning at last once, until cooked through.

  3. Poke holes in potato with a fork; microwave for 8 minute – flipping potato over halfway through.

  4. Slice potato in half, top with chicken, avocado, then everything bagel seasoning.

  5. No chicken? Use tofu.

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