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Affordable healthy meals for college students

Page history last edited by Helena Baert 12 years, 3 months ago

First Author: KatieT

Second Author: EmilyA

Easy Recipes for College Students


Finding new recipes that are healthy and affordable are sometimes a hard thing to come by. Listed below are great recipes that are also tasty.


Pan Pizza[1]



  • 1 6-inch pre-made pizza crust (such as Boboli)
  • 1/2 cup chunky tomato sauce
  • 1 slice onion
  • 4 slices red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil




  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • Lightly coat a baking pan with cooking spray.
  • Spread tomato sauce over the crust.
  • Top with the onion, pepper, mozzarella cheese and basil.
  • Place the pizza on the baking pan.
  • Bake until the pizza is golden in the oven.



Nutritional Analysis[2]

(per serving)

Serving size: 1 pizza
Calories 430 Cholesterol 20 mg
Protein 21 g Sodium 1,123 mg
Carbohydrate 64 g Fiber 4 g
Total fat 12 g Potassium 290 mg
Saturated fat 3 g Calcium 391 mg



Baked Macaroni[3]




  • 1/2 pound extra-lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, diced, about 1/2 cup
  • 1 box (7 ounces)  elbow macaroni
  • 1 jar (15 ounces) spaghetti sauce
  • 6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese



  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly coat a baking dish with cooking spray.
  • In a nonstick frying pan, heat ground beef and onion until the meat is browned and the onion is clear.
  • Make sure you drain the pasta well.
  • Add water to a pot filling it 3/4's full and bring to a boil.
  • Add the pasta and heat until the pasta is tender,10 to 12 minutes.
  • Drain the pasta thoroughly.
  • Add the cooked pasta and spaghetti sauce to the meat and onions.
  • Stir to mix evenly.
  • Place mixture in prepared baking dish. 
  • Bake until boiling, about 25 to 35 minutes.
  • Plate the spagetti
  • Dust each with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese.
  • Serve immediately.



Nutritional Analysis[4]

(per serving)
Calories 290 Cholesterol 29 mg
Protein 15 g Sodium 94 mg
Carbohydrate 33 g Fiber 5 g
Total fat 11 g Potassium 200 mg
Saturated fat 4 g Calcium 80 mg
Monounsaturated fat 3 g    






  • 1 pound extra-lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 large tomatoes (or 2 cups canned, unsalted tomatoes)
  • 4 cups canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder or to taste
  • Water, as desired
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • Jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped, as desired




  • Add the ground beef and onion in a soup pot.
  • Over medium heat saute until the meat is browned and the onion is clear.
  • Drain well.
  • Add the tomatoes, kidney beans, celery, sugar and chili powder to the ground beef mixture.
  • Cover and heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Uncover and add water to wanted thickness.
  • Blend in cornmeal.
  • Cook for at least 10 minutes more to allow the flavors to blend.
  • Place in bowls and garnish it with jalapenos ,if desired.



Nutritional Analysis[6]

(per serving)
Calories 254 Cholesterol 40 mg
Protein 20 g Sodium 348 mg
Carbohydrate 27 g Fiber 10 g
Total fat 8 g Potassium 378 mg
Saturated fat 3 g Calcium 74 mg
Monounsaturated fat 3 g    


Meal Planning Tips[7]

1) Make sure that you plan out your menu one week in advance. This will enable you to stay on track with your healthy meal schedule. Make sure that you place your meal schedule in your kitchen or on your refrigerator in your dorm room.


2) If you have roommates get them involved in helping to decide which healthy foods you are going to be buying and fixing for that week.


3) It is important to make sure you use the USDA daily dietary requirements!![8]


4) Make a grocery list of all of the items that you need to fix your selected meals for the week.


5) Be sure to stay flexible with your meal plans!!


6) Make meal planning a habit! You will save money and precious time.


Healthy Cooking[9]

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Healthified Food Recipes! [10]

Take an original recipies and find out how to make it healthy by making  just a few changes! 


Original Recipe 

Sausage Stuffed Shells

“The original recipe is delicious, but overfilled with fat and saturated fat. Eaten too often, it may stick to the ribs (and the mid-section) a little too well. The EBA Kitchens think this recipe is just begging to be healthified.” 

Marcia Brinkley, Food Editor 



24 jumbo pasta shells (from 12-oz box) 

1 lb Italian pork sausage 

1 container (15 oz) whole milk ricotta cheese 

3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (12 oz) 

1 box (9 oz) frozen spinach 

1 jar (25.5 oz) tomato pasta sauce 


12 servings


Nutritional Information

2 shells: Calories 420 (Calories from Fat 200); Total Fat 22g (Saturated Fat 10g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 60mg; Sodium 790mg; Total Carbohydrate 36g (Dietary Fiber 2g, Sugars 9g); Protein 20g % Daily Value Vitamin A 45%; Vitamin C 4%; Calcium 30%; Iron 15% Exchanges 2 1/2 Starch, 0 Vegetable, 0 Lean Meat, 2 Medium-Fat Meat, 1 1/2 Fat Carbohydrate Choices 2 1/2


Healthified Recipe 

Sausage Stuffed Shells

Substituting Italian turkey sausage shaves the fat and saturated fat. We substituted reduced-fat Italian blend cheese and light ricotta to shed the whole-milk heaviness. The flavor received a natural boost of vitamin A by adding shredded carrots.

Italian pork sausage > lean Italian turkey sausage 

whole milk ricotta cheese > light ricotta cheese 

3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese > 2 cups shredded reduced-fat Italian cheese blend 

added shredded carrots 


Nutritional Highlights

Calories: 420  (before) - 290  (after)
Total Fat: 22 g (before) - 9 g (after)
Saturated Fat: 10 g (before) - 3 g (after)
Vitamin A (%DV): 45 % (before) - 70 % (after)
prep time:30 min
start to finish:1 hr 20 min
makes:12 servings (2 shells each)



24 jumbo pasta shells (from 12-oz box) 

1 lb lean Italian turkey sausage, casings removed 

1 container (15 oz) light ricotta cheese 

2 cups shredded reduced-fat Italian cheese blend (8 oz) 

1 box (9 oz) Green Giant® frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed to drain 

1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves 

3/4 cup finely shredded carrots (1 medium) 

1 jar (25.5 oz) Muir Glen® organic Italian herb pasta sauce 



1  Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package, omitting salt. 
2  In 10-inch nonstick skillet, crumble sausage. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until no longer pink; drain. 
3  In medium bowl, stir ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the Italian cheese blend, the spinach and basil until well mixed. Stir in carrots and sausage. 
4  Spread about 1/2 cup of the pasta sauce over bottom of baking dish. Spoon about 3 tablespoonfuls sausage mixture into each pasta shell. Arrange shells, filled sides up, on sauce in baking dish. Pour remaining pasta sauce over stuffed shells. Spray 15-inch piece of foil with cooking spray; cover shells with foil. 
5  Bake 40 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining 1 cup Italian cheese blend. Bake uncovered 5 to 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. 


Nutritional Information

2 shells: Calories 290 (Calories from Fat 80); Total Fat 9g (Saturated Fat 3g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 40mg; Sodium 720mg; Total Carbohydrate 33g (Dietary Fiber 2g, Sugars 7g); Protein 19g % Daily ValueVitamin A 70%; Vitamin C 4%; Calcium 25%; Iron 15% Exchanges 2 Starch, 1/2 Vegetable, 1 1/2 Lean Meat, 0 Medium-Fat Meat, 1/2 Fat Carbohydrate Choices 2


For More recipies check out www.eatbetteramerica.com



  1. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/healthy-recipes/NU00550
  2. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/healthy-recipes/NU00550
  3. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/healthy-recipes/NU00365
  4. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/healthy-recipes/NU00365
  5. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/healthy-recipes/NU00487
  6. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/healthy-recipes/NU00487
  7. http://www.scribd.com/doc/994055/Top-Five-Tips-To-Healthy-Meal-Planning
  8. Fahey, T. D., Insel P. M. & Roth, W. T. (2009), Fit & Well: Dietary Guidelines for Americans. McGraw-Hill, New York: New York. (pg.238)
  9. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RqJvHNzNOo
  10. http://www.eatbetteramerica.com/healthified/sausage-stuffed-shells.aspx

Comments (5)

Emily Akin said

at 6:16 pm on Nov 20, 2008

These are great recipes ! I love to cook and can't wait to try them!

sspates@... said

at 3:40 pm on Dec 5, 2008

I can't cook so this is very helpful!

ryan stark said

at 5:15 pm on Dec 5, 2008

i really need to save money now that im off on my own so thank you for this helpful page

Michael Lay said

at 12:53 am on Dec 8, 2008

I am horrible at eating healthy meals so this will really help me, thanks!

Jayme said

at 1:14 pm on Dec 8, 2008

great page!! i'll def have to try out some of the recipes!! And i've learned that getting a roommate involved is a good thing in deciding good healthy foods. and the nutritional analysis of each recipe was good information too!!

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