Tag Archives: Lunch

Healthy food for the broke college student

Now that Thanksgiving is over, the leftovers are running out, and we are returning to our normal routines of school, work, and (if you are like me) a very small budget for food, it is time for the college student’s guide to eating healthy.
This guide will be giving cheap and easy recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on a normal weekday.

Omelet made with turkey bacon, kale, onions, grape tomatoes, and goat cheese. (Calla Camero/ Xpress Magazine)
Omelet made with turkey bacon, kale, (Calla Camero/ Xpress Magazine)

Breakfast: Greens omelet with turkey bacon.This breakfast will only require about twenty minutes of your morning (I know this sounds like a lot for a school day but trust me, it is worth a good meal). I do everything by eye – I never use a measuring cup because I am just not that technical. Again, this is not a chef’s guide to great culinary meals, it is a college student’s guide to eating well with pocket change.


  • Cage-Free Dozen Eggs: Trader Joe’s, $2.49
    Organic Baby Kale: Trader Joe’s, $1.99
    Yellow Onion: Trader Joe’s, $0.69
    Grape Tomatoes (Sold by the pint): Trader Joe’s, $0.99
    Crumbled Goat Cheese: Trader Joe’s, $2.49
    Turkey Bacon: Trader Joe’s, 8 oz for $2.99 or Costco, 1 pack of 4 12 oz for $10.11
    Start frying two or three slices of turkey bacon, however much you prefer.
    For one person, only two eggs are required for this. Crack the eggs into a bowl, stir them until yellow. Pour into a pan with medium heat.
    Use half a handful of kale and half a handful of arugula and sprinkle onto entire surface of eggs.
    You will only use about two small slices of a yellow onion. Chop the two slices into little squares and scatter onto entire surface of eggs. Meanwhile, flip your turkey bacon to the other side if it is nice and crispy.
    Use half a handful of grape tomatoes and chop as small as preferred. Scatter onto entire surface of eggs.
    Stir the eggs up to avoid the bottom getting burned.
    Finally, pour the crumbled goat cheese on the entire omelet. At this time, your turkey bacon should be ready.

Voila ! A $10 breakfast (with extra ingredients for five more breakfasts) in twenty minutes.

Turkey pesto wrap with miso soup. (Calla Camero/ Xpress Magazine)
Spinach turkey pesto wrap made with basil leaves, provolone cheese, and grape tomatoes. Served with a side of miso soup. (Calla Camero/ Xpress Magazine)

Lunch: Turkey pesto wrap with miso soup. If you have classes or work, this lunch will require you to prepare it the night before and pack it. It tastes good cold, but you can microwave it the next day to eat it warm! The soup will require hot water.


  • Colombus Low Sodium Turkey Breast: Trader Joe’s, 8 oz for $4.79
    Spinach Wrap: Costco, 10 for $3.60
    Basil Leaves: Trader Joe’s, 2.5 oz for $2.99
    Baby Spinach: Trader Joe’s, 6 oz for $2.49
    Grape Tomatoes (Sold by the pint): Trader Joe’s, $0.99
    Provolone Cheese: Trader Joe’s, $ 4.79
    Miso Soup: Trader Joe’s, $ 3.29
    This meal will only take you about 10 minutes to prepare. Depending on how much you eat, one or two wraps will suffice for this meal.
    Take the spinach wrap and warm it in a pan until soft, then take lay it on a plate.
    Take 4-6 slices of the turkey breast and lay it on the spinach wrap.
    Take one slice of provolone cheese and lay it on the turkey.
    Grab a small handful of the baby spinach and scatter over the wrap.
    Use about three basil leaves and using your fingers, shred into small pieces over surface of wrap.
    Chop about six grape tomatoes in half and spread onto surface of wrap.
    Extra: A little bit of sriracha gives the wrap a good, spicy flavor.
    Then, heat up water using a microwave or tea pot. When hot, pour miso base into water and stir.

And huzzah!

Rosemary baked chicken with apple couscous, kale, and mushrooms. (Calla Camero/ Xpress Magazine)
Rosemary baked chicken with apple couscous, kale, and mushrooms. (Calla Camero/ Xpress Magazine)

Dinner: Rosemary baked chicken with apple couscous and roasted veggies. This will take the longest out of all the recipes, about forty minutes. It is crazy easy to make, even though the name sounds like it is a meal from Top Chef.


  • Organic Free Range Chicken Drumsticks: Trader Joe’s, $1.99 per pound
    Israeli Couscous: Trader Joe’s, 16 oz for $1.99
    Organic Green Apple: Trader Joe’s, $0.79 each
    Asparagus: Trader Joe’s, 12 oz for $3.29
    Organic Baby Kale: Trader Joe’s, $1.99
    White Button Mushrooms: Trader Joe’s, 8 oz for $1.99
    Rosemary: Trader Joe’s, .75 oz for $1.79
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees and get out two pyrex pans or any type of baking pans will do.
    For one person, two drumsticks will do.
    Start preparing chicken with olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary.
    Pour olive oil onto baking pan for a second or two and place chicken onto pan.
    Salt and pepper all sides of chicken, and do the same with rosemary. Until the chicken is nice and covered.
    Pour olive oil onto next pan for the vegetables.
    Grab six or seven pieces of asparagus and a half a handful of baby kale.
    The only vegetables that need to be cut are the mushrooms. Use about 4 mushrooms and cut into thin slices.
    Scatter vegetables onto the pan and make sure they are as spread out as possible.
    I like to use garlic salt for the vegetables, but regular salt will also do. Salt and pepper your vegetables as much as preferred and then scatter rosemary over them.
    Pour olive oil over top surface of vegetables so that the top is nice and wet.
    By this time, the oven should be ready. Place chicken in but NOT vegetables and set the timer on the oven for 15 minutes.
    In a 2 quart saucepan, saute 1⅓ cups of couscous with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until the couscous is lightly browned (about 5 minutes). Slowly add about 1¾ of boiling water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Let the couscous simmer until the liquid is absorbed.
    Chop one green apple into small bite-sized pieces and once the couscous has absorbed all the liquid, stir apples with couscous until lightly brown.
    Once brown, put salt, pepper, and rosemary into couscous. Then turn stove off.
    At this time the timer should be done or almost done, put vegetables in oven. Then flip the chickens to their other sides.
    Reset timer to 15 minutes.
    When the timer is done, both the chicken and vegetables should be done. But always check the chicken before you take it out. Use a knife to cut one of them until you hit bone and make sure the chicken is NOT pink or bloody. Like my mother says, if it is white it is done.

Whoever said you cannot get good food for cheap needs a new definition of good food.

What’s for Lunch?

Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist, just a student sharing what I found on the SF State campus.

You’ve heard it before: “Pack your food, it’s healthier. You’ll save time and money.”

But sometimes, it’s not that simple, and packing your food doesn’t automatically mean it’s healthier or cheaper.

From a steaming bowl of pho to a sandwich with so many toppings it can hardly fold closed, SF State has a lot to offer when your stomach starts growling. So many, in fact, that it can be overwhelming – especially when you’ve only got 30 minutes, but want to make a relatively healthy and cheap choice for a meal.

So I talked to a few Gators to find out their game plan when it comes to eating while at school.

Senior Shani Winston is a food packer.

“I don’t really like the food on campus,” she said. “I like to make my own food. It feels better cooking it myself. I know where it comes from.”

Some days, Winston is on campus from the early morning until late afternoon. To her, this means packing two meals. Recently, she brought a smoothie made of strawberries, dates, an apple, and a few mint leaves to have for breakfast.

On this day, she enjoyed a vegetarian sandwich made out of eggplant, pickles, tomatoes, and basil leaves plus a small salad she had tucked away for lunch. This senior shops at the farmers’ market held in the Stonestown parking lot on Sundays. The local stands offer fresh, affordable produce, she says.

Winston’s classmate, Mercedes Flores, packs her lunch occasionally. But on this day, she chose to buy refried beans, plantains, rice, one hard boiled egg, vegetables, and tofu from Taqueria Girasol on campus. She also sipped on a glass of just-made Horchata.

She paid $7 in total.

Senior Gabrielle Matthews and junior Clarisa Hernandez said they buy food on campus some days, and pack it on others. However, since beginning jobs in the Marina District, both Matthews and Hernandez say they have had less time to pack a meal.

When their shifts are too long and the commute too far, the girls turn to burritos, also from Taqueria Girasol.

Matthews purchased both of their meals for about $5.50 each – what a great friend!

Others don’t care too much one way or the other about their on-campus meals. Their meal time grub is whatever a loved one decided to pack. Junior Norman Robles is one of these lucky gators.

On this day, he snacked on baked cucumbers with vinaigrette, and plain spaghetti with a bit of olive oil while working on assignments for class.

Robles’ homemade lunch is estimated at about $1.

  • PHOTO2

  • PHOTO3

  • WP_20140905_014

  • Flores chose refried beans, plantains, rice, one hard boiled egg, vegetables, and tofu from Taqueria Girasol on campus. She also sipped on a glass of just-made Horchata - all for $7
  • Senior Gabrielle Matthews and junior Clarisa Hernandez anjoyed burritos from Taqueria Girasol.
  • Matthews purchased the burritos for about $5.50 each - what a great friend!

So now you’re left to decide – how much are you willing to pay for a meal? After three years at SF State, often searching for cheap, healthy food, here’s my take:

Most likely to break your bank: Gold Coast Grill

Here, meals average $9 – but don’t worry! You can always buy their plain toast for $2 – yum.

Most healthy options: Natural Sensations/Café Rosso/Taqueria Girasol

Natural Sensations offers:

–       Fresh squeezed carrot juice for $3.25/medium

–       Up to three types of soups daily for $2.95

–       Whole wheat bagels for $1.25

–       Fruit, cucumber, and Greek salads, starting at $2.75

Café Rosso offers:

 -Whole wheat, turkey and vegetarian sandwiches at a pretty decent size for $5-6


Taqueria Girasol offers:

-Fresh steamed veggies


-Black beans


-Hard-boiled eggs

-Shredded chicken breast

Most affordable across the board: Café Rosso

Café Rosso – where you can purchase a decent sized hamburger or a breakfast croissant sandwich for about $3.

But if you’ve decided there are just TOO many choices and the lines are too damn long…or maybe you just don’t give a rat’s ass one way or the other…

Then just hit The Pub for a sake shot and can of Sapporo, only $5!

Why not? School’s not doing much for you anyway, right? And textbook prices will only make you cry. After all, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!