When you live on campus it is easy to come up with lots of excuses as to why you cannot eat healthy. A popular excuse is that, without having a full kitchen in your room, you can only buy premade foods and snacks to have on-hand. This can lead to overly processed foods high in sugar and fat.
Although having a full kitchen would make things easier, a microwave is a great way to prepare lots of healthy foods. Most students living in residence halls have at least that and a fridge, which give them many ways to prepare food on their own.
Although some things may not come to mind immediately, with a little planning and thinking it is easy to utilize a microwave to help you eat healthily.
Though it may not be how you have seen it done at home, a lot of vegetables can easily be prepared in a microwave. Anything that can be steamed on top of the stove can be cooked in the microwave. Asparagus or broccoli, for example, are two great options for you to put in a microwaveable bowl with just enough water to cover the bottom of the dish. A little water is important, but too much may lead to the water taking away some nutrients when you have to drain the dish. The microwave tends to cook things a lot faster than if they were steamed on a stove, so stop it every minute-and-a-half to check each individual vegetable for readiness.
Another easy and healthy option is a potato. All potatoes have beneficial complex carbohydrates and vitamins, but sweet potatoes do have a lot more vitamin A if you would like the most nutritious option. Wash a potato, rubbing the skin for any dirt, and then cut a few slices on the stop with a knife. You do not need to cut all the way through, just enough that you clearly see a few lines and cut marks into the potato. If you carve a “hashtag” sign into the top of the potato, you will be good to go. Put it on a plate without any water this time and cook for a few minutes. Again, the time will vary depending on the size and microwave, so check often for readiness. From here you can simply eat it like any baked potato, with or without the skin. If you want something to put on top, use salt, or throw a spoonful of Greek yogurt on the potato.
In addition to produce, a microwave can be used to make a “mug” cake or a single-serving of a baked dessert. There are tons of recipes for this online; here is one example for a quick, healthy version of a cookie dough-flavored cake. Combine two tablespoons of 100 percent whole wheat flour, two tablespoons of quick oats, one quarter teaspoon of baking powder, two teaspoons of sweetener, one quarter cup of milk and one egg white in a microwaveable mug. Use a fork to whisk in the egg.
The sweetener used can be any type of sweetener such as honey or brown sugar. The milk can also be of any variety, including almond milk which is low in calories. The egg can also be a flax “egg,” which is one tablespoon of ground flax seed and three tablespoons of water mixed together.
Add one tablespoon of your favorite mix-in such as dark chocolate chips or raisins. This recipe only uses whole, basic ingredients and is a great way to watch your portion size if you love dessert, but have trouble sticking to one serving.
All of these ingredients are easy to store if you just have a fridge and this does not require many cooking utensils, making it easy to do if you do not have a full kitchen.
Look online for other variations of a mug cake. Try to find ones that use whole wheat flour and only have one or two teaspoons of added sugar.