Return to top
featured in… The Huffington Post CookingLight Reader's Digest Women's Health BuzzFeed Glamour Whole Foods Oprah Winfrey Network CNN Food Network Healthline Shape

Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

57 Easy College Meals For Students Or Busy Professionals

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclosure.

If you’re a college student looking for easy college meals, you’ve come to the right place! Eating healthy can be satisfying, affordable, and quick without missing out on all the flavors. You are going to love these 57 easiest college meals!

I’ve collected some go-to recipes over the years for those hectic weeknights when you just need something fast, tasty, and better than boxed mac and cheese or fast food!

Burrito bowls with sofritas topped with avocado, salsa, lime and cilantro.

When it comes to preparing dinner after busy days in classes or at work, the last thing we want to do is spend hours in the kitchen to create something healthy.

These easy college meals are geared specifically for students and busy professionals who have limited time but still want a meal that is nutritious and delicious!

Between hustling to class, trying to crank out essays, and figuring out how to have the best college experience, whipping up dinner can be last on the priority list.

I’m sure you know what I’m talking about! It’s when boiling water feels like a chore and canned soup and frozen pizza are the only options when you are short on time.

But having a couple fast and delicious recipes in your back pocket can make all the difference! You can even make them in a small dorm room kitchen!

I remember during my college days how much better and more energetic I’d feel when I’d take the time to eat healthier. And that’s exactly why I curated this list of ideas.

This collection of the best easy college meals is going to become a real life-saver, trust me! I’m sure you’ll want to bookmark the page and share it with your friends, too.

The Best Easy Recipes For College Students You Will Love!

Balancing college, part-time jobs, and cooking good meals can be a real challenge.

As a busy student trying to juggle it all, quick and easy recipes are going to be your secret weapon to eating well and still managing to stay on top of everything!

These recipes are healthy, budget-friendly, easy to make, and require only basic cooking skills. With minimal equipment needed, they are ideal for even small college kitchens.

Trust me, you’ll love every one of these easy meals and they’ll allow you to actually enjoy college life!

If you’re into meal prepping, they’re also great to use as meal prep recipes. They’re honestly some of my favorite easy recipes of all time and I wish I knew about them back in my college days.

You’ll be able to enjoy healthy food and ditch the junk food forever with this list of the best healthy college meals!

Sofritas (Chipotle Copycat Recipe!)

This copycat Chipotle vegan sofritas recipe tastes even better than the original recipe!

It’s flavorful and fresh, and is also much better for you thanks to less oil, less sodium and less sugar than the Chipotle version!

It’s perfect for anyone who wants to try a vegan protein alternative that is both hearty and satisfying.

One serving will get you 12 grams of satisfying plant protein and 5 grams of fiber.

Your meat-eating friends will love it too!

Chipotle copycat sofritas in a cast iron skillet topped with cilantro and lime wedges.

Easy Tacos, Burritos, And Quesadillas For College Students

1. Sweet Potato Tacos

Easy sweet potato tacos with black beans and a spicy yogurt sauce served on a wooden cutting board.

These hearty and flavorful sweet potato tacos are loaded with refried black beans, veggies, and topped with a spicy Greek Yogurt taco sauce.

They’re gluten-free, easily made vegan, healthy, delicious, and the perfect college meal!

The best part? This quick meal can be ready in just 30 minutes!

2. Grilled Quesadillas with Poblanos, Mangos, and Black Beans

Easy, crispy, satisfying grilled quesadillas are filled with creamy avocados, protein-packed black beans, gooey cheese, spicy poblanos, and sweet mango.

Ready in 30 minutes and the perfect weeknight meal or meal prep for busy college weeks! Be sure to add this to your recipe box.

3. Veggie Burrito Bowl (Chipotle Copycat!)

vegetarian burrito bowl with black beans, tortilla chips, corn, cheese and lime

This healthy and easy vegetarian burrito bowl with black beans is packed with goodness and awesome flavors!

Inspired by Chipotle’s veggie bowl, it’s loaded with jalapeno peppers, black beans, onions, peppers, warm spices, hearty brown rice, sweet corn, and a secret ingredient that makes it extra filling and satisfying!

What’s best is that they’re super budget friendly too and WAY cheaper than Chipotle’s! Plus, it’s a great way to get more veggies in your diet!

4. Vegan Black Bean Tacos

Vegan black bean tacos with beans, avocado, veggies, and cilantro, served on a white plate.

These healthy and delicious vegan black bean tacos are great for an easy weeknight meal. Packed with beans, veggies, spices, and toppings of your choice, they’re full of flavor!

Plus, they can be ready in 30 minutes! You and your friends are going to love these. They’re the perfect meal!

5. Mexican Pizza Taco Bell Recipe

This vegetarian copycat Mexican pizza taco bell recipe is a real treat, and you wouldn’t guess that it’s healthy!

Low in calories, made with whole foods, and ready in less than 30 minutes! Here’s the perfect cheap college meal that tastes great too.

6. BBQ Jackfruit Burrito Bowls

bbq jackfruit served in a white bowl with burrito fixings

This pulled BBQ jackfruit burrito recipe in a bowl is simply incredible and bold in flavor.

Made with tender jackfruit, hearty beans, rice, fresh vegetables, and comforting spices, this recipe is the perfect healthy option for meatless weeknight dinners!

They’re one of my favorite easy meal ideas!

7. Veggie Quesadilla Recipe

Veggie quesadillas stacked on parchment paper with herbs, lime, and beer.

These easy healthy veggie quesadillas are packed with black beans, gooey cheese, and crunchy veggies.

They are ready in under 30 minutes and perfect for exam week! College recipes do not get much easier than this!

8. Healthy Vegetarian Fajitas

Vegetarian fajitas in a corn tortilla topped with cheese, avocado and cilantro, served in a blue bowl.

The aroma of these smoky vegetarian fajitas will have you drooling.

Every bite is filled with lots of caramelized vegetables, spicy seasonings, protein-packed black beans, gooey Mexican cheese, and a crispy corn tortilla.

They’re honestly delicious! Top with sour cream, guacamole, or some shredded romaine lettuce!

9. Loaded Veggie Nachos

Loaded veggie nachos piled with veggies, jalapenos, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, olives served on a white platter.

Making loaded veggie nachos has never been easier! Layers of tortilla chips, melty cheeses, and the best toppings come together to make the perfect side dish or main dish.

These nachos are easily customizable making them perfect for you even if you’re a picky eater.

Enjoy them for Cinco de Mayo, game day, or movie nights. This no-meat nacho recipe is delicious any time of year!

Healthy Homemade Pizzas

10. Mushroom Flatbread Pizza Recipe

top view of Mushroom Flatbread with Roasted Vegetables

A crispy whole wheat crust is topped with melty mozzarella and fresh pesto to create this mushroom flatbread pizza that makes for a satisfying meal any day of the week!

It’s a truly authentic artisan flatbread pizza that rivals anything you’d order in a restaurant (but WAY cheaper!)

11. Margherita Flatbread

Margherita flatbread pizzas on a wooden cutting board, topped with basil, tomatoes and mozzarella.

This easy margherita flatbread recipe is a delicious take on the classic pizza, with fewer calories!

Topped with gooey mozzarella cheese, tomato slices, fresh basil and a drizzle of balsamic glaze, this flatbread is loaded with flavor in every bite!

It’s naturally vegetarian and can easily be made gluten-free, too!

12. Goat Cheese Pizza With Caramelized Onions

This goat cheese pizza with caramelized onions is a restaurant-quality meal you can make at home with ease! It tastes great and it’ll save you a lot of money too!

The crisp crust paired with creamy and tangy goat cheese and sweet caramelized onions is a match made in heaven. Perfect for sharing with friends and family.

13. Vegan Flatbread

Yeast free vegan flatbread stacked on a cutting board.

This vegan flatbread recipe is soft and fluffy, simple to make, and versatile! With just five ingredients and no yeast, it’s made with pantry staples and dairy-free milk.

Enjoy it as the base for pizza, to mop up stews and curries, or as a satisfying snack.

Top it off with some shredded cheese, your favorite pizza sauce, and some shredded rotisserie chicken for a quick and delicious meal you can make in your college kitchen!

14. Tomato Olive Flatbread

If you’re looking for a quick and easy pizza to fit with your busy schedule, then this tomato olive flatbread is for you! Hungry?

It’s delicious for lunch, dinner, or even a midnight snack, making it perfect for college!

15. Veggie Supreme Pizza

Veggie supreme pizza, cut into slices, on a cutting board lined with parchment paper.

This veggie supreme pizza is as easy as it gets!

Made with gooey mozzarella, fresh basil, and tasty vegetables like green bell peppers, Roma tomatoes, and kalamata olives, this savory pizza will instantly become your new favorite recipe.

The best part? In just 30 minutes, you can have the most delicious pizza to serve as an appetizer or for hosting pizza night!

16. BBQ Flatbread (Black Bean Pizza)

An overhead shot of a pan of bbq black bean flatbread

This healthy, flavorful BBQ flatbread pizza with corn, black beans and red peppers is easy to make at home and is low in calories.

Loaded with fresh veggies, this black bean pizza recipe is a fun twist on traditional pizza and keeps in the fridge for up to 4 days!

17. Spinach Alfredo Pizza

This spinach alfredo pizza recipe combines a creamy alfredo sauce with spinach and artichokes between layers of flaky puff pastry.

It’s a simple weeknight dinner or party appetizer that I think will become your new favorite!

18. Pear Gorgonzola Pizza

With just five simple ingredients, this easy pear gorgonzola pizza with walnuts is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser!

Gooey fontina cheese, savory gorgonzola cheese, fresh sweet pears, and crunchy walnuts all on top of a perfectly crispy whole-wheat pizza crust makes for a mind-blowing delicious meal!

It’s seriously one of the best pizzas ever! Easily heat up leftover slices in the air fryer for the perfect crunch.

19. Easy Pita Pizza Recipe

Vegetarian pita pizza, sliced on a cutting board.

This amazingly easy, pita bread pizza recipe is healthy comfort food that can be thrown together in just 15 minutes!

There’s nothing better than that when you’re a busy college student!

Stir-Fries And Bowl Recipes

20. Tofu Fried Rice

Tofu fried rice served in a large pan.

Makeover takeout at home with this healthy vegan tofu fried rice!

This one-pot meal is super satisfying, flavorful, and ready in just 20 minutes.

It’s tasty, packed with nutrients, and a real crowd-pleaser! Perfect for when you have your friends over and want to serve up some delicious food.

21. Lemon-Ginger Vegetable Stir Fry Sauce

Vegetable stir fry served with brown rice on a grey plate.

This healthy vegetable stir fry sauce tossed with fresh veggies, tofu and quinoa is a quick and easy vegan weeknight meal.

It’s loaded with flavor from lemon and ginger, and is ready in just 15 minutes!

22. Vegetarian Egg Roll in a Bowl

Meatless low carb vegetarian egg roll in a bowl, served in a white bowl, garnished with green onions.

We took out the insides of an egg roll, and put them in a bowl! It’s easy to make, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, keto-friendly, and is ready in just 30 minutes.

This vegetarian egg roll in a bowl recipe is a flavorful, healthy one-pan meal that you’ll absolutely love!

23. Vegan Thai Green Curry

Easy vegan Thai green curry recipe served with quinoa in a black bowl.

This delicious vegan Thai green curry with chickpeas and fresh vegetables is so simple to make at home!

It’s satisfying, comforting, and nourishing – great for weeknight dinners, and tastes even better as leftovers the next day. Pair with quinoa, brown rice, or white rice!

24. Sriracha Cauliflower Fried Rice

Fried rice is the perfect way to use up your leftovers, and this sriracha cauliflower fried rice is absolutely delicious and super easy to make!

It’s also great that it’s budget-friendly, spicy, and customizable.

25. Sweet And Sour Tofu

Vegan sweet and sour tofu, served on a white plate with chopsticks.

This flavorful sweet and sour tofu packed with lots of yummy vegetables is the perfect family-friendly meal.

This simple recipe tastes even better than takeout, featuring fragrant garlic, sweet pineapple, crunchy bell pepper, hearty broccoli, crispy tofu pieces and brown rice tossed in a homemade sweet and sour sauce.

26. Poblano Soup with Sweet Potatoes

This spicy poblano soup with sweet potatoes combines the flavors of a traditional curry with some unconventional spices and seasoning! Make it in a large pot or slow cooker.

You’ll end up with a rich and healthy soup with a real depth of flavor that’s also easy to make! Serve with crusty bread or even a side baked potato.

Healthy Sandwiches, Burgers, And Wraps

27. Goat Cheese Grilled Cheese with Pear and Arugula

This mouth-watering goat cheese grilled cheese sandwich is the perfect lunch or light dinner!

Creamy goat cheese is the star of the show, and it goes beautifully with freshly sliced pears and a drizzle of honey.

Ready in less than 20 minutes, you can’t help but fall head over heels in love with this sandwich.

28. Kale and Caramelized Onion Veggie Panini Recipe

I love sneaking veggies into traditionally “comfort food” type dishes, and this panini is no exception.

The fontina cheese oozes out of the sandwich, the bread is warm and crispy, and the sautéed kale and caramelized onions add some much needed lightness to the dish.

29. Chipotle Black Bean Burgers (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

chipotle black bean burgers with tahini sauce and sweet potato fries

These healthy vegan chipotle black bean burgers are protein packed and perfect for times when you have friends over!

Simple substitutes make the patties gluten-free, and the creamy, delicious tahini sauce makes this the ultimate veggie burger! You can also add a slice of cheddar cheese here!

30. Falafel Wrap Recipe

Homemade easy falafel wrap recipe on a white plate.

This delicious falafel wrap recipe is healthy comfort food at its best!

These crispy falafel patties are baked instead of fried, then wrapped in a whole wheat pita and topped with spinach, tomato, and a creamy hummus sauce.

Vegan, easy to make gluten free, and totally a crowd-pleaser!

31. Vegan Japanese Egg Salad Sandwich

This vegan Japanese egg salad sandwich, or tamago sando, is filled with a creamy tofu “egg” salad between two slices of soft white bread.

It’s absolutely delicious and so easy to make! The sandwich is protein-rich and is great for taking to college for lunch.

32. Gooey Garlic Bread Grilled Cheese Sandwich

This garlic bread grilled cheese with French onions is the ultimate gooey cheesy indulgent sandwich with a healthy twist.

Packed with flavor and done in minutes, it’s comfort food at its best! Pair with a green salad or tomato soup!

33. Vegan Shawarma

Healthy vegan shawarma wraps with tofu served on blue plates topped with vegan tzatziki sauce.

This vegan shawarma is stuffed with crispy savory tofu, fresh veggies, and a super creamy vegan yogurt sauce.

Everything is tightly tucked into a soft and pliable whole wheat pita bread warmed to perfection.

The perfect recipe to make for an easy lunch or for a busy weeknight dinner!

34. Sourdough Grilled Cheese

Sourdough grilled cheese sandwich with apple and brie cut and stacked on a plate with fresh herbs.

This irresistibly delicious sourdough grilled cheese is ready in just 10 minutes.

Melted brie, thinly sliced apple, and honey are layered between two slices of sourdough, then grilled until golden.

This is guaranteed to be the best sourdough sandwich you’ll ever eat!

35. Gourmet Banana Peanut Butter Sandwich

Who said that the peanut butter sandwich had to be boring, just for kids, and the same every time?

Sometimes, reinventing a classic is just what you need to get out of a rut, and this one will do just that for you!

It’s comforting, easy to make, and super delicious! you can get creative and add some cream cheese for an extra touch of creaminess.

36. Perfect Vegan Sloppy Joes

These mouthwatering vegan sloppy joes are so delicious!

I love vegan comfort foods that give me that nostalgic feeling but are still healthy. And these sloppy joes definitely live up to that!

This recipe puts a creative spin on a classic by making it vegan. Trust me you’re going to love them!

Quick And Easy Healthy Pasta Recipes

37. Garlic Veggie Pasta with Parmesan

This flavorful garlic pasta is made with fresh broccoli, zucchini, red onions, garlic cloves, seasonings, whole wheat spaghetti, and is topped with parmesan cheese.

This easy Italian dish is a delicious, guilt-free solution to healthy eating!

38. Black Bean Meatballs

These black bean meatballs are absolutely delicious and are packed with protein and fiber! This is a great opportunity to show off your skills and share some meatballs with friends.

Serve it with Italian-style marinara and spaghetti for the best dinner ever!

39. Vegetarian Pesto Pasta

Vegetarian pesto pasta recipe with spinach, basil and pine nuts on a white plate.

This healthy vegetarian pesto pasta recipe is easy to make and perfect for a fuss-free weeknight meal.

Ricotta gives this sauce a creamy texture, fresh basil provides a bold flavor, and the added pine nuts gives it a nice crunch!

Tossed with frozen spinach, this pesto veg pasta is ready in just 30 minutes, and makes a quick dinner recipe you’ll love!

40. Garlic Chili Oil & Zucchini Instant Ramen Noodle

Ramen is college cooking at its finest! If you’re looking for some fiery hot ramen noodles, then this is the perfect recipe for you! It’s so simple and packed with flavor, yet easy to make.

You can also easily customize it however you like and add any of your favorite ingredients.

41. Vegetarian Spaghetti Sauce with Whole Wheat Pasta

This easy and delicious vegetarian spaghetti sauce with hidden fresh veggies, served over whole wheat pasta, makes for a quick and satisfying meal.

You’ll absolutely love it! Top with sliced chicken breasts or tofu for extra protein.

42. Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and Feta

Closeup side shot of a large white bowl of sundried tomato pasta.

This whole wheat pasta dish is made with a delicious sun-dried tomato pesto and topped with crumbled feta cheese.

Packed with flavor and easy and quick to make for a healthy weeknight meal.

43. Italian Potato Pasta

This hearty potato pasta dish is just the thing for chilly fall and winter nights when you want some comfort food.

The creamy, herb-loaded sauce with potatoes and veggies makes a nice one-pot meal that’ll fill up and satisfy you and your friends when they come over!

44. Healthy Mac and Cheese

If you’re looking for a delicious mac and cheese that’s healthy too, then this is the one for you!

This speedy supper features a rich and creamy sauce made with butternut squash that you’ll fall in love with!

45. Vegan Bolognese

Vegan bolognese with lentils on top of penne pasta, on a white plate with a parsley garnish.

This hearty vegan bolognese has a meaty texture from the lentils, walnuts, and celery!

It’s simple to make, delicious, and ready in less than 30 minutes.

Scoop it onto your favorite pasta for an easy weeknight meal. Now that’s some good food to keep you satisfied!

46. Spinach and Cheese Ravioli with Roasted Tomatoes and Basil

Instead of going out, stay in and make this delicious pasta!

Dressed up with a delicious roasted tomato sauce and fresh herbs, this store bought spinach ravioli feels like a gourmet Italian meal you can enjoy on a weeknight!

47. Homemade Whole Wheat Pasta Recipe

This homemade whole wheat pasta recipe is a healthy twist on your regular pasta.

Made with whole wheat flour, this pasta not only tastes great but also packs a nutritional punch.

It’s the perfect excuse to have some pasta! Who doesn’t love delicious, cheap meals?!

48. Vegan Hamburger Helper

There’s hardly anyone out there that doesn’t have some fond memories having hamburger helpers! And this healthy, vegan version is going to become your new favorite.

The best part is you can make it in just 30 minutes!

49. Tofu Pasta

A serving of tofu pasta in a grey bowl garnished with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.

This amazing tofu pasta recipe is a mouthwatering fusion of whole wheat pasta, protein-rich tofu, and fresh vegetables.

It feels like a gourmet meal but is super easy to make!

It is vegan, easily gluten-free, and ready in just 30 minutes!

50. Thai Pasta Salad

Thai Pasta Salad is a bright, flavorful side that comes together in a snap.

It’s the ideal make-ahead dish for when your friends are coming over and you want to serve something tasty and fuss-free.

51. Pesto Without Pine Nuts

easy pesto without pine nuts in a mason jar

This healthy pesto without pine nuts is the perfect pasta sauce for a quick and easy weeknight meal.

This walnut and sage pesto is packed full of earthy flavors and is lower in fat and calories than its store bought counterparts!

Easy, tasty, and perfect for busy college kids! Pair with eggs, avocado toast, pasta, and more!

52. Angel Hair Pasta with Garlic and Herbs

You’ll love the combination of angel hair pasta coated with garlic, fresh herbs, and parmesan cheese wit this easy recipe!

Customize it however you like and share it with your friends!

Easy Dessert Recipes For College Students

53. Vegan Mug Cake

Chocolate vegan mug cake served in a white mug with chocolate chips on top.

This delicious vegan mug cake is a game-changer for all of your sweet tooth cravings.

It’s super quick, easy to make, and the best part is, it’s absolutely healthy!

Enjoy this chocolate vegan mug cake, or customize it easily! This recipe shares 10 different flavor options.

54. Vegan Nutella

Easy homemade vegan nutella in a glass mason jar.

Who doesn’t love Nutella? But the added sugar isn’t the best thing for you!

Now you can make your own at home with simple ingredients like raw hazelnuts, dark chocolate, and a touch of maple syrup.

It’s a healthier alternative to traditional Nutella, without any added sugar or artificial flavors.

55. Vegan Rice Krispie Treats

vegan healthy rice krispie treats recipe on a white plate

Healthy vegan rice krispie treats are buttery, gooey, and sweet, but are made with healthier ingredients to make these treats less of a splurge!

Make this easy no-bake dessert and it will disappear before your eyes and your friends will be asking for more.

These portable cereal-based treats are dairy-free, vegan, and do not require much time to prep!

56. Microwave Peanut Butter Fudge

Microwave peanut butter fudge cut into squares, stacked on parchment paper.

This easy microwave peanut butter fudge recipe is going to become one of your favorite desserts!

Finished off with a creamy texture that is accented by buttery and sweet flavors, this easy fudge recipe is delicious and perfect for any time of year.

57. High Protein Overnight Oats (7 Ways!)

Vegan high protein overnight oats served in glasses with fresh berries and mint as a garnish.

Breakfast seriously is the most important meal of the day, and so it’s a great idea to have handy healthy breakfasts always ready!

Packed with rolled oats, chia seeds, and protein powder, this high-protein breakfast option tastes amazing.

It’s also a great option for meal prep for the whole week since it has 7 different flavor options and is super easy to make!

Top it off with some fresh fruits for one of your new favorite recipes!

Tips For Eating Healthy And Cheap In College

When you start college or have your first apartment on your own, it is probably the first time you are buying and preparing your own meals. These helpful tips will get you started so that you can enjoy healthy meals without breaking the bank!

Shop The Sales

All of the major grocery stores come out each week with a flyer of their weekly sales. Some stores require you to sign-up for a customer card, while others do not. Be sure to sign-up, and get your card, so that you can save big!

Before going to the store, look through the weekly sales. You can also find these online if you don’t get a printed version. Make your list of groceries based on the fresh ingredients that are on sale. Usually this is also the produce that is in season. This means you’re getting fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables at a discount!

You’ll also find canned foods, dairy, meat and other foods on sale. Base your recipes for the week around these ingredients.

Shop Around

Not all grocery stores are created equal. Depending on where you shop you can end up spending A LOT more money!

My favorite discount grocery store is Aldi. They run weekly specials, but they also have excellent prices on their organic produce even when they are not on sale.

While I love Whole Foods, it is on the pricier end. So to save money at Whole Foods or higher priced retailers, focus on the sales, and find the best deals!

Prepare Your Own Meals

Preparing your own meals at home is not only much less expensive, but also much healthier.

Getting take-out on a regular basis will not only hurt your pocket book but also your waistline. Take-out foods are often made with more vegetable oils and fats then you would use at home. This increases the calories, without the nutritional value.

When you prepare your own meals at home, you’ll end up making more for less, and also have complete control over what goes into your food.

You can reduce the amount of oil, add more fresh vegetables, etc. You’ll also likely end up with leftovers that you can enjoy for lunch the next day!

Buy In Bulk

If there are particular items that you use often, consider buying them in bulk. It will save you money in the long run. For example, I buy canned beans in bulk because I know I will use them often, and they keep for an extended period in the pantry.

Also consider using the bulk section of your grocery store. This is where you can buy grains, flours, granola, nuts, seeds, and more. I love using the bulk section when I’m making a new recipe that calls for an ingredient I’m not familiar with because I only need to buy as much as I need.

For example, if you are making a recipe that calls for 1 cup of lentils, you can buy just 1 cup of lentils from the bulk section. This ends up saving you money because you only buy what you need.

Time Saving Tips For Preparing Easy College Meals

  • Chop/prep all of your produce when you buy them or when you have extra time. That way, when it comes to actually making the weeknight meals, all you have to do is throw the ingredients together.
  • Find recipes that use the same vegetables. This will save you money and prep time.
  • Create a meal plan. Take a look at your week and decide which days you will be preparing meals at home based on your schedule. Then, choose your recipes. Creating a meal plan will help prepare for the week, so that when you have a busy night, you can have leftovers to eat.
  • Make a grocery list. I know this seems obvious, but so many of us go to the grocery store without a list and just buy whatever inspires us. While this is a nice thing to do once and awhile, you’ll often find you end up spending more money, without really knowing what to do with the ingredients you buy.

What To Buy To Prepare Healthy Easy College Meals

  • Seasonal Vegetables And Fruits: When creating your weekly meal plan, consider what is on sale or in season at the grocery store, and base your meals off of those.
  • Inexpensive Protein: Beans, lentils, Greek yogurt, and eggs are all excellent sources of protein that are also inexpensive. They can also be prepared quickly, and are full of vitamins and nutrients.
  • Whole Grains: In order to create a well balanced meal, you’ll also need to incorporate whole grains into your meals. This can include whole grain bread, brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat pasta to name a few.

Easy College Meals For Students On The Go


Prepare your meals at home, and avoid getting take-out. You will save a lot of money by doing so! It is also helpful to shop for fresh, seasonal ingredients when planning your recipes. These foods will not only be healthier, but usually cheaper too. Shopping the sales and keeping an eye out for the best deals is another great way to save money on your grocery bills. Lastly, focus on simple recipes so you do not end up wasting food.


As a college student, not only do you need brain food when you’re studying but also easy, convenient meals. Prepare fresh meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables, high protein, and whole grains. Keep things simple, yet healthy by following the recipes provided above!

More Helpful Healthy Recipe Round-Ups!

Want to Save This Recipe?

Enter your email & I’ll send it to your inbox. Plus, get great new recipes from me every week!

Save Recipe

By submitting this form, you consent to receive emails from The Picky Eater.

Love these easy vegetarian recipes? Please leave a 5-star rating 🌟 in the recipe below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page!

You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family-friendly food, and if you have any questions, I’m here to help!

49 responses to “57 Easy College Meals For Students Or Busy Professionals”

  1. I’m a student and these meals seem easy to cook. Definitely gonna try some of them. Really descriptive and helpful article! Stay healthy!5 stars

  2. I absolutely love this! I’m a college student and don’t have enough time or cooking skills to make real meals so this is perfect. I love that it uses the same vegetables in all the recipes. It’s easy to find fast easy recipes all over the internet but they don’t seem to go together like these ones do. Whenever I get in the urge to cook I always have so many left over vegetables and ingredients that weren’t all used up in the one recipe. Then they go bad because it’s hard to find another recipe to use them up in! I was wondering if you had any other groups of recipes like this or if you would post some more!5 stars

    • Thanks so much Laura!! I’m so glad you found this post helpful 🙂 I totally hear you on not being able to use up all the ingredients when you’re cooking for one person and don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen! I don’t have another post like this already up, but I’ll work on developing another one soon! Thanks and hope you enjoy these recipes!

  3. These all look really good but there should be a wider variety. I have a fiance, a 3 year old daughter, and I work and go to school, so it is hard for me to cook everyday. Is there anymore suggestions that you could possibly give?5 stars

    • Hi Vera! Thanks for reaching out! I totally understand it can be hard balancing everything when you have so much going on! This post was only meant to give 5 quick recipe ideas for weeknight meals (so it wouldn’t have a super wide variety). But you can find a much wider variety of recipes by clicking on my “recipes” page; or by clicking on my “quick and easy” tag. Both will give you simple, fast, healthy meals that are ready in under 30 minutes – and you will have plenty of options! You definitely don’t have to cook every night — my suggestion would be to make a double batch of one of my recipes, and use the leftovers the next night. Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!

  4. These recipes are absolutely delicious! I am trying to change my diet, and I usually don’t want to cook on weeknights because it can be quite time consuming. But these recipes are simple and quick to make, and taste so great. This was the first thing I’ve tried on this blog and I love it! Its such a great help.5 stars

    • I’m so happy to hear that Mary Kate!! So glad this list of meals was helpful for you! 🙂

    • Hi Amber! I’m so glad this is helpful for you – you’ll have to let me know how you like these simple, budget-friendly recipes! Happy cooking! 🙂

  5. Thanks for the great recipes! I’m really trying to stick to the 400-calorie mark for meals, so regarding the tacos and the pita pizzas, how many per person is around 400 calories?5 stars

    • No problem! So glad you like them! So for the pita pizzas: 1 whole wheat pita from Trader Joe’s is about 130 calories + 1/4 cup of cheese is about 100 calories + 1 serving of sauce is about 30 calories + 20 calories for the veggies = 280 calories. So if you had about 1.5 pita pizzas that would be 420 calories. For the quesadillas: 1 tortilla is ~120 calories + 1 serving of beans is 100 calories + 1/8 cup of cheese is 50 calories + salsa/veggies is 20-30 calories = 300 calories. So if you had 1.5 that would be 450 calories which is a bit over your limit. Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

  6. I’m a busy college student…I came across this blog post, and I LOVE it. You should do more weeks of quick and easy meals like this 🙂5 stars

  7. These all look delicious. I work late a lot during the week, so these would be great to whip up when I got home or even to take with me! Thanks for the great ideas!5 stars

  8. Love all of the ideas. Cooking for one can be so hard. I always end up throwing out veggies becuase I can’t eat them all. Thanks for the great post!5 stars

  9. I have a 14 year old Freshman in High School who is just beginning to learn to cook, the first 3 on this list will work wonderfully for him, and he can do it all himself. Thanks for getting us thinking!5 stars

  10. thanks so much anjali! everything looks so good and I love all the variety! I can not wait to try these out as soon as the semester starts!5 stars

  11. Everything looks delicious, especially the grilled cheese! I love the idea of pita pizzas, too! Thanks for sharing!5 stars

  12. This is great! I’m going to try to start eating healthier. I feel like this is often difficult as a college student constantly on the run when it’s so easy to stop at McDonalds. Although I personally love to cook & usually make time for it, some simple healthy meals are a great idea for the days of the week where my life is more hectic5 stars

  13. I love easy meals, especially now that my summer break has come to an end and I am back to teaching full time. Definitely holding on to these meals…thanks for sharing!5 stars

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to newsletter

Copyright 2024 The Picky Eater®, LLC. All rights reserved.