As busy college students, it can be difficult to find time to cook elaborate meals—especially if you don’t have access to a full kitchen. Luckily, most people have access to a microwave, which can cook meals quickly and with minimal mess. Everybody knows that you can microwave Bagel Bites, Ramen, or the remnants of yesterday’s Chipotle, but there are a lot of lesser-known nutritionally dense foods that you can add to your microwave repertoire!
Scrambled Eggs—Mix two eggs, a splash of low-fat milk, and some salt and pepper in a bowl with your fork. Microwave for 45 seconds, stir, and return to the microwave for 30-45 more seconds, until the eggs reach the desired consistency. If you’re craving something extra gourmet, try adding some spinach leaves, salsa, or shredded cheese. Eggs are one of the most inexpensive complete proteins on the market—complete with selenium, Vitamins D, B6, and B12, as well as zinc and iron!
“Baked” Sweet Potato—Wash your sweet potato well and pierce it with a fork about six to eight times. Wrap it loosely in a wet paper towel, place it on a plate, and microwave for 5-6 minutes, flipping it about halfway through. After it’s done cooking, cut it in half and add toppings such as a dab of low-fat butter, some salt and pepper, or shredded cheese. Sweet potatoes are a great source of fiber, Vitamin A, and potassium!
Steamed Asparagus—Chop asparagus spears into bite-sized chunks, and add to a microwave bowl with 1 tablespoon water and a splash of lemon juice. Microwave for 3-4 minutes, until tender, then add salt and pepper to taste. Asparagus is packed with Vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as fiber and tons of minerals!
Quinoa—Combine 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water and microwave in a covered bowl for 6 minutes. Stir, and microwave for 2 more minutes. After this, almost of the water should be absorbed into the grains. Let it sit for about 5 more minutes until the rest of the water is absorbed. Quinoa is a great source of non-meat protein, is a whole grain, and goes great with some microwaved veggies!
Popcorn—This is a classic that can’t be skipped! It’s a whole grain, makes a great study snack, and can be easily packed in a baggie to take with you on the run! Break out of the plain popcorn rut by adding your own flavoring—add a dash of Old Bay or taco seasoning, or try tossing it in a few tablespoons of buffalo sauce or Sriracha!
Cinnamon Apples—Slice an apple into thin slices (less than a centimeter thick), and spread them out on a microwave-safe plate. Dampen the slices with a bit of water, and add a sprinkle of cinnamon, and microwave for 2-3 minutes. Enjoy these on their own as a no-added-sugar dessert, or add them on top of a scoop of vanilla ice cream to add an extra punch of nutrients!
What’s your favorite thing to make in the microwave?
If you’d like more ideas for making healthy eating more convenient you can schedule an intake with our dietitians by calling our intake department at 877-674-2843 x 0 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Katelyn Manga, RD, LDN – Registered Dietitian, DC office at The Body Image Therapy Center. If you would like to get in touch with Katelyn please call 877-674-2843 or email email@example.com.