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7 Healthy Meals That Have 5 Steps or Fewer


With classes, jobs, internships, Greek life, clubs, sports and everything else we have going on as collegiettes, it can be difficult to find time to prepare a healthy meal every day. And honestly, we aren’t all exactly ready to sign up for Top Chef, either. We know the struggle can be real, so we compiled a list of healthy recipes that are simple and only require five steps or fewer to make! They’re easy enough for anyone to make, so you can make a meal no matter how busy your schedule is or how minimal your cooking skills are.


1. Oatmeal Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Recipe from Food.com

There is nothing better than pancakes in the morning—especially when they’re made from healthy ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen! These pancakes are a great way to start your day because they’re filled with a balance of fiber and protein to keep you satisfied and energized ‘til lunch. Fiber is important for digestive health and prevents you from feeling sluggish, and protein helps to boost your metabolism. You can switch up the recipe by experimenting with different toppings, like banana, berries, honey or nut butter.  


  • ½ cup oatmeal
  • ½ cup cottage cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 egg whites


  1. Blend all ingredients together in a blender.
  2. Heat skillet over medium-low heat and spray skillet with cooking spray.
  3. Pour ¼ cup of batter onto skillet and cook for 2 minutes, then flip to other side.
  4. Continue with the rest of the batter.
  5. Top with your favorite toppings!

2. Greek Yogurt Parfait

Recipe from Whole Living

If you know you have a long day ahead of you, start your day with this yogurt parfait. Greek yogurt is loaded with protein, which helps you stay fuller longer, so you won’t be starving an hour later. Mixing in fresh fruit and walnuts adds sweetness and crunch, making for a very yummy breakfast!


  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup fresh fruit of choice (berries, chopped apple, kiwi, mango—go crazy!)
  • ¼ cup chopped, toasted walnuts
  • ½ tablespoon honey


  1. Layer yogurt, fruit and walnuts into a glass, alternating each layer until the glass is filled.
  2. Drizzle honey on top.


3. Turkey, Avocado and Hummus Wrap

Recipe from FITNESS Magazine

This wrap is a perfect midday meal for you to whip up in between classes or make in the morning to take with you on the go. The hummus is made from chickpeas, which are a great source of fiber, protein and manganese. Manganese is important for strong bone health. The avocado contains a large amount of potassium, which is a natural electrolyte that promotes heart health and strong bones and aids in digestion. Eat this energy-boosting wrap so you can skip that fourth cup of midday coffee!


  • 1 whole wheat tortilla
  • 2-3 tablespoons red pepper hummus
  • 3 slices low-sodium deli turkey
  • 1/4 avocado, sliced
  • Pickle slices


  1. Spread tortilla with hummus.
  2. Layer on turkey, avocado and pickle slices.
  3. Roll wrap, then slice.

4. Three-Bean Pasta Salad

Recipe from Martha Stewart

A pasta salad is perfect to make the night before you have a long day of classes because it can be stored in the fridge to take for lunch the next day. This one incorporates beans, which are high in fiber and antioxidants. The fiber will keep you energized and antioxidants are great for your overall health. Store the salad in a small container and you’ll have a lunch that’s easy to tote around with you!


  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 ounces small pasta shells
  • 3/4 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 4 scallions (white parts only), thinly sliced
  • 5 stalks celery, thinly sliced


  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes fewer than package instructions.
  2. Add green beans and cook 3 minutes more.
  3. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine mustard, vinegar, honey and oil.
  5. Add pasta mixture, pinto beanschickpeas, scallions and celery; toss gently. Season with salt and pepper.


5. Hummus and Roasted Veggie Pizza

Recipe from FITNESS Magazine

Pizza always sounds good, but we all know it’s not exactly a health food. Luckily, this pizza is more nutritious than the one you ordered in when you were too lazy to cook. Rather than pizza sauce and cheese, this one is topped with delicious roasted veggies and hummus. If you can’t go without cheese on your pizza, add a few sprinkles of crumbled goat cheese, which pairs well with the smokiness of the roasted veggies. Try making this recipe next time you’re craving some pizza—it will take the same the same amount of time to make as the pizza guy did to deliver!


  • 1 whole wheat pita
  • Handful of your favorite veggies (try spinach, tomatoes and zucchini)
  • 2 tablespoons hummus
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Roast veggies on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
  2. Top pita with hummus, add the roasted veggies, then bake for 10 minutes.
  3. Slice and enjoy!

6. Zesty Taco Salad

Recipe from POPSUGAR

Taco Tuesdays will be even better with this amazing salad. Made with fresh, flavor-packed ingredients, this meal is a fiesta in a bowl. The protein from the beef, cheese and beans will keep you satiated when you’re cranking away at that paper in the library all night. It makes two large salads, so you can make it for you and a friend, or make both servings and save the other one in the fridge for lunch or dinner tomorrow.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 head of red leaf lettuce
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed
  • 3/4 cup Cotija cheese, crumbled
  • 3 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup tortilla chips, crumbled
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large lime, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons minced cilantro


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the jalapeños and garlic and cook for about a minute.
  2. Add the ground beef, 3/4 teaspoon cumin, chili powder, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir to break up the ground beef and cook through, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Wash and dry the lettuce. Tear apart. Evenly arrange the beans, cheese, radishes, green onions, tomatoes and tortilla chips. Split the ground beef mixture between the two bowls.
  4. In another small bowl, combine 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and minced cilantro. Add the lime juice and olive oil. Whisk together.
  5. Pour dressing evenly over salad and toss together.

7. Big Green Stir-Fry

Recipe from Hungry Girl

If you’re craving Chinese food, check out this recipe before getting takeout. Packed with a variety of veggies and lean protein, this stir-fry has an Asian-inspired flavor but is much lighter and less salty than the fare you’ll get at a restaurant. And it only takes about 15 minutes to make! This recipe also makes two servings, so partner up or save the leftovers.


  • 10 ounces raw boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into strips 
  • 1/8 teaspoon each salt and black pepper 
  • 3 cups sugar snap peas 
  • 2 cups chopped asparagus 
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms 
  • 1 tablespoon light/low-sodium soy sauce 
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic 
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed ginger 
  • 3 cups chopped spinach leaves 
  • 1/2 cup canned sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 1/2 ounce (about 2 tablespoons) sliced almonds


  1. Bring a wok (or large skillet) sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat. 
  2. Add chicken and season with salt and pepper. Add snap peas, asparagus, mushrooms, soy sauce, garlic and ginger. Add 2 tablespoons water, and cook and stir until veggies are soft and chicken is cooked through, about 7 to 9 minutes. 
  3. Add spinach and water chestnuts. Cook until spinach has wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes. 
  4. Sprinkle with almonds and serve! 

With these recipes, there’s no excuse to miss out on a healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner. A meal with just five steps or fewer means you can have it ready in less time than it takes to watch an episode of your favorite TV show. We all tend to get into bad eating habits at school, so try one of these out the next time you’re in a time crunch and want a nutritious, tasty meal!

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