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Collegiette Eats: Cauliflower Rice

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Sick of eating cereal and ramen for lunch and dinner? Want to spend less money eating out and finally start cooking for yourself? Put down that frozen pizza, because HC’s Health Editor, Sammie Levin, is here to share her daily eats so you can get ideas for healthy, satisfying meals that are easy enough for any time-strapped collegiette to make. After you read Collegiette Eats, your taste buds, wallet and waistline will thank you.

Breakfast

With back-to-back group project meetings on Saturday morning, breakfast had to be a quickie. I had two pieces of toasted Ezekiel bread (yes, I already broke Passover) topped with almond butter, banana, honey and cinnamon. I was in a hurry so I accidentally went a little bit overboard with the cinnamon. Cinnamon challenge, anyone?

Lunch

I've featured healthier swaps for ice cream, french fries and pasta, and now it's time for a healtheir alternative to rice: cauliflower! Just when you thought cauliflower couldn't get any better after learning it could be turned into a pizza crust, now you have even more reason to love this underrated vegetable.

Turning cauliflower into rice takes just about as little time as it takes to cook regular rice, give or take a little depending on how you choose to prepare it. There are a bunch of different recipes and variations of cauliflower rice online, but since I was short on time and ingredients, I used the simplest method. I cut the head of cauliflower into florets, ground the florets in a food processor until the bits were approximately the size of rice, and then microwaved the "rice" in a bowl for about three to four minutes. I added some chopped green onion for added flavor. If you have more time to spare, you can prepare the rice in a skillet (with onions and garlic, if you like) or oven-roast it to get a crispier texture. 

I was running very low on groceries yesterday, so I ended up making the cauliflower rice and then realizing I didn't really have anything good to mix into it. I found a sweet potato, and since I've had sweet potato stuffed with quinoa before, I figured it might taste good stuffed with cauliflower rice. I didn't have time to bake the potato in the oven, so I just popped it in the microwave for several minutes. It turned out to be a slightly odd combination flavor- and texture-wise, and I probably would not repeat it, but it was still good. After a few bites in, I rummaged through our kitchen cabinets to see if there was anything else I could add. I found a can of black beans and corn, so I mixed about a quarter to a half cup each of those in, and that definitely improved the dish. The next time I make cauliflower rice, I want to make either this Asian Cauliflower Fried Rice or this Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice for a better-planned meal. So many "rice-ipes," so little time. 

Dinner 

I went out to dinner with a few friends and ordered a quinoa and kale salad topped with grilled salmon and served with a lemon cumin vinaigrette. If you're ever stuck trying to find a healthy option at a restaurant, see which adjustments you can make to the salads on the menu. Most restaurants, like the one I went to last night, have the option of adding chicken, steak, or fish to a salad, so if the salad on its own seems meager, top it with a grilled or baked protein option. You can also try requesting adding other vegetables to the salad that appear elsewhere on the menu.

When it comes to less-healthy salad toppers, such as tortilla strips, croutons, bacon bits or big portions of cheese, if you're looking to cut down on calories, you can ask your server to nix those items or give you a smaller serving. Lastly, as I'm sure you've already been told by a fellow collegiette since it's one of the oldest tricks in the book, ordering dressing on the side is always a good idea because restaurants will often drench the salads, so getting it on the side enables you to control your portion. Eating out healthily can be tougher at some restaurants than others, but with a few swaps up your sleeve, you can almost always make something on the menu work in your favor. 


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