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Collegiette Eats: A Healthy Pasta Dinner

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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 

I headed to a café early yesterday morning to get some work done before class. I wasn't hungry right when I woke up, so I decided I would eat breakfast there. The café has self-serve frozen yogurt, so I brought a peach-flavored Chobani with me and added fruit and nuts from the toppings bar. As much as I love fro-yo, I think 10 a.m. is a little too early for it, which is why I went for Greek yogurt instead. Greek yogurt also has more protein (which keeps you fuller longer) than fro-yo, so this swap makes for more of a substantial breakfast as opposed to just a snack or dessert. 

A colorful and delicious way to start the day

I usually don’t have a lot of fresh berries at home since they're more expensive and get rotten quickly, so when I get the chance to eat them, I go hard. I added strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, kiwi, peaches, pomegranate seeds and sliced almonds to my cup, and then mixed in the Greek yogurt. Definitely OD’d on fruit, but in the best way possible. 

Lunch 

I didn't have time to stop at home yesterday, so I got a falafel pita in between classes. It had falafel, lettuce, tomato, green olives, beets, hummus and tahini. Falafel is one of my favorite vegetarian dishes. Although it's often fried, it still packs in health benefits because it is made from chickpeas, making it a good source of protein and fiber. For a lower-calorie option, you could nix the pita and eat the falafel as a crunchy addition to a salad. 

Dinner 

I was craving pasta last night. Over the weekend, I had bought spinach fettuccine, so I gave it a try for dinner. The noodles I bought (the brand is called "Al Dente") were handmade from eggs and wheat, and then flavored with spinach. The best part was they only took three minutes to prepare and tasted really good! Not much different than regular pasta, but I liked the green color and the texture of the noodles—since they were really thick and chewy, it felt more filling and hearty.

Instead of making the pasta the majority of my meal, I loaded up on vegetables (especially spinach) instead. I’d say my cooked portion of pasta was about ½ cup to ¾ cup. I sautéed spinach, mushrooms, tomato and onion in a little bit of olive oil and minced garlic, and then mixed all of that in with the cooked noodles. I then added a little bit of heated marinara sauce and sprinkled some crumbled goat cheese and Parmesan cheese on top.  I haven’t been feeling well lately, so this bowl full of warm pasta and veggies really did the trick.

Instead of depriving yourself of pasta and other “comfort foods,” I think it’s better to find ways to incorporate them into your diet in healthy ways—such as in smaller or occasional portions, or as a side dish instead of a main course. Lettuces like spinach and kale or nutrient-rich grains like quinoa can make for a healthy base for a meal, and then you can use any less healthy ingredients sparingly. That way, you still get the flavor and pleasure of eating your favorite treats, but in controlled poritons. 

With finals looming in the all-too-near future, it's going to be a little harder than usual to maintain a healthy diet. If you feel the same way, make sure to check back on Sunday for a post about ways to eat healthy amid the stress and time constraints of finals week! Happy studying. 


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