66 Healthy College Meals You Can Easily Make When You’re Burned Out

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Cheap Healthy Recipes for College Students That Will Come in Clutch

healthy easy college meal ideas - chia pudding

This is it. This is where your quest to find easy, healthy recipes for college students ends.


I’ve got a ton (and I do mean a TON) of ideas. Really good ones, too. You’ll be pleased to find out that these ideas go well beyond your basic banana slices on a pb&j sandwich type of feel-good college foods.

Right here:

I rounded up over 60 cheap, easy, healthy, and not to mention delicious, recipes into one ultimate post. It’ll help you cut down on search time so you can get right to meal time.

And no matter what your stomach is making the rumblies for:

There’s a low effort dish on this list that’ll be the solution to your craving.

In this post:

College students come in all varieties and from all walks of life. Some choose to live off campus, and some enjoy the community of living on campus. Which is why:

I’ve included cheap healthy meals for college students in apartments and dorms. I indicated which recipes are dorm room friendly. The fanciest thing needed to make those meals is just a good ol’ microwave.

Now: It may come as a shock, but the definitive results are in – yes, you can prepare nutritious dishes with just a microwave. And not just the ready-made Lean Cusine type meals.

See for yourself in the video!

Video: how to make healthy meals in college with a microwave

And those are just three examples of what can be done. Discover so many more easy microwave meals for college students down below.

60+ Healthy College Meals

Now let’s get to the recipe ideas!

To make it easy:

I’ve sorted the recipes to show which ones can specifically be made in a dorm and which are better for students living in an apartment. For the meals that are dorm conducive – it’s assumed a microwave and a mini-fridge are the only accessible appliances.

Breakfast Recipes

Here are some college-friendly recipes to try for breakfast.

Starting with –

Microwave Egg And Vegetable Breakfast Sandwich

healthy meals for students - breakfast sandwich
Via FoodieCrush.com

Yum! How good does that sandwich look??

Hard to believe it’s made with just a microwave!

→ Make this recipe.

2 Minute Omelette in a Mug

healthy college meals - mug omelette
Via DashingDish.com

Eggs are a cheap source of protein and an easy healthy meal for college students to make in a flash.

→ Get this recipe.

Microwave Breakfast Scramble

healthy meals for college students - microwave scramble
Via BudgetBytes.com

There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and there are a dozen different ways to cook an egg. This egg scramble is easy to prepare ahead of time for the whole week.

→ Try this breakfast recipe.

Espresso Protein Shake

cheap healthy college meals
Via @therippedbarbie on Instagram

Here’s a super simple breakfast that’s perfect for mornings when you have to really RUSH –

Mix a protein shake with an espresso shot in a Venti cup, shake it up and call it good! The “recipe” can be made with your protein shake of choice, but these caramel ones mix particularly well.

→ Get more details on this recipe.

Peanut Butter Overnight Oats

easy healthy meals for college students - pb overnight oats
Via MinimalistBaker.com

Overnight oats make life so much easier for everyone!

And this delicious take deserves to be added to your repertoire of healthy easy college meals.

→ Try this recipe.

Overnight Oats 10 Ways

easy healthy recipes for college students - overnight oats
Via One Lovely Life

And because overnight oats are so easy to whip up –

I thought you should know 7 more ways to make them.

→ Check out all the variations on this recipe.

Raspberry Apple Microwave Mug Oatmeal

easy microwave meals for college students - baked oatmeal
Via KimsCravings.com

If you prefer your oats to be hot instead of chilled, you’ll love this satisfying meal.

→ Make this breakfast recipe.

Chai Latte Chia Pudding

easy healthy college meals - chai chia pudding
Via ChoosingChia.com

Combine the best of both worlds, chai and chia. This simple breakfast is the perfect morning pick me up.

→ Try this recipe in a college dorm.

Matcha Chia Pudding

healthy cheap food for college students - matcha chia pudding
Via EmilieEats.com

I didn’t forget about Matcha fans, either! There’s lots to love about chia pudding and all the various flavor combinations.

→ Make this recipe.

The Best Microwave Bacon

healthy meals for college students - microwave bacon
Via CreekLineHouse.com

There’s no need to fear bacon when you’re eating healthy! It can definitely have a place in a well-rounded diet.

This recipe makes crispy bacon a reality even in when you’re living in a dorm room.

→ Get this microwave recipe.

Microwave Egg Caprese Breakfast Cups

healthy recipes for college students - microwave caprese cups
Via FoodieCrush.com

Having a Caprese cup for breakfast is sure to impress your roommate and friends.

You’ll look like a real chef while only needing to put in 10% of the effort.

→ Try this easy recipe.


Breakfast Recipes for College Students in Apartments

These healthy meals for students require the use of a blender, food processor, or oven.

Unless, of course, you have a more creative way to get around that!

Breakfast Sweet Potat-“Oats”

healthy recipes for college students - sweet potato oats
Via LittleBitesOf.com

It turns out that sweet potatoes and oats go together beautifully!

This is a combination you’ll have to try for yourself to make a final verdict, though.
→ Make this savory breakfast recipe.

Strawberry/Peach/Pineapple/Mango Smoothie

healthy recipes for a college student
Via @kennedipennel on Pinterest

Easy college breakfasts don’t get any more easier than a smoothie.

Simple to whip up, but massively delicious.

→ Try this quick recipe.

Pina Colada Smoothie

cheap healthy meals for college students in apartments - smoothie
Via greatist.com

There are some days in college when you wish you were on a beach far away from all the homework, tests, and group projects.

While a pina colada smoothie can’t teleport you there, it can help take your mind off things for a bit.

→ Recipe source.

Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies

healthy meals for students - breakfast cookies
Via ChocolateCoveredKatie.com

I’ll take cookies for breakfast any day of the week!

And these ones are miles better for me than a box of devilishly good Samoas.

→ Make this recipe.

Healthy 2-Ingredient Breakfast Cookies

healthy college meals - 2 ingredient breakfast cookies
Via CafeDelites.com

Bet you weren’t expecting to find chocolate chip cookies on this list of easy healthy meals for college students.

But here we are, and it is amazing!

→ Get the recipe.

Fruit Smoothie Popsicles

healthy recipes for a college student
Via LemonTreeDwelling.com

Real fruit popsicles – like a smoothie, only even more portable.

Plus, they are especially tasty on a warm day. Love this idea!

→ Try this college recipe.


Lunch Recipes

Healthy recipes for a college student who has had enough with boring sandwiches and wants a lunchtime upgrade.

And all on a budget, of course.

Healthy Layered Tuna Salad Jar

cheap healthy college meals - tuna salad in a jar
Via TheViewFromGreatIsland.com

This is one of the fanciest looking tuna salads I’ve ever seen, but it only looks like it took a while to make.

It calls for the fancy, expensive tuna, which honestly tastes amazing (make sure to try the tuna in the gold can at least once in your life). However, you can easily swap it out for another brand of tuna.

→ Make this recipe.

Deli Snack Box

lunches for college - deli snack box
Via DamnDelicious.net

A deli snack box is simple, yet it hits the spot every time. Skip Starbucks, save the cash, and make this equally delish version instead.

→ Get this lunchtime recipe.

Egg and Avocado Egg Wrap

college lunch ideas - egg wrap
Via AHealthyLifeForMe.com

Avocados and bacon are a match made in heaven. Low carbs and high protein, you really can’t go wrong with this easy recipe idea.

→ Make this recipe.

Southwest Hummus Wraps

easy healthy meals for college students - southwest wraps
Via Chef-in-Training.com

There are so many good things packed in these wraps!

→ Get this college lunch recipe.

Coffee Cup Chilaquiles

easy healthy recipes - Coffee Cup Chilaquiles
Via stltoday.com

Coffee cup chilaquiles definitely break up the monotony of typical dorm meals. Mug meals are the best!

→ Try this recipe.

Lunch Recipes for College Students in Apartments

The healthy recipes to try below will work out better for students who have a stove to cook with.

Taco Salad in a Jar

easy healthy college meals - taco salad in a jar
Via PocketChangeGourmet.com

These jar lunch ideas are uber convenient for college students to make ahead of time. Just grab and go when it’s time to head out in the morning.

→ Get this cheap lunch recipe.

Buffalo Chicken Jar Salad

healthy cheap food for college - buffalo chicken salad jar
Via JuliesEatsandTreats.com

Here’s a different spin on the same idea as the previous healthy recipe for college students.

→ Try this recipe.

Peanut Noodle Salad in a Jar

lunch meals for college peanut noodle salad jar
Via EatingBirdFood.com

Love getting Thai food for takeout? If so, this recipe easy healthy meal will be right up your alley.

→ Pick this great recipe for lunch this week.

Thai Salad in a Jar

easy college recipes - thai salad jar
Via WhatShouldIMakeFor.com

Which jar salad option is looking the best to you right now?

→ Make this recipe.

Southwestern Black Bean Couscous Salad

Via FitFoodieFinds.com

Proof that not all salads need to include lettuce!

→ Try this salad recipe.

Vegetarian Mason Jar Burrito Bowls

Via SheLikesFood.com

A delicious mix of veggie goodness to help you power through your days at school.

→ Get this recipe.

Quick and Easy Chicken Burritos

lunch food for college students - chicken burritos
Via GimmeDelicious.com

Not only do they look really good, they’re really easy to make. All in all a huge win when it comes to easy healthy recipes for college students.

→ Make this recipe for lunch.

Healthy Snack Ideas

We all like to snack, and there’s nothing wrong with that!

However, the snacks you choose to eat do matter. Snacking on fresh veggies instead of something sugary is going to support your health in the long term.

If you want ideas that require no-prep work:

Hop on over to this big list of healthy college snacks. It’s got all the best ideas. Now, if you feel like doing some cooking of sorts, here are some fabulous health-conscious snack recipes perfect for college students.

Sriracha Nooch Popcorn

dorm snacks recipes - sriracha popcorn
Via BudgetBytes.com

This is a great recipe for college students living in apartments and dorm rooms. You can make this recipe with popcorn kernels and just a microwave, too!

→ Try this recipe.

Microwave Kale Chips

snacks for college healthy - microwave kale ships
Via BiggerBolderBaking.com

Want something crunchy but still need to get your greens in?

That’s where savory kale chips come in!

→ Make this easy recipe.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Apple Bites

healthy snacks for college students - apple granola wedges
Via TheComfortofCooking.com

Sometimes when it’s snack time, your sweet tooth is calling.

This yummy apple bites will hit the spot without being just empty calories. 5 minutes and 5 ingredients is all you need!

→ Try this college snack recipe.

No Bake Oatmeal Energy Bites

healthy snacks busy student - energy bites
Via WellPlated.com

Energy bites are a deliciously easy way to fuel your body on the go. They are so convenient, I love having ready-to-go meals like this around.

→ Make this quick snack recipe.

Microwave Sour Cream & Onion Veggie Chips

cheap college snack - microwave veggie chips
Via SprinkleSomeFun.com

Veggie chips are similar to potato chips, but without any guilt.

Save at the store by making your own!

→ Try this recipe.

Frozen Banana Bites

healthy college snacks - frozen banana bites
Via NoBiggie.net

Most mini fridges don’t have a separate freezer section which is why this snack idea works out better for apartment dwellers.


If you DO have a mini fridge with a freezer, I don’t see why you couldn’t make these!

→ Make this recipe.


Dinner Recipes

Healthy meals for college students that will help you get your grub on fast when it’s midnight, you’re starving and you just need something to eat.

Single-Serve Microwave Shakshuka

college dinner ideas - microwave shakshuka
Via TheKitchn.com

Poached egg in tomato sauce = yes, give me that!

→ Try this recipe.

Microwave Spanish Rice

healthy meals for students - spanish rice
Via TheKitchn.com

Rice is the ultimate cheap staple to keep in your college pantry.

→ Make this recipe.

Parm Herb Microwave Spaghetti Squash

easy microwave college food - spaghetti squash
Via JoyfulHealthyEats.com

Add some sauce, and you’ve got a low carb version of actual spaghetti.

→ Make this microwave recipe.

Microwaved Caprese Pita Pizza

close up view of pita pizza topped with mozzarella cheese, tomato, and basil - an easy healthy meal for college students to make in a microwave
Via Tasty.co

Yep, you can still have pizza while eating right!

Lower calorie versions like this recipe that have a thinner crust and include more veggies are a great choice.

→ Try this yummy meal idea.

Easy Microwave Baked Potatoes

healthy recipes for students - microwave baked potato
Via EatingonaDime.com

Potatoes are so cheap, so filling, and so versatile. They even have some good nutrients for you too.

Knowing how to make a baked potato in the microwave is a lifesaver in college!

→ Use this simple recipe.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup In A Mug

easy healthy meals - potato soup mug
Via BiggerBolderBaking.com

Chilly weather gets me the biggest cravings for some good soup. This healthy college meal is a whole lot quicker to make than a whole pot of soup. Easy recipes kind of make it all the more delicious.

→ Make this recipe.

Healthy Microwave Nachos

healthy college recipe - microwave nachos
Via Tablespoon.com

Because who doesn’t love nachos?? Cheap college meals that are also healthy, like this one, are the best.

→ Make this college recipe.

Lemon Garlic Broccoli

healthy food for a college student - broccoli
Via StepAwayFromtheCarbs.com

Because sometimes you get tired of eating veggies raw!

→ Try this recipe.

Mediterranean Microwave Fish

Maybe don’t make this in your room if you don’t want it to smell like fish for a week.

But hey, it’s your life, and if you want fish, you want fish.

→ Get the written recipe.

Meatloaf in a Mug

easy microwave meals for college student - meatloaf
Via TasteofHome.com

Classic comfort food in one low calorie, single-size serving.

→ Make this microwave recipe.

Microwave Cauliflower and Cheese

cheesy cauliflower florets in a bowl that looks exactly like macaroni and cheese
Via Dorm Room Cook

All the creamy goodness of mac n’ cheese but with a healthy twist.

This is such a good low-carb meal, and making it in your dorm room couldn’t be easier!

→ Try this easy mug meal.

Microwave Mushroom Risotto

healthy recipes college students - mushroom risotto
Via foodnetwork.com

Comfort food you can whip up with a microwave. Isn’t it amazing what you can make without a kitchen?

→ Make this healthy easy college recipe.

Easy Healthy Chicken Salad

college dinner ideas - healthy chicken salad
Via Kristine’s Kitchen

A different twist on the classic chicken salad. It can easily be made with shredded rotisserie chicken which should make enough for more than a couple of meals.

→ Try this recipe.

Dinner Recipes for College Students in Apartments

You’re gonna want an oven to be able to make these college foods.

Zucchini Lasagna

easy healthy meals for college students - zucchini lasagna
Via Live Well Kitchen

All the cheesy deliciousness of regular lasagna, only with a lot fewer calories. I love creative recipes that modify classic comfort foods like this!

→ Make this healthy recipe.

Easy Zucchini Pizza Bites

dinner ideas for college students - zucchini bites
Via iheartvegetables.com

I’m all about healthy college meals that make it fun to get your veggies in. Plus, who doesn’t love pizza – yum!

→ Try this recipe.

Broccoli and Cheddar Twice-Baked Potatoes

easy cheap healthy dinner - twice baked broccoli cheddar
Via BakerbyNature.com

Step up your baked potato game with this mouth-watering idea. Potatoes are so cheap, and there’re so many ways to cook with them!

→ Make this college dinner recipe.

Ultimate BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

dinner meals college - bbq chicken quesadillas
Via BudgetBytes.com

Not only do these look AMAZING, they also taste amazing – enough said.

→ Try this delicious recipe.


No-Bake Dessert Recipes

And now for my favorite types of recipes:

The super easy yet still healthy desserts!

PB&J Mug Cake

microwave mug dessert - pb&j cake
Via kitchensanctuary.com

Peanut butter and jelly just got an upgrade thanks to this mug cake creation.

→ Make this recipe.

4-Ingredient Mug Cake

college dessert ideas - mug cake
Via The College Nutritionist

Minimal ingredients needed, yet they combine together for truly yummy result.

→ Try this simple dessert recipe.

Skinny Single-Serving Microwave Brownie

healthy microwave dessert - skinny brownie
Via AmysHealthyBaking.com

It should be a sin for something to taste this good yet still be healthy! It’s perfect when you need something sweet and now.

→ Indulge yourself with this recipe.

Healthier Peanut Butter Dip

recipes for college kids - peanut butter dip
Via ItsYummi.com

An easy college meal that’s great for dipping apples and other fruits. Plus, it’s perfect for sharing with roommates during long study sessions.

→ Make this recipe.

Microwave Apples in a Bag

cheap college meals - apples in a bag
Via SaladinaJar.com

This quick recipe is basically apple pie filling in a bag (or a bowl). And it is addictingly good.

→ Try this microwave recipe.

Healthy Chocolate Microwave Muffin

dessert for one college - microwave muffin
Via DessertsWithBenefits.com

It’s always a good idea to have a healthy easy college meal like this in your back pocket. So when a chocolate craving hits, you’ll know just the sweet treat to make!

→ Give this healthy dessert recipe a shot.

3-Ingredient Blueberry Yogurt Bites

Simple, yet just sweet enough. I’m a BIG fan of yogurt dipped fruits!

→ See the written recipe.

Chocolate Banana Frozen Yogurt Bark

healthy college meals - banana yogurt bark
Via MyFussyEater.com

If you’ve ever had Nutella on a piece of toast topped with sliced banana, you already know how good of a combination it is. So simple to make, this sweet treat does not disappoint when you want something cold.

→ Try this recipe.

Super Easy Frozen Yogurt Bark

cheap healthy recipes for college student - frozen yogurt bark
Via iwashyoudry.com

There are more than a few ways to dress up yogurt bark. These are some favorites!

→ Make this quick recipe.


How to Eat Healthy in College

So, how do you eat healthy on a budget?

Think about it:

Crackers, heat & eat meals, chips, candy, and other snacks tend to be the most expensive stuff are the store. It’s because they’re convenience foods. They save you time and effort to bring you quicker hunger satiating satisfaction. Those benefits come at a price, though.


On a per item basis, they don’t seem that pricey. But $3.99 for a box of crackers here, $4.99 for a bag of fries there, plus $5.99 for a 12 pack of cola…

Well, it adds up quickly! Living heavily off of packaged foods is the quickest way to burn through your college food budget.

What to do instead –

  1. Plan your meals ahead of time.
  2. Make a shopping list based on your planned meals and stick to it. Avoid grocery shopping when you’re hungry!
  3. Choose generic products whenever possible. I get it, some generics just aren’t the same as the original. Although, I’ve found most staple foods are practically identical.
  4. Buy fresh fruits and vegetables based on what’s in season.

Learning how to eat healthy on a budget is a straightforward concept. Simply narrow down your grocery list to include more (or ideally – just) whole foods like vegetables, fruits, protein sources & grains.

Produce is relatively inexpensive, but you can further reduce your expenses by buying only what you know you’ll consume before it goes bad. Or, opt for longer lasting frozen veggies and fruit.

When you do this, it becomes realistic and affordable to feed yourself good shit as a student. You’ll need to be a little more creative and spend more time cooking, but it is an attainable goal for college students to eat healthy. Especially when meal prepping is utilized.

How to start eating right

Oftentimes, just the act of starting something new can be the hardest part.

This is where an article with more guidance can be helpful. So I’ve included some informative ones below…

A healthy diet on just $20 a week

Frugal Farm Girl shares how you can do it.

Straight from the source

In this guide, Sarah from The Olden Chapters shares how all the details about how she eats healthy in college on a budget.

Feeding yourself with a meal plan at college?

Life et Moi by Sofia has tips that’ll help you eat right at the dining hall.

And if you aren’t…

Samathability has you covered with tips on how to survive without a meal plan.


Another good place to start

– is with my guide to eating healthy in college on a budget. In the post, I’ve simplified it by breaking it down into 10 actionable steps.

College Meal Prep

Meal prepping has some great benefits. For one, if you’re short on time to spend making food during the week (like most college kids) it makes sense to meal prep.


Having healthy food readily available makes it so much easier to resist the temptation of junk food. I know that when I’m busy, I honestly just eat what whatever’s the quickest thing for me to grab.


Meal prepping in college can be a useful tool for budgeting. Planning meals means you already know what items are going to be on your grocery list. And less winging it style grocery shopping also means fewer impulse buys.

Like most life changes, transitioning to a college meal prep lifestyle can be rocky at first.

But, overall:

Once you’re in the swing of things, it actually gives you one less thing to worry about. Simplifying your life is a fantastic way to reduce stress, too!

Meal Prep Resources for College Students

So –

If you’re interested in giving meal prepping a shot, here are two places that can help you get started with meal prepping in college:

1. BudgetBytes.com

Budget Bytes is run by food blogger, Beth, and she has over 1000 deliciously affordable recipes to choose from. I love how she breaks down the costs of each meal!

Her goal is to help satisfy both your taste buds and your wallet. She even has a section of her website dedicated to budget friendly meal prep recipes.

A few meal prep idea favorites from Budget Bytes:

2. CollegeNutritionist.com

The College Nutritionist has a ton of college meal prep recipes and tips. Rachel provides weekly plans based on specific calorie goals, which is super useful if you’re trying to lose weight.

Her meals are creative, healthy and keep a college budget in mind. I recommend checking out her blog for ideas.

Some of my favorite meal prepping ideas from The College Nutritionist:

3. Video: meal prepping in college (no oven – microwave only)

4. Additional useful online resources:


Conclusions on easy healthy meals for college students

Wow, that sure was a LOT of healthy college meals and recipe ideas! I hope this list helped you decide on what to eat.

What are your go-to healthy cheap college meals?


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  1. For people who don’t want to put much effort into food preparation, here are some easy meals. Oatmeal for breakfast (oatmeal, water, and sweetener) each day is easy, health, and filling. Baked or boiled potatoes or sweet potatoes can be a whole, very filling and healthy, meal. Another easy healthy meal is brown rice mixed with sweet and sour sauce or teriyaki sauce, choosing from sauces in the international aisle of the grocery store. Also, when I made a switch to a predominantly whole food, plant-based diet, my food bill for a household of one dropped by about one quarter. Even though I had to purchase more grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits, that expense was thoroughly offset by the reduction of meats and dairy products.

  2. I’m sure my kids are going to love these recipes! I can’t wait to try these! Thank you so much for sharing!