Budget & Time-Friendly Meals

School can be stressful, and so can many other things in life. One less stress we want to worry about is ensuring that we have healthy food to eat throughout the day without breaking our banks and consuming too much time! Luckily, I have some options for a healthy and cheap week of meals. With the help of my friend and classmate, Aaliyah, we came up with 5 days-worth of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options using minimal ingredients; all for under $20! You can prep all of these meals in under one hour. Below is a grocery list, all of the recipes, and a video if you’d like to see this process all summed up! Let’s get started!

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What’s on the menu?

Breakfast:

  • Apple Pie Oatmeal
  • Egg Bites

Lunch/Dinner:

  • Stuffed Bell Peppers
  • Burrito Bowls

 

What will we need?

Grocery List:

  • 1 rotisserie chicken
  • 3 bell peppers
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 bag of rice
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 container oatmeal
  • peanut butter or PB powder
  • 1-3 apples
  • 1/2 dozen eggs
  • small container of non-fat Greek yogurt
  • optional sides: cheese, avocado, sausages, salsa
  • optional spices: salt, pepper, cinnamon, oregano, basil, ground cumin, garlic salt/powder

 

1st stop: Egg Bites

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Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • bell pepper, chopped
  • spinach
  • salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. First, preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  2. Then, chop up about 1/3 cup of bell peppers, 1/3 cup of onion, and 1/2 cup of spinach. Crack six eggs into a large bowl.
  3. Add veggies and spices of choice to the bowl and whisk.
  4. Grease a muffin tray and pour mixture into 6 cups. Alternatively, you can whisk the eggs and spices alone, place the veggies into the muffin tins, and pour the eggs over the veggies. Whatever works for you! [You may also choose to use different veggies or add turkey sausages or other meats, the options are limitless! I like to sprinkle my egg bites with cheese before baking.]
  5. Finally, bake for about 16 minutes, let cool, and serve! These egg bites are a great option for students or people with busy schedules.

Store them in the fridge. When you’re ready to eat them, pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds and enjoy on the go!

Stop 2: Apple Pie Oatmeal

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Ingredients:

  • rolled oats (oatmeal)
  • 1 apple
  • cinnamon
  • peanut butter
  • fat-free plain greek yogurt

Instructions:

  1. Chop up an apple and douse in cinnamon.
  2. Put your diced apples in the oven at 350ºF for 15 minutes. [Alternatively, you can airfry the apples for 7 minutes.]
  3. Mix 1/2 cup of oats, 1 tbsp of PB (if powdered), and a tsp of cinnamon together in a bowl and add water. [If using real PB, I suggest adding after you microwave.]
  4. Microwave mixture for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
  5. Add apples to oatmeal mixture.
  6. Top with a table spoon or two of fat-free plain greek yougurt.
  7. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  8. Dive in!

 

The next 2 Recipes use shared ingredients, lowering your food cost even more!

 

Stop 3: Stuffed Bell Peppers

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Ingredients:

  • 2-4 bell peppers (green are usually cheapest)
  • rice
  • can of tomato paste or tomato sauce
  • garlic, minced or chopped
  • rotisserie chicken
  • onion
  • oregano
  • basil
  • garlic powder or salt
  • cheese (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare rice of choice in a rice cooker or stove top. [I like to buy the microwaveable frozen brown rice from Trader Joe’s since it’s cheap and only takes 3 minutes to cook in the microwave.]
  2. Cut off the tops of 2 or more bell peppers and rinse.
  3. Place peppers in boiling water for 4 minutes to soften.
  4. In the meantime, chop any excess bell pepper, 2 garlic cloves, 1/4 of an onion, and 4-6 ounces of your rotisserie chicken.
  5. Saute the ingredients from step 4, starting with the garlic, onions and peppers.
  6. Add the shredded chicken and about 1/3 cup of tomato sauce or paste to mixture. Feel free to add any spices you like! We made an Italian style pepper with oregano, basil, and garlic powder.
  7. Load the mixture into the peppers. [Top with cheese if you want!]
  8. Bake in the oven at 375ºF for 30 minutes.
  9. Let cool and serve!

 

Stop 4: Chicken and Black Bean Burrito Bowls

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Ingredients:

  • rice
  • black beans
  • frozen corn
  • rotisserie chicken
  • tomato
  • bell pepper
  • ground cumin
  • garlic powder or salt
  • chili powder
  • optional: salsa, avocado, lettuce
  1. First off in this recipe is the black bean “salad” mixture. Chop a bell pepper and a tomato.
  2. Add in 1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed) and about 1 cup of frozen corn (defrosted) into a large bowl.
  3. Add in ground cumin, garlic powder, and chili powder to taste and mix. Feel free to add more spices if desired!
  4. Assemble your bowl! For ours, we did about 1/2 cup of the rice we made previously and topped it with about 3oz of the shredded rotisserie chicken, about 1/2 cup of the black bean salad, a bit of shredded lettuce, 1/4 of an avocado, and some salsa. Easy, delicious, and nutritious!

 

Video link with recipes:

Healthy Eating on a Budget

I hope you enjoy these easy-to-make, budget-friendly, stress-free options!

 

 

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How to Enjoy Your Spring Break

Ahhh, S P R I N !

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We are gradually coming into the Spring season. Can you believe it snowed just a few weeks ago here in Las Vegas? With Spring coming into full-swing and with the sun shining a little brighter, there are some things to look forward to, like a much needed break!

On the menu for this blog:

  • Destress before and during your midterms
  • Enjoy your spring break… but really, ENJOY it.

We are upon the dreadful time of midterms, aka stress, stress, and more stress. But there is light just right around the corner!

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Let’s talk about how to lower our stress levels during this intense time of tests, projects, and deadlines. Here are some ways to manage it:

  1. Eat balanced meals and snacks. It’s so easy to grab the nearest snack available to us during time crunches and times of stress, but this is an important time to eat healthy. With healthy fats, complex carbs, and even dark chocolate, our stress levels will decrease. Increase your brain power and lower your stress levels with avocados, nuts, dark chocolate, and tea, to name a few.
  2. Stay on top of it. Create a calendar and write down all of the items you have due or tests you will be taking this week. Then condense the necessary steps into a day-to-day to-do list. Mark off the steps as needed.
  3. Space out your studying as much as you can. Everyone always tells you this, but try your hardest not to cram! This will overload your brain and body with stress. Instead, study as much in advance as you can, and do not forget to take needed breaks. After about 30-45 minutes of studying a subject, it is important to get up and at least walk around for a minute to realign your mind. You can even switch to a different subject after this for 30-45 minutes and then back to the other. This ensures you are taking in the information you need to without overloading an entire unit of work into your brain at once.
  4. Sleep. Sleep? What’s that? I’m in college full-time and I work full-time, who has time for sleep? Well, it’s time we make room for this very important factor to reduce our stresses and keep our memory sharp for upcoming tests. If you can’t fit those perfect 8 hours in, try to take actions to get a better sleep. You can do this by keeping your eyes off of electronics (phones and laptops) 30-60 minutes before sleeping. Try reading, listening to music, or writing to relax your mind before sleeping.
  5. Stay hydrated. Drink water! Lots of it!
  6. Breath. Most importantly, remember to breath. Sounds silly, I know. But taking deep breaths, especially right before a test, have been known to decrease levels of stress or anxiety. When in doubt, focus on your breath.

 

“So now that I finished my midterms, it’s Spring Break! But then theres more school in just a week and I have so much coming up right after that!”

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Am I the only one who does this?

Look, I don’t really have a list for you on how to enjoy your spring break. Everyone has different interests and takes their breaks differently. My only advice to really enjoy your spring break is to actually take a break. Relax your mind as much as you can, and take in that week without school work. It’s going to get more intense after this time, so it truly is important to have fun, let loose, and relax to the best of your abilities.

But I didn’t have to tell you that, right? 😉

Enjoy your Spring Break, everyone!

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Eat Colorfully // Let Life Happen

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What’s on the menu for this blog:

  • Nutrient Density
  • A yummy recipe idea
  • Pushing forward through whatever life throws your way!

First off:

Let’s talk nutrient density.

This topic has come up a lot lately in my conversations with people. Mainly when I’m cooking around my family members and they want to judge me for putting spinach in my tacos or adding some zucchini ribbons to my whole grain pasta.

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The truth is, not only are these dishes I’m making delicious, but they are full of nutrients. And that’s what eating well is all about… getting the nutrients our bodies need.

For those reading that don’t know what nutrient density is, it explains the amount of nutrients you get from a food, given the amount of calories (energy) the food contains. An example could be the difference between eating a salad made with spinach as opposed to a salad made with iceberg lettuce. Spinach is a leafy green that contains high levels of many vitamins including, but not limited to, vitamins K, A, E, B1, folate, iron, magnesium, fiber, etc. Whereas iceberg lettuce also contains many vitamins, but not in as high of amounts as spinach.

We can easily help our friends and family get more nutrients in their daily diets. It’s all about a little switch-a-roo or two. For instance, I made these delicious vegetarian tacos with:

  • Seasoned chickpeas – full of protein, vitamin K, folate, iron, magnesium, vitamin B6 (seasoned with ground cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, and fresh cilantro)
  • Sauteed bell peppers – high in vitamin C, K, E, A, folate, potassium
  • Tomatoes – loaded with vitamin C, lycopene, beta-carotene (aka antioxidants)
  • Raw spinach – packed with vitamins K, A, E, B1, folate, iron, magnesium, niacin, riboflavin, potassium
  • Avocado – rich with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins C, E, K, B6, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid
  • Feta Cheese – for a little extra flavor and protein

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Just look at alllll those colorful nutrients in one meal. It’s a simple switch from meat and cheese only, to flavorful nutrient-dense veggies and legumes. Now, we don’t even need to go that far. We can do easy switches like white rice and pasta to whole grain rice and pasta, or even adding veggies to our eggs or toast in the morning. I believe understanding nutrient density is a huge step to understanding how to eat a more balanced diet. Eat colorfully, and don’t be afraid to eat foods you wouldn’t normally think go together. You’d be surprised at what you can create.

Next:

Let’s get a little serious.

A lot of us start the new year off with goals, aspirations and resolutions. What are some things that you told yourself you would change for the better? What are some goals you wish to reach by the end of the year? And realistically, do you ever plan for life to happen between these goals?

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I bring this up because a lot of us, as students (and even not as students), run on a schedule. We have to juggle many things at a time. Some of us work full-time, have families, take care of someone else, may not have the best home-life, have trouble sleeping, have chronic pain or other health issues, YOU NAME IT! Some of us may have all of this going on, ON TOP OF a full-time school schedule. I think that things outside of our school realm aren’t talked about enough. And the truth is, sometimes it is just so insanely hard to balance it all. Not only are our day-to-day tasks and obligations sometimes hard to balance, but every once in a while, life throws you a curveball.

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I wanted to open this topic up to reinforce that we must be aware that most things in life are unknown. We can be on perfect track, have the perfect idea of what is going to happen for us, think we know exactly where we’ll be 2 years from now, but in reality, things can change in a split second. I think it is important for us to not deter from our goals and aspirations, but to realize that once in a while we may need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and reassess what we need to do at certain points.

Instances may pop up that we do not expect…

You may get injured, you may lose a job, a family member or friend may pass, you may suddenly have to move out or move away, etc. It’s very important to remind ourselves that change is inevitable and it is how we react to our situations and our surroundings that will get us to where we need to be.

Every time life throws you a curve, you should step back, reevaluate, and choose a necessary new course. Life is constant change; we just have to learn how to ride the waves.

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Lastly:

Whether your goal is to eat more veggies, run a marathon, travel to space, adventure the world, open your own business, whatever it may be… just remember:

You’ve. Got. This.

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Stress Less – Drink Smoothies

Hi again, everybody!

SNDA holds a great number of students who have become a part of our awesome association this semester! We appreciate the love and drive, and hope we can all build connections, memories, and friends through our association. Many great volunteering opportunities have happened so far this semester, and there are many more to come!

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I hope everyone’s Fall semester is going smoothly. I know for me, it’s definitely getting intense with project deadlines, exams, and trying to volunteer as much as possible throughout it all! The added stress can make it difficult for a lot of people to stay on their health grind. But in reality, being under stress is one of the most important times to make sure you are investing in your self-care.

A good way to destress, in my opinion, is to find a health-related weekly task to get your mind off of school stresses– at least for a small time. This can include things such as working towards a weight-lifting goal, taking time to make a delicious dinner a couple times per week, drawing, writing, singing, dancing, or anything you love a couple times per week! Remember, you can eat all the “healthiest” food and workout as much as you want, but if your mind isn’t right, are you really as healthy as you think?

What I chose as a fun task to get my mind off of stressors for a small moment, is to create a different “themed” smoothie once per week! With Halloween just having passed, I was inspired by one of my favorite candies—How can I make a healthy, on-the-go version of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups?! And here’s what I came up with:

Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie Recipe (actual PB cups optional)

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Ingredients:

1 1/3 cup almond milk (I like unsweetened Vanilla flavor)

½ of a medium banana

1 tbsp cacao powder

2 tbsp peanut butter

1 small scoop of chocolate protein powder

¼ cup non-fat plain greek yogurt (for creaminess)

1 tsp agave syrup

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Instructions:

Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend!

This recipe was conducted to make a serving of Peanut Butter Cup smoothie for one person, so double or triple the recipe if you want to share! If you love Reese’s as much as I do, but want to make a healthier version that will keep you full, I hope you’ll try my yummy recipe!

[I’ll include another recipe or few on my upcoming blogs for you guys if you like this content!]

What do you do to de-stress?

How much time do you take out of your days or week to do something you love to do?

Really reflect on these questions, and remember to take time for yourself 🙂

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Welcome Back to School – Time to Set New Goals!

Hi everyone and welcome back to another semester!

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Before I begin the first blog of Fall 2018, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Rebekah Manning, but you can call me Bekah. I am a Nutrition major at UNLV and your new Head of Content and Food Day Chair for SNDA. This is my first semester officially enrolled in the DPND Program and I couldn’t be more excited!

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With all of these amazing opportunities I am faced with this semester, I deemed it a great idea to talk about personal goals for the rest of the year.

There are less than four months left of 2018…

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But it doesn’t have to be a bad thing! That means there is still so much time to reach some more of your goals and be even more awesome (than you already are) before the new year!

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Here are some of my ideas to get on track for a goal-achieving semester and final months of the year:

  1. Take a look back at the past Summer and Spring of 2018—what are some things that you accomplished? What goals did you have for yourself? Did you achieve any of them? Do you see more for yourself in the remaining months of the year? Think of what you’d really like to achieve within these months. For me, this year has been all about challenging myself in all aspects of my life. Healthy challenges of course! So I want to encourage YOU to do the same! Just because we are at the latter half of the year, it doesn’t mean we can’t keep progressing and achieving greatness.
  2. Try making a “goal list.” Nothing too crazy that will overwhelm you, but maybe just a few things you wish to achieve in the last few months of 2018. Mine, for example, would be:
  • Get an A or B in all four classes
  • Get yourself to be able to do 5 pull-ups in a row
  • Save $1,000 by New Year’s Eve

3. Make a list of how you can achieve these goals with smaller steps. My example would be:

  • Study at least 2 hours per day
  • Go to office hours whenever you can and build study groups
  • Exercise 3-5 times per week, attempting at least 1 pull-up per session
  • Put away $20 per week from your tips

When we break our big goals down into smaller, daily goals, we have a better chance of achieving them. It is important to not overwhelm yourself with too many goals at once. Only you know how much you are actually able to handle, so set your goals up accordingly. Also try to remember the SMART goal approach and set smaller, time-sensitive goals for yourself that also fit into your schedule. To learn more about setting up a SMART goal, click here.

4. Attack those goals with full-force. Set yourself up for success and continue to take time for what is important to you. Step outside of your comfort zone. Volunteer for that event. Ask questions. Be 100% you and you’ll reach your goals faster than you could even imagine.

It’s only September, there is still so much time left to make your year even better! Keep on kicking butt and make this semester count—inside and outside of school!

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Please feel free to email me at mannir1@unlv.nevada.edu if you have more specific content you would like to see or have any other suggestions/requests. This is my first blogging experience, so feedback is appreciated! Thanks! 🙂