My Top Nutritious and Easy Meals of 2021

Mental Health & Self Love

January 03, 2022

When school gets overwhelming and difficult, cooking is what I look forward to. Eating nutritious, healthy meals is such an important part of being a student. Food is fuel, and it's essential that you nourish your body with foods that it will thrive off.

This does not entail restricting yourself to certain food groups or foods you enjoy, but rather, eating healthy is about making sure each meal is satiating. A satiating meal is simple. All it needs is a source of protein, carbs, and fruits/vegetables.

By including all these food groups in each meal you consume throughout the day, you will find that you are fuller for longer and feel energized. These simple recipes are great for when you are feeling lazy, but they will also make it so you are properly nourishing your body.

A Salmon Plate

Fish is not everyone's favorite food, but it is an excellent source of both protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Though cooking salmon sounds complicated, it is one of my go-to meals that I can always count on. After 15-20 minutes in the oven, your salmon will be ready to eat.

I love to pair my salmon with broccoli, carrots, and brown rice. But, these sides can be alternated, depending on what you are craving. For instance, instead of brown rice, you can have sweet potato or pasta.

Rather than having broccoli or carrots, you can have a side salad. All you need for a delicious, satisfying salmon plate is balance, meaning some protein, carbs, and fruits and vegetables.

A Burrito Bowl

Like a salmon plate, burrito bowls are one of my favorite meals. Making a source of protein for this meal can be done in only ten minutes. I always pair ground turkey or chicken with rice and a bunch of vegetables.

This meal is filled with nourishing ingredients that will keep you satiated for a long period of time. Whether you decide to have this meal for lunch or dinner, there is lots of room for freedom. And, this is a meal I never get sick of. By easily being able to switch the meat and vegetables, you'll find yourself craving this meal more often than you would think.

A Chickpea Salad

It might be difficult to imagine how someone might crave a salad. But, with the right toppings and ingredients, a salad can definitely be a satisfying meal with a source of protein, carbs, and fruits/vegetables. I tend to combine several different kinds of vegetables, some nuts, dried cranberries, sweet potato, and chickpeas to make a delicious salad that keeps me full for hours.

I especially love having this meal for lunch because it energizes me for the rest of my day, while still being light. There's nothing worse than feeling sluggish and groggy after a meal. Food is meant to energize you, and meals like this are both delicious and nourishing.

A Bowl of Pasta

For whatever reason, pasta has gained a negative reputation over the years. But, remember, there is nothing wrong with pasta, and there is certainly nothing wrong with carbs. Rather, it is important that your pasta is accompanied by other nourishing foods.

Pasta by itself will not make a satiating meal. But, by adding protein such as steak or chicken, along with whatever vegetable you desire, a healthy meal can easily be created.

I even enjoy making a homemade pasta sauce, rather than using a store-bought one. Though this may seem unrealistic for many students with busy schedules, making your own pasta sauce can be fairly easy, as long as you keep the ingredients minimal. I love blending avocado, oil, herbs like cilantro, and a bunch of spices to make a comforting, yet light sauce. Additionally, sauces like pesto only call for a few, basic ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.

Pasta is such a time-saver when you have lots of time-consuming homework and assignments.

A Loaded Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite foods. They are comforting and warm, but also very satisfying. A sweet potato itself is not a meal, but by adding lots of different toppings, you can make yourself an amazing meal with minimal effort.

Once you are done baking your sweet potato for around 40-50 minutes, stuff it with your favorite foods. I always add chicken, black beans, corn, along with some vegetables to my sweet potato.

What I most like about this meal is that I can put the sweet potato in the oven and then walk away. I don't need to spend unnecessary time in the kitchen, hovering over the stove and waiting for my meal to cook. While the sweet potato is cooking, I can work on homework and assignments.

A Sandwich

Though a sandwich is an extremely common and simple meal, it is satiating nonetheless. I constantly turn to sandwiches for a quick lunch. Sandwiches make it easy to have carbs, bread, and some kind of protein, which usually is turkey or ham.

But, feel free to use other meats, depending on what you find the most flavorful. This meal also allows you to easily add in some fruits and vegetables. Not only can you have a side of fruits and vegetables, but you can also put some lettuce inside your sandwich.

Whenever you find yourself short on time, a sandwich is a way to go.

A Chicken And Quinoa Bowl

Chicken and quinoa are my favorite combination. Quinoa is notoriously known for being bland, but, trust me, with the right spices and flavorings, quinoa can be a great and delicious source of carbs. But, throwing chicken and quinoa onto a bed of lettuce will not satisfy you as a meal should. Remember to add your favorite vegetables, cheeses, nuts, and more to not only bulk up this meal but to also make the meal enjoyable to eat.

Although making healthy and nutritious recipes as a student is challenging, eating well should be a priority for all of us. A healthy meal does not need to be complex in any way. You can make an enjoyable and nourishing meal with only a few ingredients. These recipes can easily be changed to incorporate the foods you love, and they are here to help when you find yourself with no recipes in mind.

Sophene Avedissian
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Sophene Avedissian is a sophomore in high school. She writes for her school newspaper, Spyglass, the Los Angeles Times High School Insider, and the Youth Civics Initiative. During her free time, Sophene enjoys reading, playing soccer, and spending time with family and friends.