With the internet and ever-changing food trends buzzing around social media platforms, there’s a whole world of possibilities when it comes to incorporating new meal ideas into your routine.
Preparing your own meals allows you to stay away from the dining rooms while still giving you the satisfaction of independence and a full stomach.
Here are a few meals, ranked from most to least convenient and affordable for college students.
Coming in at a strong first place is pudding toast.
This recipe went viral on TikTok earlier this year, but it’s still one of the easiest and most affordable breakfast options I’ve found so far.
Pudding toast requires ingredients that are (most likely) already in your fridge, and if you’re looking for a way to finish off some fruit before it expires, this is the treat for you.
TikTok-er “Cooking with Ayeh” broke that trend back in January.
Bread of your choice
1-2 large spoons of Greek yogurt
Drizzle with maple syrup or honey
Preheat your air fryer to 350 F.
Mix together the egg and Greek yogurt to make the pudding, and add maple syrup or honey to sweeten things up.
Whisk everything together.
Press the center of your loaf with the back of a spoon and fill with your pudding mixture.
Place your fruit and cinnamon (optional) on top and place your toast in the air fryer.
Cook for up to five minutes or until golden brown.
Chicken Pan Bowls
Chicken stir-fry has been my favorite meal since day one and it’s an easy way to get your proteins in.
Frozen Teriyaki Chicken
Frozen or fresh peppers and onion
Minute rice in the microwave
Preheat your air fryer to 360 F and cook the chicken for 20 to 30 minutes.
Frozen vegetables can be microwaved according to the packaging and fresh vegetables can be shredded, seasoned to taste and cooked in the air fryer.
Cook the rice in the microwave according to package directions, adding all the ingredients and sauces of your choice to a bowl.
Mix and enjoy!
Salmon Rice Bowl
This dish was first popularized by Emily Mariko, whose aesthetically pleasing cooking videos took over everyone’s TikTok feed.
It’s pretty easy for those who live in a dorm or share a kitchen with five other people.
This is a low stakes meal that ticks all the boxes.
If your salmon isn’t cooked yet, you can easily do so in the air fryer. Season the salmon to taste and cook in the air fryer for up to 10 minutes.
When the salmon starts to crumble, it’s done.
Flake the salmon on the rice. Pour the soy sauce, mayo and sriracha on top and mix together.
Grab your chopsticks, gently wrap the rice mixture with the seaweed, and enjoy the perfect salmon bite.
If you want to load carbs, you have to do it right. Another trend that hasn’t died out is feta pasta.
This dish will leave you with lots of leftovers and no room for dessert, but it does require you to use an oven in whatever cooking space you have available.
Block of feta cheese
Box of pasta of your choice
Crushed red pepper
salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 400 F and use an ovenproof skillet or Pyrex jar. Place the feta block and tomatoes in the pan. Add spices to taste.
Drizzle olive oil on top and bake for 40 minutes or until feta is golden brown and tomatoes are bursting.
While the feta is baking, cook the pasta.
When the block of feta comes out of the oven, add your pasta to the pan, mix and enjoy.
College doesn’t mean cooking has to be boring and tasteless.
If there is an air fryer, there is a way.