It’s fall. Which means it’s grant writing season, and in my attempts to manage a full course load, two research assistant jobs, a personal life and writing proposals that will stand out against my peers across the country–my meal prep game aint always on point. Especially in NYC, it’s really tempting not to order food from the Thai restaurant down the street, but knowing that I could spend that same $13 and feed myself for part of the week forces me to reserve eating out for dire situations. Thus, I invented my struggle meals. I was never the Ramen Noodles type, but I think of this as the graduate equivalent of cost effective and relatively healthy meal ideas to get you through those hard times.
1. Trader Joes’ frozen Channa Masala or Palak Paneer
I like to make a cup of couscous, also super fast and easy, which I use as a base. This way, I can at least get two meals out of one package.
2. Dole Salad Kit
Sometimes I just don’t have time to make my own salad dressing AND wash the dishes….Sometimes I even add extra lettuce, but be prepared that you will likely run out of dressing.
3. Breakfast for Dinner
No need to reinvent the wheel. If you already had to think about it once today, don’t spend anymore precious energy. I usually have a big canister of oatmeal on hand, so that is always helpful in my times of need.
4. Rotisserie Chicken
They’re usually always the same price because you know mass produced meat products, animal exploitation, Steve Striffler 2007 etc. but it can definitely get you through the week. Also, the deli person might be the only person you talk to all day because you’ve been holed up in your room studying.
In sum, I know it may be hard to properly feed ourselves when we have so much on our plates, but I hope that this helps us make smart(er) choices when we’re feeling especially stressed and healthy eating isn’t very high on our priority list. (I wish I could end this post by saying, “here’s a free coupon or discount code” but……yeah)