When COVID-19 first hit and we had to quarantine ourselves, my fiancé and I had to pinch pennies seeing as we both couldn’t work. Regardless of that, we were adamant about not gaining the quarantine 15 and closely watching what we ate, making sure we kept our calories reasonable and our protein high. We wanted to try and make some things that would be tasty and different from our usual, cheap go-to meals.
We ended up with a bunch of variations and new recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Unfortunately, since this would be way too long if I shared them all, I’ll just share a few of my favorites!
Protein French Toast
Let’s start with breakfast: This one is protein French toast (single serving). The ingredients are three slices of bread, a scoop of protein (about 35 grams), half a cup of egg whites, or one egg suffices, and a quarter cup of milk of your choice. All you have to do is mix the protein, egg, and milk. Dunk your slices in it, and toss it on the pan!
-50 grams of protein
-40 grams of carbs
-8 grams of fat
Now for lunch: Although it might sound a bit strange at first, this is going to be good. It’s a tuna burger (single serving)! The ingredients are as simple as it gets – just one can of tuna, a tablespoon of flour, and an egg. All you do is mix the ingredients in a bowl and maybe add a few spices and then toss it in the pan to cook! Although the burger tastes great by itself, I prefer it paired with a bun, or cut into pieces and tossed into a salad as shown below!
-28 grams of protein
-12 grams of carbs
-6 grams of fat
Lastly, for dinner: We have a chickpea curry (and this recipe will serve two). For this, you’re going to want to start cooking your rice and sautéing some onions and peppers (half a bell pepper, a quarter onion). In addition to these, garlic is added into the mix. After about 5 minutes, add in a cup of chickpeas, then pour in a can of diced tomatoes, and 2 cups of spinach. Whilst letting it simmer, add 2-3 tablespoons of curry powder and a tablespoon of garam masala if you have any. Finally, add salt, pepper, and paprika, then serve with rice of your choice. If you find that the protein is a bit too low for you on this, you can always add a little something extra, like I did, by frying up some shrimp to add in.
-13 grams of protein
-71 grams of carbs
-3 grams of fat
The great part about these meals is that they’re essentially just base ideas, which allows you to add a little razzle-dazzle of your own to make it more interesting! Furthermore, if you even choose to count the macros and they don’t line up exactly, don’t worry, especially considering how everyone will probably have ingredient or brand preferences.
The ingredients used in all of these recipes ranged from $1-3. All but the protein powder – which was around $30. Most of the ingredients are also good for many servings!
On a final note, I want students to be able to get some fun new recipes to try out that are healthy and affordable, in times where saving a few bucks really makes a difference.