A Full Week of Healthy Meals for Busy Students

In school and in the real world, schedules are jam-packed during the week. Sometimes you don’t even know when you’ll get the chance to eat lunch during the day. Mornings are busy and time seems to fly between the time you wake up to the time you need to be in clinic, class, or the office.

I struggle with never wanting to be late, but always wanting to make sure I have enough food to get me through the busy day ahead. This is where meal prepping comes in handy! I’ve found that if I just prep breakfast, lunch, and snacks on Sunday nights, my mornings are a breeze. When my mornings are a breeze, my day starts out stress-free, on-time, and with enough food to keep me energized all day!

Here, I have shared numerous recipes and meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks to get you through your busy week. Enjoy these grad school healthy meals and stay energized throughout your whole week!

A Full Week of Grad School Healthy Meals & Recipes for the Busy Grad Student | SpeechLyss | Guide To Grad School

Grad School Healthy Meals

Breakfast

I loveeee breakfast! It’s by far my favorite meal. Since I usually workout in the morning, I’m always starving for breakfast, and I want to get something filling and nutritious in me right away. All of the following breakfast meals can be prepped for – even the eggs!

Sunny Side Up Eggs Over Veggies

1 Full Week of Grad School Healthy Meals & Recipes for the Busy Grad Student | SpeechLyss | Guide To Grad School
You might be thinking, how the heck do I meal prep for eggs?? Well, the hardest part about this meal is the cut-up veggies. Whenever you prep veggies for the week, set a couple portions aside for breakfast.

When you make this dish, toss the prepped veggies in a pan with your favorite oil and some spices. I’m partial to Kirkland brand’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil. My favorite spices are fresh garlic (get the pre-minced kind in a jar and your favorite garlicky meals will be so much easier to make!),  and Mrs. Dash’s Table Blend!

Cook the veggies for 2-3 minutes before adding the eggs. Crack them right over the top of the veggies.

TIP: Add a few drops of water to an open spot in the pan and cover with a lid. The water + cover combination allows the slimy, stubborn part of the egg to actually cook along with the rest!

Add some pepper, avocado, and Siracha and you have yourself an easy, healthy, and filling breakfast to start your day!

Smoothies

Mmmm, I just love smoothie bowls! I am brand new to these puppies and I cannot get enough. I purchased some chia seeds, hemp hearts, ground flax, super greens mix, and acai powder off Amazon and got to work earlier this summer.

1 Full Week of Grad School Healthy Meals & Recipes for the Busy Grad Student | SpeechLyss | Guide To Grad School

You’ll notice in my pictures of the items that they are clearly opened and used. Why didn’t I get the idea to take a picture of them until now?! Lol but I use these things for EVERYTHING – really, anything I can put them in without going overboard on my daily intake of serious #health nutrients (like fiber – don’t really wanna go overboard on that), I will add a dash of at least one of these items.

My Favorite Amazon Health Foods

Anyway, smoothies are super easy to prep, too. Simply cut up all your fruit and portion them into individual Ziploc baggies. In the morning, just grab one of the bags and empty the content into your mixer. Add some frozen cauliflower rice, greens, powders (protein, acai, super greens, or anything of the like), and about a cup of your choice milk. You can also pre-portion these items if you wish, but I just have the routine of tossing them in as I go!

As you mix your smoothie, add water or more milk as needed to get the consistency you like. I rarely have a consistent consistency (see what I did there) and I’ve been making one about 5 days/week for the last couple months. So don’t be discouraged if it takes a while to learn how the ingredients mix and determine the proper amount of liquids to add in. My two favorite smoothie recipes are found below!

Green Smoothie

This one is my favorite!! I swear those Super Greens taste amazingly with all of these ingredients. When I don’t add the Super Greens to a smoothie, I immediately notice a lack in flavor. They’re just delicious!

I’ve found that banana and cinnamon compliment the Super Greens very well. Adding a splash of Agave nectar or honey makes it even better.

1 Full Week of Grad School Healthy Meals & Recipes for the Busy Grad Student | SpeechLyss | Guide To Grad School

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen cauliflower rice
  • handful spinach
  • 1 big kale leaf, cut from stem (optional – I only use it when I have it!)
  • protein powder
  • Super Greens powder
  • cinnamon to your liking
  • squeeze of honey or agave (optional)
  • 1 cup unsw. almond milk

Combine it all and top with your favorite sliced fruit, nuts, seeds, etc.!

Berry Smoothie

1 Full Week of Grad School Healthy Meals & Recipes for the Busy Grad Student | SpeechLyss | Guide To Grad School

Okay so basically, adding the acai powder and blueberries to a very similar smoothie as the one mentioned above creates an intensely dark purple smoothie. I think it was the lighting in this one but just FYI even if it looks super dark it tastes wonderful!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen cauliflower rice
  • 1/4-1/2 cup frozen blueberries (adding strawberries or raspberries makes it a lighter, prettier purple)
  • Handful spinach
  • Protein powder
  • Acai powder
  • 1 cup unsw. almond milk

This smoothie is so refreshing and delicious! It keeps me feeling energized all day long.

Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are also a new try for me! I love oatmeal (though it did take me until late high school to try it – I was a consistency freak, yogurt was off limits until then, too). For the past couple years, I’ve eaten Quaker’s instant oatmeal packets both for breakfast and whenever I need something sweet after dinner and don’t feel like going out for chocolate. But due to my newfound love of chia seeds, I decided to try overnight oats when I realized I loved overnight chia seed pudding so much.

1 Full Week of Grad School Healthy Meals & Recipes for the Busy Grad Student | SpeechLyss | Guide To Grad School

The two kinds of overnight oats I make are maple and almond butter cinnamon. I add the oats and chia seeds in the bottom, fill most of the jar with almond milk, add some sweetener, and give it a good shake. Let them sit overnight up to 4 days. When it’s time to take them to work/school or enjoy them at home, heat them up in 30-45 second increments until your preferred temperature.

1 Full Week of Grad School Healthy Meals & Recipes for the Busy Grad Student | SpeechLyss | Guide To Grad School

Feel free to add protein powder to soak up any extra milk the next day. Add sliced banana, cinnamon, flax, hemp hearts, or any of your favorite toppings after it is warmed up.

Maple Overnight Oats

Top with banana, an extra drizzle of maple syrup, and flax!

Almond Butter Cinnamon Overnight Oats

Add in 1-2 Tbsp almond butter the next day before you heat it up. Adding it the day you heat it can prevent it from getting too hard in the fridge and needing longer in the microwave!

Top with banana, cinnamon, and flax or hemp hearts.

Lunch

1 Full Week of Grad School Healthy Meals & Recipes for the Busy Grad Student | SpeechLyss | Guide To Grad School

I am almost always on the go for lunch, so meal prepping is super important (so that I don’t end up spending all the money I make in a week on purchased food!). I typically make 4-5 salads for the week, and take along some fruit, chia seed pudding, and/or a granola bar for the days I’m uber hungry or will be on campus until dinner.

Lunch Salad Ingredients:

  • Spinach or Spring Mix
  • Red, orange, and yellow bell peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Lean protein (chicken, fish, hard boiled egg)
  • Dressing

I love salads, so sticking to this simple mix has always worked for me. The only things I change up are the last two bullet points – protein/fat and dressing! I like all kinds of dressings, but my favorites are balsamic vinaigrette and a zesty Italian.

Sometimes I put half of a mashed avocado with salt & pepper on top and skip the dressing. I’ve also put a scoop of hummus on the veggies and mixed it all together, and it was absolutely delicious. The things you discover when you’re short on time and low on options!

A simple change from day to day or week to week allows me to still look forward to these salads. Add hemp hearts on top, switch out some veggies, or change up the proteins and dressing to keep your taste buds interested!

1 Full Week of Grad School Healthy Meals & Recipes for the Busy Grad Student | SpeechLyss | Guide To Grad School

If you absolutely can’t do salads 4-5 days of the week, try for 3 days. Take 1 lunch a week as leftovers from the night before, or go to the market and pick up a freshly made sandwich or grain bowl for a change up!

Snacks!

I’ve gotta have snacks on hand at all times. The snacks I usually have on hand are 1-2 of the following:

All of these are super simple to grab and go – especially when you have prepped the veggies and pudding.

Veggies for Hummus:

  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Bell peppers
  • Cucumbers

They’re super easy to chop and separate into portions for the week!

1 Full Week of Grad School Healthy Meals & Recipes for the Busy Grad Student | SpeechLyss | Guide To Grad School

Chia Seed Pudding:

I love this chia seed pudding! I know green pudding is weird, but I swear by these Super Greens. They taste sweet and sort of Vanilla-like, and I rarely add the honey when I use Super Greens because they add so much sweet flavor themselves.

Let this pudding refrigerate overnight for up to 3 days. Be sure to mix in the chia seeds well or they will clump instead of soak up the milk. Top it with blueberries, bananas, hemp hearts, and/or extra cinnamon to serve.

Dinner

1 Full Week of Grad School Healthy Meals & Recipes for the Busy Grad Student | SpeechLyss | Guide To Grad School

I love dinner, but hate how long it can take to cook! I usually cook dinner on Monday that I also eat Tuesday, and sometimes even Wednesday. Sometimes stick it out through Wednesday when I’m feeling extra lazy and cooked a delicious dinner that I want to keep eating!

1 Full Week of Grad School Healthy Meals & Recipes for the Busy Grad Student | SpeechLyss | Guide To Grad School

Sheet pan dinners are my go-to. I first marinate some chicken, then cut up some veggies, and put them all on a pan together. I top it all with the marinade from the chicken and bake for 15-25 minutes at 400. Cubed chicken and chicken tenderloins typically only need about 15 minutes, while breasts will need about 25 depending on the thickness.

1 Full Week of Grad School Healthy Meals & Recipes for the Busy Grad Student | SpeechLyss | Guide To Grad School

I also love cooking shrimp because it’s super easy! I just buy the frozen kind that’s already cooked, soak them in water to defrost, spice ’em up and cook for about 5 minutes. They are great on top of sauteed veggies or on tacos.

Below you’ll find shrimp tacos on collard greens. They are topped with chopped peppers, mango, onion, and black beans with a side of guac. I highly recommend!!

1 Full Week of Grad School Healthy Meals & Recipes for the Busy Grad Student | SpeechLyss | Guide To Grad School

Burgers are a recent go-to of mine as well. I get some lean ground turkey and spice it up with minced garlic, onion, and Mrs. Dash Table Blend seasoning. Throw them on a skilled for about 4 minutes each side, make sure they’re at 165 degrees, and you’ve got a delicious homemade turkey burger!

1 Full Week of Grad School Healthy Meals & Recipes for the Busy Grad Student | SpeechLyss | Guide To Grad School

This is one you can easily take for lunch the next day as well! I love when I can get multiple meals from one time cooking!

1 Full Week of Grad School Healthy Meals & Recipes for the Busy Grad Student | SpeechLyss | Guide To Grad School

When I don’t have any meat or am craving some grains instead, I do a veggie quinoa bowl topped with Siracha. It’s simple and fast! Just boil equal parts quinoa and water for ~15 minutes. That gives you time to chop your favorite veggies and saute them up by the time the quinoa is finished. Quick and easy meal = I’m all about it!

Going out with friends, family, or my boyfriend to dinner is something I also love to do! Even if it’s just to grab a drink and some appetizers. I don’t get to do this all that often with everyone’s busy schedules, but when I do I try to get something healthy that won’t totally break the bank.

This past week I went with some friends and my boyfriend to a local restaurant, and I had the most delicious Salmon salad! I swear I might have to get it every time I go back now. It has lots of cabbage, carrots, slivered almonds, and green onion as the base, with a Thai ginger dressing mixed throughout. The salmon was glazed with the same dressing and it all tasted incredible! The salad was $14, and worth every cent!

1 Full Week of Grad School Healthy Meals & Recipes for the Busy Grad Student | SpeechLyss | Guide To Grad School

Though I do try to save money each week, times spent with family and friends are important to me, especially when we can share a meal and drinks together. It also allows me to live a balanced lifestyle in grad school. I eat healthy and save money grocery shopping each week. But 1-2 of my meals are enjoyed outside of school, work, or my home, and out having fun and eating something I didn’t have to prepare myself.

Balance in grad school is extremely important. Check books, diets, and overall work-school-fun lifestyle must all keep a good balance. So, if you slip up on your workout or meals one day – that doesn’t mean it has to happen the next! And if you spend one day solely focused on school, take 30 minutes that night or the next day to watch your favorite show on Netflix, grab coffee with a friend, or take a bubble bath and read. If you have a balance, you will have a happy and healthy lifestyle that will allow you to excel through grad school!

I talk a little bit more about how I balance my lifestyle in my About Me. I’m just now figuring out how to balance work-school-health-fun, and it’s been almost a year! But little by little I am getting there. Finding a balance isn’t easy, but it is so worth it.

Thanks for reading! I hope this post has given you some cooking/health/meal prepping inspiration! These are some of my favorite grad school healthy meals, but I’d love to learn about yours! Feel free to drop a comment with your favorite meal and recipe, or let me know how you meal prep! I’m always looking for more ideas 🙂 Have a great day!

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Alyssa
Alyssa

Hi everyone! I am a graduate student pursuing a Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology. I’m getting through grad school with the help of venti caramel macchiatos, double chocolate brownies & some incredible friends. I’d like to help you get to it and through it as well! Take a look around and feel free to email me with any questions or just to say hi!

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10 Comments

  1. July 4, 2018 / 6:55 pm

    What healthy choices! Thanks for the overnight oats recipes, most especially, as my daughter and hubby who are vegan love them. I

    • Alyssa
      Author
      July 5, 2018 / 6:02 pm

      I love the overnight oats as well! So delicious and so easy to grab & go in the morning!

  2. June 22, 2018 / 9:27 am

    I love the idea of putting the eggs on the veggies, thanks for that tip! Also I love any veggie with hummus, it’s such a good snack!! Loved this post Alyssa, so helpful!
    xo, Sydney
    anchoredinthesouth.com

    • Alyssa
      Author
      June 23, 2018 / 10:01 am

      Yes, I love veggies and hummus!! So flavorful and healthy! I’m so glad you’ve found this post helpful 🙂 I hope you enjoy the eggs on veggies recipe – it’s a game-changer!

  3. June 22, 2018 / 12:52 am

    These are such good ideas! I’m horrible at cooking and never make enough time for it, so this definitely gave me some new things to think about!

    • Alyssa
      Author
      June 23, 2018 / 9:57 am

      I’m so glad you got some new ideas! Busy schedules definitely make it hard to find time to cook healthy meals – I’ve been there too many times myself! I hope you enjoy!

  4. June 21, 2018 / 9:18 pm

    Everything looks delicious! I will try some of these.

    • Alyssa
      Author
      June 23, 2018 / 10:01 am

      That’s so great to hear! I hope you enjoy them!

  5. June 21, 2018 / 1:09 pm

    I love how many ideas you shared in this post! I never really thought of putting eggs on veggies for breakfast, but what a great idea! Also love how much you use avocado 😉 (It’s the best). Thanks for sharing, Alyssa!

    • Alyssa
      Author
      June 21, 2018 / 3:42 pm

      Hi Kaitlin! The eggs on veggies recipe is a game-changer! It’s filling, healthy, and delicious. I hope you enjoy it 🙂 And yes, avocado is truly amazing at every meal!!

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