Hi Hayley!

I'm biting the bullet and returning to school full time this fall. I'll be spending my life on campus between classes, labs, and library time. I'm determined to both save money and avoid the temptation of the vending machines. Could you give me some budget friendly suggestions for healthy meals that I can make on Sunday and have for lunch during the week?


Do you have a crock pot? If not, go out right now and buy yourself one as it is now your best friend. In my world my crock pot is like a magic genie that cooks up delicious meals while I am otherwise engaged in my busy life. 

Sunday afternoon pick a recipe from the millions of recipes available online (tip – stay away from the ones that use canned soup as one of the main ingredients as they are very high in sodium) and then hit the grocery store to buy the necessary ingredients. Do the prep work before you go to bed Sunday night. Put the required ingredients in the pot and then Monday morning turn it on before you leave the house and 8 hours later – voila! A magic genie has cooked you dinner. I love using my crock pot to cook soups, chili, stews and pulled pork but the options are endless.

Here are a few other tips to help you eat healthy while on a busy schedule:

Have a fridge stocked with chopped vegetables and washed fruit. It is a lot easier to snack on these healthy options if they are ready to go.

Make a large serving of a grain that you can add to your meals throughout the week. When stored properly these should last quite a few days in the fridge. I always have a container of quinoa cooked and ready to go as I love adding it to soups, salads and omelettes.

Freeze meals (usually after two servings of your crock pot dinner you are ready for something new so take what you did not finish and freeze in individual serving sizes) that you can pull out and let defrost on the counter as you are busy in school. Then all you have to do when you get home is heat it up.

I know school can seem overwhelming and you have less time to see your friends and family so make cooking social and have some girlfriends over, cook up a few meals together and then split them up so you are not eating the same things all the time. You can share the cost of the ingredients as well as the time in the kitchen.

In the summer I did a sequence on LaineyGossip about how to stock your pantry and your fridge to make cooking for one as easy as possible. Click here for a refresher.

Ensuring that you are planning will guarantee your success and just like you need to plan your school schedule you will need to plan your meal schedule. Good luck!

Attached – Colin Farrell goes to yoga.