Nutrition In yoU: Quick meals and snacks

Welcome to Nutrition In yoU. I’m Emily Burns, a Dietetic Intern and graduate research assistant, pursuing my M.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics here at NIU. Each week, I, along with some of my fellow students, will be sharing nutrition tips and other cool things you need to know about diet and wellness. Drop a comment if there are topics you’d like Nutrition In yoU to cover in the future.

Can you believe that we are now on week five of the semester? With countless group projects, papers, and juggling a social life, who has time to think about what to eat? Nutrition and dietetic students do, of course! As we stress the importance of finding the time to eat throughout the day, here are some of my favorite quick meals/snacks that you can fit within your lunch box/bag.

  1. Avocado egg salad

This is my new obsession. It is super easy. All you need are two hard-boiled eggs and half of an avocado. Chop and mix them both together and you have fabulous avocado egg salad. You can also add salt and pepper to enhance the flavor a bit. Place them within a whole-wheat wrap and you are set for lunch and/or dinner.

  1. Overnight oats

Great option for a quick breakfast. All you need is a jar, ½ cup of uncooked old-fashioned rolled oats, ½ cup of milk (of your choice), some Greek yogurt, and toppings and sweeteners of your choice. Preferably, add the oats first to the jar and then add the milk of your choice. That way the oats can soak up the milk overnight and obtain an oatmeal-like consistency in the morning. Then, add the ingredients of your choice. Cover the jar and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Last Friday, my breakfast consisted of rolled oats, with coconut milk, chia seeds, ½ banana, walnuts, peanut butter powder, and cinnamon. I was kicking myself that I should have added some blueberries. But, overall, it was a great start to my day and really filled me up until lunch time.

  1. Baked shrimp taquitos

Being a nutrition and dietetics graduate student does not qualify me to be a chef. Yet, I do love to cook, but only if it’s fast and easy. This recipe is one of my favorites for that reason. All you need is: ½ onion (finely chopped), 2 cloves of garlic (or garlic powder), 1 tsp olive oil, 1 jalapeno (minced), 1 vine tomato diced, 12 ounces peeled and deveined shrimp chopped, kosher salt, 2 tsp. finely chopped cilantro, ¾ cup shredded pepper jack cheese, and corn tortillas.


In large skillet, place 1 tsp of olive oil with onion, jalapeno, and garlic over medium heat until it’s soft. Then, add the tomatoes into the batch and wait until it thickens (3-4 minutes). Add the shrimp, ¼ teaspoon of salt and cilantro and cook medium high heat (1 minute). After everything is cooked, place the mixture into the corn tortillas. (You may want to heat up the tortillas in the microwave, so that they are easier to fold.

For a more baked version you can place the folded tortilla in the oven (400F) on two large nonstick baking sheets with foil. Or, if you want to save time, just place the mixture within the corn tortillas, add some cheese and guacamole, and you are good to go.

  1. Veggies

You need to add veggies to provide the fiber and nutrients needed to complete a meal. Whether you buy them in the frozen foods aisle or at the farmers stand, they are simple to cook. Sauté them on the stove with some oil or steam them with some water. They make a great addition to any meal or snack. Plus, they are easy to pack in your lunch bag.

Now, if you live in a residence hall, you may be thinking to yourself: “How can I possibly make shrimp taquitos when I do not even have a stove?” You can make your own version within the dining halls. Take advantage of your meal plan! This may be the only time in your life where vegetables and fruits are readily available. So have fun with it and make your own versions.

What are some of your favorite meals or snacks that are easy and quick to make? Feel free to comment below on your favorite snack/meals.

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