Time, or the lack of it, is the No. 1 challenge Melissa faces. Her shared kitchen isn't big, and grocery shopping is time-consuming. Without a car, it's a 30-minute bus ride from campus to the closest supermarket. With her hectic schedule, she can only realistically go shopping once a week.
Melissa is also lactose intolerant, which can make preparing balanced, simple meals tough. She is keen to incorporate more variety into her meal-making repertoire, too.
Melissa relies heavily on quick carbohydrate-based foods, such as instant oatmeal, bagels, toast, rice and crackers. "I like to eat chicken, vegetables, salads, soups, casseroles and stir-fries," she writes. "All in all I just want to be eating healthier, more nutritious food that I can call meals."
With these factors in mind, The Canadian Living Test Kitchen has developed five simple, healthy and hearty recipes for Melissa. They're all designed so she can cook many of her dishes on the weekend and freeze the leftovers for weekday meals. We've also included a meal schedule so Melissa can plan and make a week's worth of meals with minimal shopping and prep time.
Need a grocery list? Click here to download a pdf of this one-week menu plan!
Our easy planner to a week's worth of meals
Shop for groceries.
Lunch: Make Vinaigrette Cabbage Salad; top one serving with sliced deli ham or smoked chicken. Refrigerate leftover salad.
Dinner: Make Turkey Bolognese Sauce to serve over one serving of spaghetti. Boil extra spaghetti for Spaghetti Frittata and for remaining portions of sauce; freeze separately. Freeze leftover sauce in serving-size portions.
Lunch: Make a green salad with vegetables, canned tuna and almonds; toss with store-bought vinaigrette.
Dinner: Make Southwestern Beef Stew and serve with couscous. Freeze remaining stew in serving-size portions.
Page 1 of 2 - See next page for Monday to Friday simple meals designed for students on the go.
Monday to Friday meal plan for students:
Lunch: Stuff pita bread with store-bought hummus and leftover Vinaigrette Cabbage Salad.
Dinner: Make Garden Minestrone and serve with a green salad tossed with store-bought vinaigrette. Freeze leftover soup in serving-size portions.
Lunch: Reheat one portion of Southwestern Beef Stew.
Dinner: Make Spaghetti Frittata using defrosted frozen cooked spaghetti. Serve with warmed tomato sauce, if desired. Refrigerate or freeze leftover frittata wedges.
Lunch: Reheat one serving of Garden Minestrone and serve with hummus and vegetable sticks.
Dinner: Make a toasted sandwich with a leftover wedge of Spaghetti Frittata and leftover Vinaigrette Cabbage Salad.
Lunch: Reheat one serving of the Southwestern Beef Stew; add frozen vegetables.
Dinner: Reheat one serving each of the Turkey Bolognese Sauce and defrosted frozen cooked spaghetti. Serve with a green salad tossed with store-bought vinaigrette.
Lunch: Stuff a pita with a leftover wedge of Spaghetti Frittata and sliced fresh tomatoes.
Dinner: Cook's night off!