Simple ways to add veggies to a college diet
Hello, my name is Kate Valdovinos, and welcome to Gainesville Greens, my contribution to the Gainesville Lunch out Blog. I am looking forward to sharing the green side of lunch opportunities with you! When I discussed the idea for writing this column with the GLOB Master, his focus was for me to cover the lunchtime salad scene in Gainesville. In fact, his idea was to call this column "Gainesville's Salad Lady." That was a good idea, and I do love salads, but I think there is going to be more to Gainesville Greens than arugula and croutons. Don't be surprised to find different kinds of interesting, green subject matter wrapped around your GLOB salad fork.
At Gainesville Greens, we understand that it can be expensive to eat healthy. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be difficult to keep on hand and can add a lot to your budget. So this week I decided to venture of the green and leafy garden path to share tips to help add vegetables to a college student's, single minded individual's diet without breaking your budget."
Mac n' cheese, spaghetti and sauce, grilled cheese, Ramen noodles, and canned soups are all common in the bare cupboards of a college student. When money is tight, it's hard to have much of anything else, but there are ways to use veggies to spice up these traditional meals and add more flavor to your diet! Below are some tips that I learned as a college student.
Mac n' cheese
Rotel tomatoes - My personal favorite addition to mac n' cheese is adding a half can of Rotel tomatoes per box. Tomatoes go great with the consistency. I've used fresh tomatoes but honestly the Rotel can tastes better. I usually use mild but hot are good too. I also add garlic and parsley spice (my personal favorite spice) which makes it amazing!
Can of spiced corn - This goes great with mac n' cheese. There are a few different kinds of corn you can add, but I find that the Mexican spiced can of corn is the best.
Tomatoes and okra - Publix sells cans of tomatoes and okra which are amazing with mac n' cheese. I've even had co-workers ask about it while eating it in the break room and they can hardly believe how good it smells!
Spaghetti and sauce
Fresh vegetables - There are so many vegetables that could work well with spaghetti like broccoli, egg plant, zucchini, squash, cauliflower, carrots, peppers and others. This is a great dish to make up when you are trying to use up the last of a vegetable or when it's almost ready to throw out. Frozen veggies can work well with this as well.
Fresh tomatoes - One tomato can go a long way with grilled cheese sandwiches. Even a small tomato. And it is delicious! Cut up the tomato and add it to the sandwich before you put it on the stove. Amazing!
Canned vegetables - I've found that canned vegetables like carrots and corn can go great with these. Drain first, and they can be added after the noodles have begun to get soft. I also recommend breaking the noodles into smaller bits before cooking them. They are easier to scoop up with the vegetables.
Spice packets from Ramen - The spice packets from Ramen noodles are great for adding flavor to fresh or frozen vegetables as a side dish.
Fresh vegetables - Fresh veggies go great with some stews. I've found that the hearty stews or soups go great with steamed broccoli, cooked carrots, steamed cauliflower, or peppers. You can also add these raw if you prefer that.
Frozen vegetables - These can be easier to add to soups. Just add while they're still frozen and the soup is heating up.
Gainesville Greens Valentines salad suggestions
The GLOB's Salad Lady' Valentine's Day places to eat, my favorite date places for a good lunch, tasty salad, and excellent conversation are Civilization and Paramount Grill. Civilization is a quiet, tucked-away and romantic spot. It's mood lighting and great wine and dinner choices make it a perfect Valentine's Day dinner spot. Paramount brings a certain elegance to the middle of downtown. It's beautiful and delicious dinner items can help make a regular-night out into a fancy, romantic evening!
Kate Valdovinos is the Editor of Kate's Gainesville Salad Blog and will be discussing with GLOBers all things leafy, green, and healthy with a large dollop of yummy.