It is fairly difficult to eat healthy when you’re on a college budget, I know. Easy Mac’s simplicity calls to you – all you need is water and a bowl. Cup Of Noodles is even easier because it comes packaged in its own little chemical-laden Styrofoam cup. Well, if you’re ready to make a few small changes, look to these substitutes for better eating in college.

Related: 5 Tips for Better Eating Habits

Buckwheat Soba for Cup of Noodles

You need: 1 bouillon cube (any flavor), 1 serving (8oz) buckwheat noodles, water and a microwave-safe bowl. All you have to do is boil about 2 cups of water in the microwave (3-ish minutes), crumble in the bouillon cube and add the noodles, stir, and let sit for about 3 minutes, covered if possible, stirring occasionally.

Buckwheat noodles cook super fast so this is all it should take, but if they’re not to your liking, then toss the whole thing in the microwave for another two minutes or so, and serve. Instead of fried refined noodles, you have hearty, whole-grain buckwheat. Instead of excessive chemicals and MSG, you’ve got just a few additives and lots of salt: a MUCH better alternative to your standard instant ramen soup.

Related: 5 Ways To Improve Your Ramen

Annie’s Homegrown for Easy Mac

This is a step and a half up from your traditional blue-box radioactive Easy Mac. Yes, the blue box is delicious, but it’s time to move in a healthier direction, and Annie’s Homegrown Microwavable Macaroni is the answer.

No, it’s not a health food, but it’s got significantly fewer chemicals, no artificial flavors, synthetic colors, or preservatives, and will help you reduce your GMO consumption. Opt for a purple box (or cup) instead of Easy Mac next time you stock up on easy dorm-room food.

Flavor Extracts for Coffee Creamer

College often calls for us to over-indulge in excessive amounts of caffeine. And while we should alternate green tea with our coffee obsession, I understand that we’re not all strong enough to make the switch. One thing you should absolutely remove from your coffee-addled diet is fake coffee creamer. Get. It. Out.

Maybe you feel a little weird carrying around a little bottle of vanilla extract, but if you toss that into your coffee with a little sugar and a splash of real cream or milk, you’re actually doing your body a big favor. Fake creamer is not good for you. Fake creamer makes you fat, so skip the imitation foods!

RelatedHow to Get Energy without Caffeine

Yerba Mate for Red Bull

Okay, okay, let the riots of outrage begin! I don’t know that I’ll be able to pry those Red Bull cans from your over-caffeinated hands, but this is my attempt. Yerba Mate is a traditional “mate” or tea from South America.

In South America, it gives you an honest-to-God drug-like high. Over here in the U.S. we’ve got a somewhat dulled-down version that still gives you that much-needed caffeine buzz without the shakes, the sugar rush, or the inevitable energy drink crash. You can get bagged, loose-leaf, or bottled Yerba Mate at just about any grocery store or health food store. (Look for Guayaki.)

If you opt for the teabags, it’s considerably cheaper than your standard energy drink, and you can double up those teabags for a nice strong buzz. Or, you can for their Organic Energy Shots, (I recommend Lime Tangerine), which come in at about 35 calories, with only one suspicious ingredient (guar gum). These are a touch pricier, at around $3.50-$4 (with 5-Hour Energy at about $3), but your liver and blood stream and waistline will thank you!

Fresh DIY for Frozen Pizza

If it’s between a greasy slice of NY’s finest, I won’t fault you. But don’t turn to microwavable pizza! Keep whole-grain pitas or English muffins on hand, as well as a jar of pizza or plain tomato sauce. If you’ve got a toaster, toast the bread, then smother with sauce and cheese, and microwave for 30-45 seconds, or until the cheese is melted.

If you don’t have a toaster, just skip it and use the microwave. This option is healthier AND cheaper than buying microwave-sized frozen pizzas. Plus, you can add as much cheese as you want. Go on, try it and report back in the comments below!

 Related8 Cheap Toaster Oven Meals That (Mostly) Everybody Likes

 

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