Let’s face it: the day only has so many hours, and for most college students, the majority of it is spent on-campus. When you’re trying to stay healthy, that usually means meal prep and packed lunches to stay away from temptation in the HUB. But when you’re faced with a rush or have to make a meeting you completely forgot about, an on-campus meal quickly turns into your only option.
However, just because you’re faced with an on-campus meal doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be healthy! Here are some of VALLEY’s favorite go-to’s for a (somewhat) nutrient-filled lunch.
Whether you find yourself stuck in the library working on a paper, or in the HUB between classes, there’s always a Starbucks right around the corner. To get you through your afternoon, VALLEY recommends trying either the Grilled Chicken and Hummus Protein Box or the Spinach, Feta & Cage-Free Egg White Wrap.
The Grilled Chicken and Hummus Protein Box is one of the better options when it comes to Starbucks’ prepared protein boxes. The chicken and hummus in the package provide 22 grams of protein, while the small slices of naan bread fulfill carb needs while keeping calories low. Fresh baby carrots and snap peas complete out the box and give it a nutritious boost.
The Spinach, Feta & Cage-Free Egg White Wrap combines egg whites, spinach, feta cheese, and tomatoes on a whole wheat wrap. With 20 grams of protein, this option is under 300 calories, making it a great choice for those seeking something light but nourishing.
At Jamba Juice, VALLEY recommends trying the Apple ‘n Greens Smoothie in a small size. There are two servings of fruit and one serving of vegetables in this smoothie. Although it contains kale, the apple-strawberry juice blend, bananas, mangoes, and peaches make it difficult to detect. It contains 250 calories and 45 grams of sugar, so it’s the perfect option for an on-the-go pick-me-up.
If you want something more filling, VALLEY suggests the Vanilla Blue Sky smoothie bowl, which has 330 calories and 33 grams of sugar. Bananas, pineapples, unsweetened almond milk, vanilla coconut milk, and blue spirulina form the base of the bowl, which is topped with organic granola, strawberries, blueberries, coconut chips, goji berries, and sliced almonds. To boost your protein intake, consider adding whey or soy protein.
While the Panera locations on-campus are still offering a limited menu, there’s still plenty of ready-made items to choose from. VALLEY suggests keeping an eye out for either the Asian Sesame Chicken Salad or the Caesar Salad with Chicken.
The Asian Sesame Chicken Salad has chicken, romaine, fresh cilantro, toasted almonds, sesame seeds and wonton strips tossed in an Asian sesame vinaigrette. With 410 calories, this salad is high in protein and makes for a healthy option.
If that salad isn’t available, check for the Caesar Salad with Chicken. With 450 calories and 28 grams of fat, it’s not as healthy as the preceding salad, but it’s still a better option than most. Tossed with Caesar dressing, this salad features chicken, romaine, grated Parmesan, and handmade black pepper focaccia croutons.
Soup & Garden
Soup & Garden, which is essentially the salad bar at the HUB, is ideal for those interested in creating their own salads. With small and big bowls to choose from, VALLEY recommends a salad with both veggies and a protein source to keep your energy up throughout the afternoon.
What’s your go-to on-campus lunch? Tweet us, @VALLEYmag, and let us know!