Meal Maker Challenge Week 1: Summer Citrus Bean & Quinoa Salad

Today’s recipe serves many a purpose aside from being my first H-E-B ConAgra Meal Maker Challenge recipe. It’s summery. It’s light. It’s healthy. It’s vegetarian. It’s vegan. It’s gluten free (oOoh, aAaAh). It’s a side dish. It’s a main course. It’s lunch. It’s dinner. It’s everything.

But fa’ real, this is some good stuff.  If you’re a member of the It’s Not A Meal Without Meat Club (have no shame, I used to be president), might I suggest that you grill up some chicken or salmon, pop it on top of this salad, and color yourself happy.

Oh! Before I forget, if you like this meal/blog/me in general, take a second and VOTE FOR IT. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t want $1,000 to spend at H-E-B.

Summer Citrus Bean & Quinoa Salad
Servings: 6 | Calories per serving: 339
Fat: 4.7 g (Sat Fat: 0.1 g) | Carbohydrate: 66.9 g | Fiber: 21.7 g| Protein: 12.4 g

1/3 C dry quinoa
2 small grapefruit
1 large jicama
1 15-oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-oz can of corn, rinsed and drained
3/4 C H-E-B Smoky Citrus Salsa
1/2 avocado, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Begin by cooking your quinoa according to the on the package or these handy directions
2. While your quinoa is cooking, peel and segment your grapefruit
Meal Maker Challenge Week 1: Summer Citrus Bean & Quinoa Salad | The Slender Student 3. Using a sharp knife or vegetable peeler, peel your jicama and chop into 1/2″ cubes
Meal Maker Challenge Week 1: Summer Citrus Bean & Quinoa Salad | The Slender Student 4. Once your quinoa has finished cooking and cooled, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving


Note: I have received compensation, H-E-B promotional items and ConAgra products from H-E-B and ConAgra Foods for participating in this contest.

Health Warrior Chia Bar Review

Health Warrior Chia Bar Review | The Slender Student Earlier this summer, I was sent a box of products from Health Warrior to try out. It included a bag of white chia seeds (with which I made these patriotic parfaits) and a selection of their Chia Bars. Needless to say, I was suuuper excited to have a new snack bar to try. Since I’m on campus a lot, it’s nice to have grab-and-go options as part of my meal prep. These did not disappoint.

Health Warrior Chia Bar Review | The Slender Student

At just 100-110 calories, each of these bars satisfy in both taste and nutrition. Their unique flavors really come through without tasting at all artificial, as many bars tend to. Plus the combo chewy/crunchy texture from the chia seeds is something I always love. These little snacks offer good fat, fiber, and even a smidge of protein, so they really work to tide you over between meals without putting much of a dent in your calorie bank for the day. Not sold yet? Check this out:

The bars are all-natural, vegan, dairy- and soy-free. As the only bar on the market boasting chia seeds as its #1 ingredient, Health Warrior Chia Bars have 1000 mg Omega 3’s, 16% DV of fiber and only 5g of sugar.

Chia seeds pack a mighty punch in a small package: 1⁄4 the size of a grain of rice, pound for pound, Chia has more Omega 3 fatty acids than salmon, more fiber than oatmeal, more protein than tofu, more calcium than milk, and more magnesium than broccoli.

Health Warrior Chia Bar Review | The Slender Student

If you’re ready to become a Health Warrior yourself, see where they’re sold in your area here!

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Zucchini Hummus

Zucchini Hummus | The Slender Student Last weekend, my younger sister came to visit me in Austin and I was seriously excited to show her what life is like as a college student. You know, hours on your friends’ couch, staying up late, three trips to the grocery store in two days.

K, so maybe that last part is my own idiosyncrasy, but Julia still tagged along because she’s great. She even humored me by loyally standing with the cart, waiting for my deli turkey to be sliced, while I went to go get hummus. And by “went to go get hummus,” I mean, picked up every tub in every available brand to look at the nutrition information and ingredients.

Zucchini Hummus | The Slender Student

If you’re keeping a tally of weird things I do, I give you full permission (and, in fact, advise you) to stop reading once you hit double digits.

Zucchini Hummus | The Slender Student

Anyway, eventually Julia came over, turkey in hand, to see what was taking so long. At that point I threw in the towel. I decided that if I can’t get a hummus made with olive oil and real ingredients for under 60 calories per serving, then I’m going on strike. Hummus buying strike. The best part about my boycott? I got to go home, brainstorm a recipe, and then go to the grocery store again.

Yeah, I rock at college.

Zucchini Hummus | The Slender Student
Zucchini Hummus
Makes: 1 1/4 cup | Serving size: 2 tablespoons | Calories per serving: 55
Fat: 3.9 g (Sat Fat: 0.5 g) | Carbohydrate: 4.4 g | Fiber: 1.2 g| Protein: 1.4 g

1 zucchini
1/3 C low sodium canned chickpeas (drain excess liquid)
3 T tahini
2 T minced garlic (or 2-3 cloves)
2 T lemon juice
1 T olive oil
salt, to taste

1. Dice the zucchini into 1/2″ square pieces.
2. In a food processor or blender, combine all of the ingredients and blend until smooth.
3. Serve with carrots, celery, or pretzels for dipping! Or try adding a bit of red wine vinegar to thin it out and use it for salad dressing.

Recipe inspired by DailyCandy.

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Take It To Go: Portable Lunch Inspiration

Not too long ago, I gave y’all the scoop on my essentials for sack lunches. Now that you have the gear, I assume you’re ready to fill it. But if you grew up with your mom packing your lunch, or if your go-to portable meal consists of white bread, peanut butter, and jelly, then you might need a little guidance. Fret not, today’s post has both meal inspiration and a grocery list to get you started. I’ll be here, e-holding your hand the whole way.

Take yourself from PB&J to inspired, healthy portable lunches! | The Slender Student

one: Flat Out wrap with 2 ounces low sodium turkey breast, mustard, and thinly sliced cucumber; 1/2 cup cereal (a mix of Kashi GoLean Crunch, Fiber One Original, and Fiber One 80 Calories Chocolate); 1/2 cup strawberries

two: 2 ounces chopped low sodium turkey breast, chopped veggies (cucumber, grape tomatoes, and bell pepper), 2 teaspoons of honey mustard; 1 slice of Ezekiel bread; Babybel Light cheese and celery sticks; 1/4 cup each of strawberries and blueberries (not pictured)

three: a half serving of Banyan Tofu Fried Rice (I found mine at Central Market but you could always substitute it with 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice or quinoa + 1 tablespoon of teriyaki sauce + 2 tablespoons of shelled edamame), 3 ounces of baked chicken (season it with a little garlic, chili powder, salt and pepper); 1/4 cup blueberries; small apple; 1/2 cup of cucumber salad

four (vegetarian): one Boca Burger (vegan or vegetarian), 3 tablespoons of hummus; cinnamon sweet potato slices (thinly slice a sweet potato, sprinkle with cinnamon, and bake at 425° for 15-20 minutes; one potato yields 2 servings); baby carrots and sliced bell pepper

five (vegetarian): 1/2 cup cooked brown rice or quinoa, 1/4 cup canned black beans (drained and rinsed), chopped veggies (cucumber, grape tomato, bell pepper, etc.), 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 1 ounce of reduced fat feta cheese; baby carrots; sliced strawberries

The following grocery list contains all of the ingredients for the lunches pictured and described above. Of course if something doesn’t appeal to you, just cross it off the list. And you’re not limited to the meals or ingredients I’ve shown, these are just the tried and true things that have gotten me through two semesters of meal prep.

A grocery list for creative and healthy sack lunches! (See linked blog post for sample meals and instructions ) | The Slender Student [click to enlarge + print this list]

Let me know if you have any questions or meal prepping tips of your own! I’m always looking for new things to bring to campus.

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Meatless Monday: Amy’s Kitchen Light & Lean Spaghetti Italiano Bowl

You’ve probably already noticed, but I’m not real big on frozen dinners. Most days, I’m pretty willing to put forth the bit of foresight and planning in order to prepare fresh, homemade meals for myself… And then there are the times when I’m being a human and things don’t go as planned, or I have to make time for things that are more important than my budding domesticity.

Enter: the frozen meal.

A Slender Student review of Amy's Kitchen: Light & Lean Spaghetti Italiano Bowl | The Slender Student I picked out this little guy at Central Market in the beginning of my Meatless Monday adventure. I had a feeling that there would come a moment when Monday evening just wasn’t the most opportune time to be experimenting with foreign proteins like tofu and tempeh.

Of course I didn’t blindly choose this box. Word to the wise, never purchase any processed or pre-prepared food without checking out the nutrition label. I flipped this frozen find over and noted that it had 240 calories, 5 grams of fat, 38 grams of carbohydrate (5 of which are from fiber), and 11 grams of (vegan) protein. Into my cart it went with the Slender Student seal of approval.
A Slender Student review of Amy's Kitchen: Light & Lean Spaghetti Italiano Bowl | The Slender Student

The best part about finally ripping into this bad boy was realizing that our microwave was broken just as I was ready to heat it up. Fortunately, there were oven directions and I wasn’t quite starving (yet). I popped it in the oven at 375º for 35 minutes. While that was baking, I quickly sautéed some frozen broccoli and asparagus with baby kale to have on the side. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, I sprinkled a tablespoon of fresh Parmesan cheese over top and let it brown a bit.

A Slender Student review of Amy's Kitchen: Light & Lean Spaghetti Italiano Bowl | The Slender Student

Overall, this was a pretty satisfactory frozen dinner. The tomato sauce tasted fresh, not fakey. The meatballs had a hearty texture and their flavor was slightly reminiscent of falafel. I was disappointed by their number and size, but for less than 250 calories, I’ll take it. The noodles were mushy, but that might’ve been because of the whole oven situation. Now, I’d be lying to you if I told you this low calorie meal held me over until bed, but its moderate protein content made it the perfect pre-game for my chocolate Greek froyo so I’m really not complaining.

I’ll definitely be trying more of Amy’s Kitchen Light & Lean meals and with finals coming up, you can bet my freezer is stocked.

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