With the internet and ever-changing food trends circulating on social media platforms, there’s a whole world of possibilities when it comes to adding new meal ideas to your routine.
Making your own meals can save you from mess halls while giving you the satisfaction of being independent and having a full stomach.
Here are some meals ranked from most to least practical and affordable for students.
Toasted bread with cream
Coming in first place is the toasted bread with cream.
This recipe went viral on TikTok earlier this year, but it’s still one of the easiest and most affordable breakfast options I’ve found to date.
Cream Toast requires ingredients that are (most likely) already in your fridge, and if you’re looking for a way to finish fruit before it expires, this is the treat for you.
TikTok-er “Cooking with Ayeh” broke that trend in January.
Bread of your choice
1 to 2 large spoonfuls of Greek yogurt
Drizzle with maple syrup or honey
Preheat your air fryer to 350 F.
Mix the egg and Greek yogurt together to create the custard and add maple syrup or honey to sweeten things up.
Whisk it all together.
Press the center of your bread with the back of a spoon and fill it with your custard mixture.
Place your fruit and cinnamon (optional) on top and place your toast in the air fryer.
Cook for up to five minutes or until golden brown.
Chicken Stir-Fry Bowls
Chicken stir-fry bowls have been on my must-meal list since day one and it’s an easy way to get your protein.
Frozen teriyaki chicken
Pepper and onion frozen or fresh
Instant rice in the microwave
Preheat your air fryer to 360 F and cook the chicken for 20-30 minutes.
Frozen vegetables can be cooked in the microwave according to the packaging and fresh vegetables can be cut up, seasoned to taste and cooked in the air fryer.
Microwave rice according to package directions, add all ingredients and sauces of your choice to a bowl.
Mix and enjoy!
Salmon rice bowl
This dish was first made popular by Emily Mariko, whose aesthetic cooking videos have taken over everyone’s TikTok feed.
It’s simple enough for those who live in a dorm or those who share a kitchen with five other people.
This is a low-stakes meal that ticks all the boxes.
If your salmon is not already cooked, it can easily be done in the air fryer. Season the salmon to taste and cook in the air fryer for up to 10 minutes.
When the salmon starts to crumble, it’s ready.
Crumble the salmon over the rice. Add soy sauce, mayonnaise and Sriracha on top and mix everything together.
Grab your chopsticks, carefully wrap the rice mixture with the seaweed and enjoy the perfect bite of salmon bowl.
If you want to load up on carbs, you have to do it right. Another trend that is not dead is feta pasta.
This dish will leave you with lots of leftovers and no room for dessert, but it will require you to use an oven in any cooking space available to you.
block of feta cheese
Box of pasta noodles of your choice
Powdered red peppers
Salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 400 F and grab an ovenproof skillet or Pyrex glass. Place the block of feta and the tomatoes in the pan. Add seasonings to taste.
Drizzle olive oil over top and bake for 40 minutes or until feta is golden brown and tomatoes burst.
While the feta is cooking, cook the pasta noodles.
When the block of feta comes out of the oven, pour your pasta into the pan, mix and enjoy.
College doesn’t mean cooking has to be boring and bland.
If there’s an air fryer, there’s a way.