If you’ve gotten into college, dinner should be no challenge, right? But cooking for yourself, maybe for the first time, can be daunting. These simple-to-make recipes will have you cooking with confidence in no time flat. Plus, they’re healthy for both your mind and body.

Broiler salmon

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 1 portion of fresh or frozen salmon.
  • Lemon pepper seasoning, optional, or other seasoning of choice.
  • Sauce of choice (for example, an Asian-inspired BBQ sauce), as much or as little as you would like.  Be sure to check the number of carbs in the sauce and choose wisely. (We use 1.5 ounces sauce per fillet.)

Preparation

  • Preheat the broiler.
  • Unwrap salmon and place on a broiler pan/tray.
  • Season the salmon with lemon pepper or other seasoning (optional).
  • Put salmon in the oven under the broiler and cook until the fish is flaky, about 6-7 minutes. Spread your sauce of choice onto the salmon.
  • Place back into the oven for a few more minutes to allow the sauce to heat up.
  • Serve with a serving of brown rice and a side salad to create a balanced meal.

Nutrition

(may change depending on sauce you use)

Calories: 205; total carbs: 8 g; total fat: 1 g; saturated fat: 1 g; protein: 23 g; sodium: 333 mg; fiber: 1 g.

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Taco salad

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped lettuce
  • 3 oz ground turkey, beef, chicken or pressed tofu
  • 1 packet taco seasoning packet
  • 1 cup chopped non-starchy vegetables (tomato, onion, pepper)
  • 1 serving of tortilla chips, broken up, or 1 serving of rice
  • Taco sauce, optional
  • Cheese, sour cream and avocado, optional

Preparation

  • Brown the protein until done and then add the seasoning packet.
  • While the protein is cooking, cut up your lettuce and other non-starchy vegetables.
  • Place lettuce into the bowl and top with the other vegetables.
  • When the protein is finished, add it to the bowl.
  • Either add 1 serving of broken-up tortilla strips or a serving of rice to the salad.
  • Top with taco sauce/sour cream/cheese/avocado; all are optional.

Nutrition

(based on lean turkey and taco sauce)

Calories: 347; total carbs: 27 g; total fat: 15 g; saturated fat: 4 g; protein: 21 g; sodium: 639 mg; fiber: 4 g.

Super-easy stir fry

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 oz of protein (chicken, beef or tofu) cut into cubes
  • 1 frozen bag of stir-fry vegetables
  • ½ cup of rice, quinoa, farro or couscous
  • 0-3 oz stir-fry sauce
  • Cooking oil or spray for the pan
  • Peanuts, green onions (optional)

Preparation

  • Heat the sauté pan on the stovetop.
  • Add a little oil or spray to the pan.
  • Cut up the protein and brown it in the pan; cook thoroughly.
  • While the protein is cooking, go ahead and start your rice, quinoa, farro or couscous.
  • Once the protein is done, remove it from the pan but keep the pan on the heat source.
  • Add a small drop of oil to the pan if it is dry, then add the entire bag of frozen vegetables.
  • Cook until completely thawed and hot.
  • Once veggies are hot, add the cooked protein back into the pan and add your choice of sauce.
  • Cook until sauce is warmed.
  • On your plate, add a serving of grains and put the stir-fry mixture on top.
  • Top with onions, peanuts (optional).

Nutrition

(based on using chicken breast, brown rice and Kikkoman stir-fry sauce)

Calories: 263; total carbs: 24 g; total fat: 4 g; saturated fat: 0 g; protein: 29 g; sodium: 83 mg; fiber: 3 g.

Pasta, broccoli and chicken

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 oz pasta, any shape
  • ½ pound frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 ½ Tbsp butter
  • 1 ½ Tbsp grated parmesan
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch crushed red pepper (optional)

Preparation

  • Bring water to a boil on the stovetop and cook pasta per package directions. Drain when finished.
  • While the pasta is cooking, defrost/heat your broccoli in the microwave per package directions.
  • When the broccoli is ready, add butter to a sauté pan. Once butter has melted, add in the parmesan and broccoli. Sauté until you see your broccoli is to your liking.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste and add crushed red pepper (optional).
  • Mix your cooked pasta into the sauté pan and mix until combined.

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 368; total carbs: 54 g; total fat: 11 g; saturated fat: 6 g; protein: 15 g; sodium: 308 mg; fiber: 5 g.

Easy buffalo chicken sandwich

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 1 small can shredded chicken
  • ¼ cup buffalo wing sauce
  • ¼  packet (1 oz) of dry ranch salad dressing mix
  • 2 slices low-carb bread

Preparation

  • Open and drain the chicken and dump it into a bowl.
  • Mix in buffalo sauce.
  • Add the ¼ packet of ranch dressing mix.
  • Heat it on the stovetop, staying mindful not to dry it out or burn the sauce. Add a tablespoon or two of water if necessary to keep it from drying out.
  • Once heated, scoop chicken mixture onto bread and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 451; total carbs: 18 g; total fat: 20 g; saturated fat: 5 g; protein: 37 g; sodium:  959 mg; fiber: 1 g.

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Lasagna in a mug

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 2 pasta lasagna sheets
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp pizza or spaghetti sauce
  • 4 Tbsp ricotta cheese, part-skim
  • 1 Tbsp grated cheddar cheese, low-fat
  • 2 Tbsp cooked ground beef, turkey or chicken (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp spinach, uncooked (optional)

Preparation

  • Roughly break pasta sheets and place in large microwavable mug.
  • Cover with water and olive oil.
  • Microwave for 3-4 minutes or until pasta is tender. Halfway through, check the pasta and stir.
  • When pasta is fully cooked, drain the water and remove pasta from the mug.
  • Add 1 Tbsp sauce to the bottom of the mug.
  • Then layer pasta, spinach, protein and ricotta.
  • Continue layering until you are at the top of the mug. Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese.
  • Cook in microwave for 2 ½ -3 minutes or until the lasagna is heated all the way through.
  • When finished, let cool for 5 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 302; total carbs: 24 g; total fat: 15 g; saturated fat: 5 g; protein: 19 g; sodium: 341 mg; fiber: 4 g.

Speak with a dietitian today

Want more tips for quick, healthy cooking? Schedule an appointment with a Teladoc registered dietitian. Register or log in to your Teladoc account now to get started.

Now to make over your lunch­, try 5 healthy lunches for work or school.

Updated September 1, 2022

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About the author

Shelley Schwartz, RD, LDN

Shelley Schwartz is a Registered Dietitian. With over 25 years of experience, she has successfully helped many people live healthy lifestyles and reach their goals. Her passion is helping people with chronic conditions live their best life one step at a time. Shelley completed her Bachelor’s degree in Applied Health Science at Indiana University, Bloomington and her Dietetic Internship at the Indiana University Medical Center, Indianapolis. Outside of work, Shelley loves cooking, trying new recipes and working out in various ways (“urban” hiking, hitting the gym and swimming). Most of all, Shelley loves spending time with her husband and boys.

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