Student Meal Diary: What I eat in a day

Courtesy of Katherine Smith

By Katherine Smith

November 18, 2023 at 6:38 p.m.

A fun fact about me is that I cook everything I eat! 

Due to allergy restrictions, I cannot share a kitchen with anyone and prepare all my own food. My stomach is really picky, mainly because I have Celiac Disease, which is an autoimmune condition that prevents my body from digesting gluten. 

Healthy food does not have to be expensive! Specialty gluten-free and vegan food can be pricey no matter where you shop or eat, but when you cook your own food, you can cater to your dietary restrictions and your budget.

But what about time? As a college student, I have very limited time to cook or meal prep, so having healthy meals that fit my diet, and are quick and cost efficient has been hard to figure out. Planning my meals out ahead of time, ingredient prepping, and shopping at Trader Joe’s has been a lifesaver for this. 

Below are some realistic meals that I eat that also make my tummy happy. 


What I Eat in a Day 

(as a busy college student who cooks everything at home)


Eggs on Toast

I have several variations of this recipe depending on what I have in my fridge and what flavor I’m feeling that day. My favorite by a long run are these chili-oil-fried eggs I picked up from my best friend’s mom when I was a kid. 


Time to Make: 5-7 minutes

Cost: Under $3 (depending what you have in your kitchen)



  • Olive oil 
  • Scallions (chopped)
  • Garlic (chopped)
  • Chili oil (make sure it does not have soy sauce)
  • Two eggs
  • Soy sauce (my favorite GF version is San-J Tamari)
  • Trader Joe’s GF white bread or white rice
  • Seasoning (salt, pepper, chili flakes)



Step one

In a skillet, cook scallions and garlic on medium heat in a dash of olive oil until fragrant.

Note: The garlic will burn if cooked at too high of a temperature.

Step two

Add chili oil to the skillet.

Step three

Crack two eggs into the pan.

Step four

When the whites are nearly done cooking, add a dash of soy sauce on top of each egg.

Step five

Serve eggs on top of toast or rice with seasoning and leftover scallions on top.



Greek Tomato Cucumber Salad with Chicken and Focaccia 

When I was a kid, I grew up going to Greek festivals with our family friends and fell in love with the flavors of the food. This meal is an easy meal to prep and you can use whatever ingredients suit your taste. I usually pack this for lunch to eat between classes.


Time to Make: 15-20 minutes

Cost: Under $5 (depending what you have in your kitchen)


Tomato Cucumber Salad 
  • Kumato tomatoes 
  • Persian cucumbers 
  • White onion 
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil 
  • Salt, pepper, Greek seasoning (oregano, basil, onion powder, garlic powder)
  • Chicken tenders (can substitute beef, tofu, or chopped up vegetables)
  • Seasoning (salt, pepper, Greek seasoning (oregano, basil, onion powder, garlic powder))
Tzatziki/ Yogurt Sauce

I often buy this from Trader Joe’s, but here is a quick makeshift recipe I use when I am out of the store-bought kind

  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Grated cucumber (squeeze out liquid)
  • Lemon juice 
  • Olive oil
  • Seasoning (salt, pepper, herbs)
  • Hummus 
  • Focaccia (I make this every couple weeks and freeze some, but you can buy it at a grocery store)
    • Sub in pita chips


Tomato Cucumber Salad 

Step 1

Chop up tomatoes, cucumbers, and onion.

Step 2

Mix in a bowl with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Step 3

Mix in seasonings.


Step 1

Chop up chicken tenders into smaller pieces.

Step 2

Mix in a bowl with olive oil and seasoning.

Step 3

Cook in a pan until fully cooked.

Note: To make this recipe easier, you can also bake the chicken so you don’t have to watch it.



Stuffed Acorn Squash

I am so obsessed with squash! It is so fun and tasty for fall and super hands off to make. Acorn squash is a great way to get fiber and other nutrients in your diet.


Time to Make: 45 minutes

Servings: 2-4 (depending on size of squash and appetite)

Cost: $5-7 


  • Acorn squash (cut in half lengthwise)
  • Olive oil 
  • White rice 
  • Onion/shallot 
  • Garlic
  • Ground turkey (skip the turkey for meat-free option)
  • Cheese (I use Parmesan, which is low in lactose)


Step one

Cook half a cup of rice in a pot or rice cooker.

Step two

Cut acorn squash in half and coat in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cook at 375 Fahrenheit until tender. (You can also microwave it.)

Step three

In a pan, cook onion or shallot on medium heat until caramelized, add garlic and cook till fragrant.

Step four

Add half a package of ground turkey to the pan, break into pieces and cook until done.

Step five

When rice is done, add turkey mixture to rice and mix in cheese.

Step six

When squash is done, fill in each half with turkey mixture. Top with parmesan cheese and cook for five minutes or until the cheese is melted. 



  • Coffee (try to limit to one cup in the morning as it hurts my tummy)
  • Kombucha 
  • Banana 
  • Yogurt w/ granola and berries 
  • Trader Joe’s GF Madeleines
  • Kind Nut Bars 
  • Honeycrisp apple w/ almond butter 
  • Fresh veggies (cucumber, carrots)
  • Van Leeuwen honeycomb ice cream
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