Keto Meals for College Students, Part 2


I decided to break this article up into two parts (I am so enthusiastic about keto!). If you didn't catch the very helpful Keto Meals for College Students, Part 1 - head over there. It covers tortillas, vegetables, eggs, cheese, and meats.

Intro to Keto

As before, I will give you this disclaimer, and then jump in to easy to make keto meals for college kids.

DISCLAIMER: Any "diet" can go to the point of going too far. The keto diet relies on reducing carbs. Not having enough carbs in your diet can make you feel tired and sluggish. This is simply solved by having an occasional serving of real bread with a meal, or a glass of orange juice, or a bowl of higher carb fruit. I speak from personal experience.

So treat yourself to an occasional "naughty" restaurant meal, ice cream malt, or slice of birthday cake. For some people, this change jolts their metabolism and they are pleasantly surprised to lose weight on the scale the next day.

Doing Keto right

I reference the cookbook series Dirty, Lazy, Keto a lot. In Part 1 of Keto Meals for College Students I talk about how I did keto wrong and gained weight. This book got me started on the right track. I am the most frugal person there is. Even though there are tons of free keto recipes on the Internet, it is so helpful spending the time in a micro-climate of one good cookbook series. 

Some dedicated followers of the Laska family are so enthusiastic about their books, that they buy all of them. After three books, I feel more confident about doing keto on my own (but am tempted to buy more).

I also mention how the purchase of a toaster oven helped me to stay on my keto diet. Air fryers were a close second.

Well-used and tabbed "Dirty, Lazy, Keto" cookbooks.

Well-used and tabbed "Dirty, Lazy, Keto" cookbooks.

Cereal and chips on Keto

I can tell you right now, trying to find a Keto-friendly cereal is next to impossible. There is no way I am going to buy overpriced cereal and "Keto" chips. The cereal that was the least damaging was Bran Buds (believe me, there was no family member competing with me for this).

As far as chips go, I don't really have them. That goes for crackers, too. I don't seek out tortilla chip substitutes, I just limit myself to a smaller quantity and enjoy a proper-tasting tortilla chip. I do miss a good nacho plate, however, this can be replaced. Just chop up peppers, toss with meat (chicken or a ground meat with taco mix on it) and cheese and bake. 

Fun fact - I just noticed that a local take-and-bake pizza chain is offering a crustless keto pizza - I believe it resembles the recipe I just mentioned. I invested in a KitchenAid toaster oven to make easy and fast meals like this one. My sister-in-law told me she loves toaster ovens and has gone through several. She always felt safer that the kids used it rather than the oven when she wasn't home.

I made an accidental discovery the other day while reading chip labels. I was in the Hy-vee store, and found that the Hy-vee store brand of bagged popcorn was probably the least carbs compared to all the chips and all the other packaged popcorn. Sometimes its nice to have a real snack, but you still have to eat it in moderation.

Dairy and milk on Keto

Too  much dairy can impact Keto. Here is my mom voice coming out: there are skinny girls thinking that they have to do Keto. There are beautiful healthy girls that think they are "too fat" when really, they are wonderfully healthy. Young men and women in college are still growing, and milk for strong, healthy bone development is highly important!

I still worry about my calcium intake. I do like the unsweetened, 30-calorie vanilla flavored almond milk. I'm not a purist, I still have cow's milk - I just don't want to cheat myself.

What you will find in the "Dirty, Lazy, Keto" series is frequent use of cream, I just buy whipping cream. The lightbulb really went off in my head after seeing the connection across all of the "Dirty, Lazy, Keto" cookbooks. The cream is used as what I call an "activator" - there needs  to be just a touch of it in a recipe for keto. "Dirty, Lazy, Keto" doesn't rely on olive oil and avocado for everything. That's what I like about the DLK cookbooks (nuts would be another activator).

I've never been a fad diet follower, I'm lucky to have inherited more "skinny" genetics. I'm at the age that I have to watch my weight, even though I've ate pretty healthy all of my life. Now I have to try harder. I did spend some time with the Trim Healthy Mama diet, but felt it hard to keep up (too many odd ingredients). The one thing that stuck with me are the authors' bearish insistence to keep the olive oil to one tablespoon per serving. The secret to keto is out, once I figured the "activator" rule out, I started losing weight.

Dessert on Keto

I think dessert and keto don't go together. Sure, there are keto dessert recipes, but keto sort of kills your desire for sugar after awhile. That's the point where I am at. My dessert enjoyment amounts to sampling, slivers and small spoonful's of sweet things.

I did buy some low calorie frozen treats for the summer. On occasion I will have one, but not really out of a craving. I will add soda pop onto the dessert list. Some diet purists scowl at the use of aspartame, saccharine, or stevia for adding sweetness to drinks and desserts.

If you have a health reason to avoid such sweeteners, then of course you must. I was never a big pop drinker, but I find the carbonation and sweetness a type of dessert, that's why I have added pop here. I also drink it in moderation, so am not worried about any ill affects.

SUGAR. I want to point out that when most people watch their weight, they eat diet sweet food, It doesn't quite taste right. For years I avoided Monk fruit and Xylitol. They sounded unnatural to me. I am really taking keto seriously this time, and tried both of them. They actually taste pretty darn good, I wished I had tried them sooner, it would have expanded my enjoyment more. If a decent sweetener is holding you back from your health goals, I urge you to try one or both of them!

If you are a college student, baking might be far from your mind, but get yourself some Carbquik®. This is awesome stuff! Instead of going through all of the work of making something that tastes like a carb, this actually tastes like the real stuff! 

Carbquik for keto is fast and easy for biscuits, waffles, and pizza dough.

Carbquik for keto is fast and easy for biscuits, waffles, and pizza dough.

I went through all of the work to make vegetable pizza whose crust I didn't like (traditionally it would have been a baked crescent roll crust, with cream cheese topping and vegetables). The recipe I found for the crust was awful - I grabbed the Carbquick® and "quickly" made the pizza crust recipe on the back and added the veggie toppings - everyone loved it. By the way, the veggie pizza recipe filling I used was actually a Trim Healthy Mama (THM) Veggie Pizza from the blogger Northern Nester. The filling was great and highly recommended - the dough for the recipe wasn't. 

The crust was too involved to make anyway, with Carbquik® you just add water! I want to point out that this is a recipe to eat cold. Every time I bring this to a potluck it gets gobbled up. But why save it for that when it makes a great lunch (you can bake the pizza crusts and freeze them for fast meal making later)!

OMG - I made the Sheet Pan Keto Breakfast Pizza from the blogger All Day I Dream About Food - an amazing keto website - so, so good! I do dream about the next time I will eat it. I did not care for her focaccia crust, instead I used the pizza crust using Carbquik®. I bake this in the same KitchenAid toaster oven I mentioned earlier, that helps make cooking healthy meals faster than an oven (helping me to stay on keto).

Don't forget flavored water additives/enhancers. These little bottles have been a favorite of mine, as well as my college-age daughter. It helps cut down on eating and bad soda pop drinking. Coconut and pineapple are not my favorites - anything berry is usually safe. Make sure you buy the low-calories ones - some are certainly not.

This is also a good place to talk about chocolate. Dark chocolate is fine, the darker the better. I've found that Hershey's Dark Chocolate candy bar is too sweet now for me - keto has that affect (that's good!). An 85% chocolate is about right. You can get dark chocolate baking chips that are 65%. Who are we kidding? Everyone in my house eats the chocolate chips straight out of the bag, they hardly ever make it into a recipe.

Keto extra that go well for desserts, and drink beverages.

Keto extras that go well for desserts, and drink beverages.

Checkout the baking aisle for Keto-friendly chocolate chips. For some reason, the chocolate still is my Achilles heel.

Fruit on Keto

I eat fruit in moderation. I do pick up some canned fruit, which is nice to add variety. Watch what they are packaged in. The juice might contain corn syrup, which I avoid. Look for low-sugar on the can. I would always send some canned fruit with my kids to their college apartments because I didn't think they would buy fresh fruit themselves.

Fresh fruit can be expensive, but a nice change in the diet. I buy frozen fruit to add to my yogurt, but not sure if that fits into a college kid's food budget. Any fruit with seeds in it is especially Keto friendly and will help you stay full longer.

I'll take a moment to repeat my disclaimer again:

DISCLAIMER: Any "diet" can go to the point of going too far. The keto diet relies on reducing carbs. Not having enough carbs in your diet can make you feel tired and sluggish. This is simply solved by having an occasional serving of real bread with a meal, or a glass of orange juice, or a bowl of higher carb fruit. I speak from personal experience.

So treat yourself to an occasional "naughty" restaurant meal, ice cream malt, or slice of birthday cake. For some people, this change jolts their metabolism and they are pleasantly surprised to lose weight on the scale the next day.

Yogurt, fruit, nuts, and unsweetened coconut flakes, and chia seeds are is a perfect breakfast meal for college students.

Yogurt, chia seeds, and nuts on Keto

I don't know where else to add this. I eat a lot of low fat Greek yogurt. This is my go-to replacement for the treacherous cereal and toast breakfasts of my past. Chia seeds and nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc.) help with trying to feel full. 

There are all kinds of chia overnight recipes that can greet you in the morning as a breakfast substitute. Heck, you can even toss chia seeds in flavored water. The Dirty, Lazy, Keto books contain a few snacks and breakfast recipe meals containing them.

I probably should also add in peanut butter here and other nut spreads. I've just being buying Skippy Naturals, it's pretty low in carbs. At best, you could find a carb lower in another variety.

In Conclusion

Hey, don't miss the first part of this article.  If you didn't catch the very helpful Keto Meals for College Students, Part 1 - head over there. It covers tortillas, vegetables, eggs, cheese, and meats.

Doing any diet is good, if it includes a healthy balanced, diet. Try to keep perspective and remember you are beautiful just for yourself!

About the author 

Renee Matt

Renee is a former kitchen designer, home remodeling enthusiast (having lived through several DIY projects), and an Iowa farmwife. Renee is passionate about preparedness, garden skills, and knowing where her food comes from. Years of being a stay-at-home mom and supporting the family farm with hearty meals has been key to Renee's pantry readiness. She uses her professional IT background and expertise to bring the Everything Pantry website to life.

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