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Jan 11 2016
by Taylor Laroche

12 Semi-Easy Alternatives to Ramen

By Taylor Laroche - Jan 11 2016

Let's face it: Ramen (and I mean instant Ramen) is kind of awful. Yes, it is salty and tasty and fast and easy to eat, but it is just awful. It is just a bunch of calories with no nutritional value and, if you're like me, it may not even fill you up.

"But we're in college, we're supposed to live off of Ramen!" you say. But to this I say to you; No more! No more shall we college students be slaves to lunches that come in styrofoam cups and eat the same cardboard every day with different flavorings thrown on top! We will be civilized! We will eat properly! And dammit, we might even learn to cook!

Here are some fast, easy, and cheap options to replace ramen. They are delicious, comforting, and, even though they may not all be super foods, at lest they are better for you than instant dehydrated noodles wrapped in plastic.


1. Carrot Cake Oatmeal

Get some fruits, veggies, and fiber into the all-important first meal of the day! This recipe calls for a saucepan, but you could easily heat the ingredients in a microwave!

Here's what you need:

- ½ cup grated carrot, from 1 small, peeled carrot

- ⅓ cup rolled oats

- 1 tablespoon raisins

- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, divided

- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

- 1 teaspoon honey

- 10 raw almonds (Men: 20 almonds), chopped

- ½ cup plain, 2% Greek yogurt, for garnish


Stir the grated carrot, rolled oats, raisins, and ½ cup almond milk and store in an airtight container in the fridge overnight. (If you’re following the Clean Eating Challenge, you already did this!)

Combine the carrot-oat mixture, the remaining ½ cup almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and honey in a small pot over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and the oats are cooked, 4 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately, with almonds and Greek yogurt on top.

2. French Toast in a Mug

This is genius. It requires some effort, but totally worth it. You could even take it to go if you wanted to!

Recipe and Instructions here:

3. Microwave Egg and Veggie Breakfast Sandwich

If you're looking for something a little more filling and nutritious, try this:

Recipe and Instructions here:


1. Microwave Granola

This is a great recipe because you can adjust it however you'd like to accommodate your own personal taste. You will need access to a flat surface (preferably a cookie sheet) and a storage container, so that you can cool and store your finished treat (but I have no doubts about your creativity).

Recipe and Instructions Here:

2. Sour Cream and Onion Veggie Chips

Super delicious and way healthier than store bought potato chips. Make a handful for a quick snack or a huge batch for late night studying/Netflix bingeing! (Don't be intimidated by the flavoring recipe. If you can't find these, put your own flavor mix on them!)

Recipe and Instructions Here:

3. Nachos

My own personal go to. Put some chips and toppings on a baking sheet or microwave safe plate and heat. Very versatile and easy, great for a snack or, if you make enough/add some protein, a very filling meal. Pop in the oven for crispier chips and a little singe, or into the microwave for that gooey cheesy goodness. Either way, you can't go wrong!


1. Mac & Cheese in a Mug

The perfect comfort food (and the love of my life) in a mug. It's super easy to make, But WAAAAYYY better than Easy Mac. You're welcome.

Recipe and Instructions Here:

2. Baked Potatoes in the Microwave

Yes. Please.

Instructions & Other Baked Potato Suggestions Here:

3. Microwave Fried Rice

All the carbs of Ramen with more nutrition and flavor. 

Recipe and Instructions Here:


1. Chocolate Almond Braid

Assuming that you have access to an oven, this is a cheap and easy alternative to buying pastries at various coffee shops.

Here's what you need:

- Puff pastry

- Your favorite chocolate bar

- Egg wash

- Your favorite crushed nuts (we used almonds!)


Lay out your puff pastry. Place your chocolate bar in the center, cut diagonal lines along the left and right side of the chocolate bar about an inch apart. Remove the corner pieces. Starting from the top, fold down the flap then alternate right and left until you are close to the bottom. Fold the bottom flap up and finish alternating between right and left. Tuck any extra puff pastry underneath.

Place the braided puff pastry on parchment paper lined baking tray. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle crushed nuts over.

Bake at 415°F / 213°C for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!

2. Easy Slow Cooker Peach Cobbler

Okay, first of all, everyone needs to get a slow cooker. It will save your life. Moving on…

This dessert is very simple. You throw in the ingredients, turn on the cooker, then go to class. Once you get back, your dessert is ready.

Here's what you need:

- 2 21 oz cans peach pie filling

- 1 box vanilla cake mix

- 8 oz unsalted butter cut into small chunks

 Optional: 1/3 cup walnuts

Optional: vanilla ice cream


Put peach pie filling in slow cooker. Then top with cake mix, butter, and walnuts. Cook on high for 2-2.5 hours or until the cake part reaches desired consistency. Serve and top with ice cream.

3. Apples in a Bag

So sweet and delicious, so easy and quick with no messy clean up. Enjoy over ice cream, graham crackers, or straight from the bag!

Recipe and Instructions Here:

I hope some of these recipes may have at least sparked your interest. Don't be afraid to experiment, get creative and get messy! Mend your relationship with your tummy and eat some real food, dammit. You'll thank yourself later.

Happy eating!

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Taylor Laroche - Columbia College Chicago

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