Food, Pork, Recipes

Everyday Paleo and College Life – by Erika Schuler

*This is a guest post by my wonderful assistant, Erika Schuler who also happens to be in her last year of college at Chico State.  This blog is a quick example of how she manages to eat paleo despite a crazy schedule and a tight budget.  Be sure to post your comments and questions!  Here she is getting in a workout (and being silly) in my garage along with Jaden and Rowan.  Thank you Erika!!


Everyday Paleo and College Life

6 am wake up, go to school, study, do homework, group meetings, research papers, workout and cook paleo?! And I have a college student budget?! AHHH someone wake me up from this nightmare!!!!

College living is hard enough as it is, throw in paleo and you have a lot to juggle. I can’t tell you how many times I wished I could push the magic button and Rosie the Robot would show up and make me dinner. Considering we haven’t caught up with the Jetson’s, I guess I will have to make due with what is in my refrigerator and cabinets. Tonight it happened to be bratwursts, a white onion and a red bell pepper. Throw it all together and what do you get:

College Budget Bratwursts!

4 Bratwursts

1 white onion

1 red bell pepper

1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard (or to taste)

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 whole bay leaves

2 cloves minced garlic

½ tablespoon dried basil

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Slice up the onion and bell pepper and sauté over medium heat in the coconut oil along with the bay leaves, minced garlic, dried basil, ground ginger, and salt& pepper until the onion is translucent. Add bratwursts and cook for another 5 minutes. In a bowl mix balsamic and spicy brown mustard and whisk together. Pour over the brats and veggies mix and cook for another 10 minute.

Serving size: 1 brat and lots of veggies on top.

Fed: three college roommates with leftover’s (one brat and veggies)

Total cost of meal: $11/ 2.75 a person


Sarah Fragoso

Sarah Fragoso is an international best selling author of 6 books, co-owner of the Chico, CA based gym JS Strength and Conditioning, and founder of the Everyday Paleo franchise. Sarah is the co-host of the popular Sarah and Dr. Brooke Show podcast and she also conducts workshops and retreats on the subjects of nutrition, lifestyle and fitness.

Her message is from the heart and she carries a genuine desire to help other families looking for guidance. These attributes have contributed to her successes and provide the drive to keep the discoveries coming.

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  1. Amelia Luker says:

    Another good cheap recipie is :
    Chicken wings, broth and hot sauce in the crock pot for 4 hours.

    Sardines in olive oil are another great cheap snack.

    I buy meat in bulk or on sale and freeze it. It is the best way to get the best price.

    I am a student as well. I know the struggle.

  2. Jacey says:

    I am also a full-time college student, plus mother of two recently turned Paleo. My friends ask me how I do it and there are two things that have really saved me these last couple of months. Huge shopping trips on the weekend, because it just isn’t going to get done during the school week, and cooking so there are LOTS of leftovers. That way we always have something to eat in the house and I won’t be tempted by the $5 pizza down the street… (Actually, that sounds really gross to me right now but the kids still ask for it a lot :P)

  3. MMMMMMM… tubemeat. Looks scrumptious! I find since going Paleo I can have more “let’s just whip something together with whatever’s left in the fridge” meals with greater success. I always have some kind of veggie and some kind of meat in there. Maybe the non-reliance on having “a starch” with every meal makes it easier to whip meals up. Thoughts?

    Sort of off-topic-ish question: College is always associated in these sorts of web articles as being The Most Stressful Time Ever. Am I the only person who finds my post-college life more way stressful and busy than college ever was? (I’ve been out of college for like 12 years and am still waiting for the low stress and relative monetary wealth to kick in…).

    1. Agreed. College is not as stressful as it gets!

      1. I would go back to college in a heartbeat! Best time of my life!
        I find I’m more creative in the kitchen since going paleo. I feel like I always used to feel stuck in a rut…but with various proteins and lots of veggies to choose from, paleo hasn’t gotten boring.
        And easy cheap side dish I make all the time is mashed cauliflower, using frozen cauliflower.

    2. Erika Schuler says:

      im not sure if not having to worry about a carb at dinner time has made things easier however it has made it hard to be able to eat out so i feel like i have become more creative with the way i look at ingredients and put meals together. I have been cooking since i was really young, my dad is always in the kitchen and i have picked up a lot of tricks from him.

      Most Stressful time of your life is….

      I think how stressful college is for one person depends on the college, major, how one is paying for school and it they need a job and what that work load is. Personally i am truely blessed to have the worlds best parents who can provide for me and pay for my education and living expenses. Unfortunately that isn’t the case for every college student. having to support yourself through college is a stressful task. But because i don’t pay for my classes and housing doesn’t mean that i just sit back and relax through college, i also work for my aunt and uncle as their full time babysitter. So on top of being a full time student, when i have the kids for the week i am a full time “big sister/person in charge/parent” i love how close i have gotten to my cousins and love that i have family here to support me. With that said it gets stressful at times to work, go to school and find time for family and friends. Sometimes i feel like i am in the circus juggling everything and everyone. This is my super senior year and i am graduating after switching my major three times! All i have known my whole life is the same routine of school, summer/winter vacation and not having to worry about how i am going to earn money to pay my rent. Just like any normal human i get stress when things pile up, i try to stay organized and on top of it all, that seems to really work and the stress level evens out. I think after college it will be a different kind of stress, i don’t know if its easier better or if college really was the most stressful time of my life. Stress follows us everywhere we can’t out run it but we can try to control it! 🙂

      1. Jennifer says:

        College isn’t the most stressful ( unless you also are a working parent) but it is awfully important. So make the best of it! If I had the money to afford school, I would stay in until the end, and get at least one doctorate. easy paleo recipes are great for anybody who’s very busy, so thanks!

  4. I’m not in college anymore, but I think I speak for many single 20-somethings when I say that we still want ideas on meals that are cheap and fast 😉 I’d love to see more contributions from Erika!

  5. Where do you find good & cheap PALEO bratwursts? The only ones I can find have a lot of non-paleo additives.

  6. Hailey says:

    I literally just posted on my Facebook about how I found Paleo options on campus! How funny. I’ve learned to ignore the quizzical looks of the cashier while I list my “No cheese, no buns, extra meat, extra veggies.” 🙂 They have gluten free options, hopefully they catch up and offer grain free, soon

    1. Erika Schuler says:

      i would love to get into the college caffs and bring in some full on fresh dishes that aren’t mac and cheese, pizza cookies and all those other food they offer.

      1. Hailey says:

        Right?! Could I have a drink option that isn’t soda, chocolate milk, or sweet tea? I look around and it’s either an iceberg lettuce salad or bread breaded in bread in a bun. No wonder other people are putting on the freshmen 15 while I’m burning off that and then some 🙂

  7. Adrianna says:

    I’m also in college and would love to see more guest posts like this! I’m almost through my first month of being Paleo, but my roommates and friends are still pretty skeptical and think it’s kind of weird. It’s nice to hear from other people making it work!

  8. This is awesome. Definitely forwarding it to my daughter who is also living on her own and going to school. Maybe my teenage son can cook it for the family!

  9. Michelle B says:

    Yum… I agree that the whip-up-whatever-is-in-the-kitchen meals seem to be much easier on paleo… I’m in my 7th week of paleo and feeling awesome! This week has been the hardest so far; husband out of town, working full time, night classes for nursing school, and evening workshops for work, and taking care of my dog without the help of the hubby. One of my go-to meals this week has been spaghetti squash (baked while studying) with marinara sauce (homemade and frozen in small batches over the weekend) with some sort of meat (mostly chicken sausages)… it’s been filling, fast and easy.

    1. Erika Schuler says:

      thats my favorite meal to make, try browning up ground beef and add in some chopped up veggies i love using carrots, zucchini, celery, spinach and whatever else you want all cooked together them mixed in with the squash and marinara on top!

  10. Laura B says:

    Oooh I just did a nice whip up meal too… hamburger, onions, beef broth and some leftover pumpkin puree turned into pumpkin and hamburger soup. Tasted amazing!

    I never went to college but working full time and being a (mostly) single mom can be a bit stressful and busy. Paleo was really hard at first… I kept trying to recreate non-paleo dishes and would eat my weight in nuts and coconut flour. This was pretty expensive. I felt stuck at first because it was such a big change. I didn’t know what to buy, where to buy it… I would go to 5 different grocery stores every other day, it was nonsense! Then, everything just fell into place. I realized there are better, cheaper sources for grass fed meat than say, Whole Foods. I stopped stressing that I wasn’t recreating cookbook picture perfect meals. Now living paleo is smooth… like buttah. (grassfed of course)

  11. don’t forget you can cut up one of those add eggs maybe some more veggies and you have an omlete/scramble. or more veg and/or meat, more broth and get a hearty soup. or toss it in with sweet potato/yam/squash and you are post workout ready. or use the strong seasoning of the preserved meat to your advantage and sautee it with a green leafy ala bacon.

    note: some genders and activity levels would call that 2 or less servings. but, we wouldn’t want to consume too much of higher salt content having preserved meats.

    Props to the students (po’ folk too) that make it paleo on a shoestring.
    PS Dining commons were always a bit of a nutritional wasteland.

  12. Liz Smo says:

    Thanks so much for the post! Yay students!! I am a graduate student who goes to school full time and works about 30 hours per weeks and would love more posts from Erika! I cope by designating a cooking day usually on the weekends and make like two or three big meals that I container up in the fridge for the week. Yes the kitchen becomes one big giant mess, but then Wednesday after working a job in the morning, going to class, working my afternoon job, and then going to Crossfit, and while doing some homework, I can eat a healthy awesome meal that took me seconds to warm. Paleo on a slim food budget isn’t always as strict as I would like especially when it comes to meat, but you just make do with what ya got and do the best you can. Part of the fun with Paleo is being creative and kind of going with what you got. So I definitely SHOP THE SALES 🙂 I just buy the fruits, veggies, and meat that are on sale that week or pick up whats cheap at the farmers market and go from there. Good job to everyone who makes it happen on the student or low $$ food budget!

  13. Tracy says:

    I am no longer in college but I have to say the electric skillet made the memories of college come rushing back. My grandma brought me one for my H.S. graduation present and although I thought it was kind of silly at the time it turned out to be the best gift ever! Many drunken 3 am meals made in that skillet!! Thanks for the walk down memory lane. Oh and the brauts look good too!

  14. chris says:

    This does look really yummy. However, I don’t think I’d call it a budget friendly meal. That looks like it would serve 2. In our house, I have $12 to feed 7 people for a meal. (that is our main meal, less for others) We try to eat a paleo friendly diet, but our budget doesn’t allow it. My hubby is pretty strict and reaping wonderful results! In our experience, the cost of food is always what makes this lifestyle so difficult. We are starting to grow our own food and hope to eliminate that cost from our budget in a couple of years. We also have a small flock of hens that give us delicious fresh eggs, though we need more to suit our needs. We have drastically reduced our intake of wheat and are using rice instead. Buying in bulk as much as possible has also helped.

    Thanks for all the info and inspiration for recipes!

    1. Christine says:


      I understand where you are exactly!! This has been my biggest challenge. When we went full paleo, I was spending double what we are used to. I had to stop strict paleo because of this. With 5 kids (3 which are teenagers) and a tight budget, paleo really is difficult.

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