I’m a student. I’m an inherently lazy creature (my parents and flatmates can testify). Also, sometimes I get depressed. When the three combine, despite my normally voracious appetite (again, parents and flatmates can testify), sometimes food just becomes a non-priority. On the plus side, a couple of years being a lazy student with depression on top taught me some pretty nifty ways to eat with minimal effort.
Here are my favourite “lazy tips” from around the kitchen.
Buy industrial-sized portions of non-perishables
Even before I lived away from my parents, they worried about whether I’d be having three square meals a day (fear not, parents, most days I have five). Their solution was to make a CostCo trip every time I’m due to leave home for a while. For those of you who don’t have a CostCo near their home, it’s a company that sells a load of things wholesale. You can get hilariously gigantic versions of things you get in a normal supermarket.
Every term, I’m supplied with a huge tub of pre-seasoned cous cous, perhaps a box of pot noodles, a box full of juice cartons, and a giant bottle of tomato ketchup. I tend to joke that my parents don’t trust me to feed myself, but in reality there had been countless times where I got home extremely late, felt really lazy, or plainly can’t find the motivation to eat and let alone cook. My termly supply of cous cous and pot noodles meant a fair few nights I didn’t skip dinner.
Cook for other people (and vice versa)
Sometimes I cook for flatmates and, when I have something on till late or just feeling lazy, they’d save me the time and effort into making dinner. Sometimes we piled into the tiny kitchen and split the work. Worked for me. Plus, it’s a whole load healthier than having a pot noodle to stem the hunger cravings.
I know of friends who have one assigned day of the week to cook for the rest of the house, leaving the rest of the week free of cooking. A friend and I have “lasagne dates” everyso often which would save one of us cooking for the night. There’s loads of different ways to do it; they’ve all got to be better than cooking for yourself every single day.
I must admit that I’m not very good at this one. I’d cook giant portions of a meal with all the good intentions of freezing the rest for another day, only to eat it within the next twelve hours.
Still, the principle is there. Cook something like a big curry, chili, or pasta bake. Eat hot for dinner, portion the rest and freeze. It’ll be fine to eat for a good few weeks and only takes a few minutes to warm up in the microwave. Another healthier version of pot noodles.
Have a little repertoire of dinners that you can whip up in twenty minutes
My favourites are fajitas and noodle stir fry. I used to be a vegetarian, and having Quorn, vegetable and soy products to cook takes less time than making meat-based meals anyway. But I’ve found that it’s helpful to know a couple of meals that you can make quickly when I’m in no mood to cook. It’s also helpful to always have some staple ingredients in that you can throw together into a balanced dinner. Last year mine was some carbs in the cupboard (pasta, rice, cous cous?!, potatoes), veggies in the fridge (pepper and mushrooms are a couple of favourites) and some Quorn in the freezer.
A word to finish
Just in case my parents read this and have their very worst fears about my eating habits confirmed, I do eat well most of the time. This is just a couple of things I do when I’m having a period where self-care and food just isn’t at the top of the list. I certainly don’t condone having pot noodles for dinner every night because it’s too much effort to cook something else!