Let me break a stereotype about us foodies. Not all of us like to cook. In fact, a lot of foodies don’t really like it, or alternatively, a lot don’t really know how. Some people are miracle-workers and can put random ingredients in a bowl, mix it up, and it literally belongs in a five-star restaurant. What gives?
Personally, I don’t identify as a sh*t-chef foodie or a foodie that hates cooking. As you can probably tell from what I post, I absolutely adore making new recipes and can spend hours and hours in the kitchen. I basically do half of my exercise in there! But anyways, I still have days where I’m less energetic, more short on time, or just more lazy. I’m sure you all can relate!
Here’s a compilation of my personal favorite lazy food creations and other meal ideas that are super versatile, easy to make, require minimal cleaning post-meal, take a short amount of time, and taste absolutely incredible. Well, for the most part. If you screw up on a combination that you made up solely by yourself, then I can’t really help you with that. Problem’s on you with that one.
- Pancake bowl cakes. I have a love-hate relationship with pancakes. They are delicious, fluffy, comforting, and versatile, but I have ZERO patience when it comes to flipping them, and they are really easy to screw up if you don’t heat them accordingly and wait for them to cook perfectly. On top of that, I would rather spend twenty to thirty minutes studying for a test than make a stack of pancakes that I would probably demolish in five minutes. Here comes the pancake bowl cake: just make your pancake batter in a bowl and microwave it for around four to eight minutes, depending on how much you make. I love topping my pancake bowl cakes with fruit, cinnamon, maple syrup, nut butter, cereal, or even melted dark chocolate if I’m feeling indulgent. You still get your pancake fix, but with a little spin! You don’t even have to worry about keeping all the pancakes warm while you flip everything, either! Bonus!
- Veggies and rice (preferably whole grain). Do you want carbs? But do you also need some extra micronutrients? Well my friends, veggies and rice would be perfect for you. Yeah, I know, vegetables and rice sound pretty lame, but if you cook your vegetables right and season them with great spices or sauces, then this meal hits the spot every single time. Of course, you can leave your vegetables raw, but I prefer having cooked vegetables with grains because they are extra warming and easier to eat. Whole grain rice is a perfect pairing because it is high in fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, protein, and B vitamins. Alternatively, you can also use whole grains such as quinoa, teff, farro, barley, amaranth, millet, buckwheat, bulgur, or even oats (yes, savory oats are a thing)! I say preferably whole grain, because they have more fiber that white grains. However, I know that white rice is very cheap and a lot more well-liked than brown rice, so that’s awesome too. You’ll be receiving your micros from the vegetables, anyways!
- Protein and veggies. Basically bikini-competition food. EXCITING. Okay okay, to be fair, I have cooked vegetables and a good source of vegan protein for dinner every single night. One example would be these stir-fried Brussels sprouts with onions and spices alongside a Boca vegan veggie patty with Sriracha! It was the perfect light dinner for a busy study night that took only five to six minutes, not even. I also love veggie burgers because they are super easy to prepare and take no time to make, but you can also use beans, tofu, tempeh, seitan, whatever floats your boat! If you are not plant-based, other sources of protein include turkey, chicken, lean grass-fed beef, white fishes, salmon, bison, and eggs.
- Protein shakes. Speaking of protein and bikini competition food, let’s talk protein shakes! I feel super “bro-fitness” bringing up protein shakes, but they are just too perfect if you need a quick and filling snack or dessert. Just thoroughly mix a scoop of protein powder with at least eight ounces (approximately a cup) of water or plant milk until there are no clumps, but I like using one and a half to two cups of water. Sweeten it if your protein is unflavored. You don’t want to drink an unsweetened protein shake. Trust me on this one.
- Decorated rice cakes. Even though I don’t have rice cakes very often, I think they are a fantastic lazy meal and/or snack idea. They’re versatile, mild, and, unlike bread, don’t have to be toasted to be crunchy! Top your rice cakes with whatever you wish. Some suggestions include guacamole, nut butter, fruit, cinnamon, tomatoes, greens, cucumber, dairy free cream cheese, and dessert spreads (I’m talking about you, cookie butter!). I say decorated rice cakes because who eats them plain? Well actually, I’d totally eat kettle corn or salted caramel-flavored rice cakes plain. Or sesame-tamari rice cakes on their own. Yum. Dang. Now I’m craving rice cakes.
- Nice cream. Never have I met a vegan who has NOT tried nice cream. It’s a spectacular food staple that everyone, vegan or not, should try at least once in their life! Nice cream is literally just frozen bananas that have been blended in a strong food processor or blender–however, I love using the Yonanas machine to make nice cream because this machine retains the bananas’ thickness and coldness the most. The bananas ideally should be overripe, as they taste even sweeter this way! You can have nice cream by itself, but I love mixing in cacao powder, protein powder, matcha powder, maca, cinnamon, and spirulina, as well as garnishing it with fruit, dark chocolate, coconut, granola, cereal, and nut butter.
- Pasta. Mainly included because I’ve rekindled my love for Explore Asian spaghetti (DON’T WORRY GUYS, THIS POST ISN’T SPONSORED), but come on. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy a giant bowl of carbs in less than five minutes? All you have to do is pour pasta noodles in some hot boiling water, stir them around until they are completely cooked, drain the noodles, and serve with whatever you desire! To boost the nutritional quality, pair the pasta with some vegetables, antioxidant-rice spices, and a source of protein. I like meal-prepping a whole box’s worth of bean-based pasta and mixing in raw spinach until all the leaves are wilted and incorporated for some substance. Nutritional yeast and organic ketchup never fail to dazzle the dish.
- Sandwiches. My roommates’ kitchen staples include guacamole, tortilla chips, oatmeal packets, bread loaves, jam, and peanut butter. LOTS and LOTS of the latter three. Every single time I walk into the kitchen around the middle of the day, at least one of my roommates is creating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I don’t blame them–PB&J sandwiches are fabulous! Obviously, you are not restricted to just the combination of peanut butter and jelly, but it’s just super easy and classic. Some of my favorite sandwich combos include hummus + avocado + veggies, guacamole + seasoned tofu, protein frosting + fruit, nutritional yeast + mashed beans, and so much more. Also, you don’t have to use bread–bagels, sweet potato toast, rice cakes, Portobello mushrooms, and lettuce wraps also work!
- Toast. On the topic of bread, if you want to be even lazier or time-savvy, just toast some bread and eat! Whether you like your toast under-done or charred to the crisp is up to you, but to save time, just set your toaster or oven at a higher heat power to keep the cooking time short if you like your toast super hot and crunchy. Some people like plain toast, some people don’t. I like toast either way, but if I feel like dressing it up, I love using nut butter, fruit, guacamole or sliced avocados, hummus, mashed beans, sliced and cooked tofu with nutritional yeast, tempeh, seitan, mashed pumpkin or butternut squash, jam, vegan cream cheese, and vegetables (generally with some kind of sauce or spread).
- Cereal. Any self-identified “broke and busy” student can relate to the fact that cereal is the perfect meal. Depending on what brands you purchase, some cereals are incredibly budget-friendly (corn flakes and puffed kamut are some of the least expensive cereals I’ve seen), and some can be nutritious if made with whole grains and fortified with vitamins and minerals. What makes cereal so gloriously unique is that you can eat it as a meal, snack, or condiment. As a meal, just pair it with any milk of choice and enjoy, or just eat it dry like trail mix. Just make sure to not eat an entire box of cereal in one day. I did that twice. Felt veeeeeeerrrrryyyyyyy full at the end of them, but still worth it.
- Dark chocolate and nut butter. Fool-proof, loaded with fat, and hassle-free. You just cannot go wrong with this combination! I know that this seems kind of half-ass, but we’re talking lazy and easy here. Antioxidant-rich dark chocolate and healthy fat-rich nut butter are the epitome of lazy but glorious snacks and desserts. As of lately, enjoying a bar of Lakanto 55% sugar free chocolate with some peanut butter has been my favorite dessert. However, just a few squares of dark chocolate with some dollops of nut butter is just as satisfying to the palette. But face it. You would totally eat an entire bar of chocolate if you weren’t paying attention. And maybe at least half the jar of nut butter with it.
- Stuffed sweet potatoes. And you thought that I would not include sweet potatoes in any list of my favorite foods! Nope, they’re making an appearance once again. Sweet potatoes are absolutely stellar–Japanese sweet potatoes are my personal favorite kind–because they can pair well with anything but also taste delicious on their own. However, stuffing sweet potatoes with other toppings is a great way to jazz them up and get rid of any leftovers. Just roast or steam your sweet potatoes ahead of time and heat them up to serve, or just microwave them for several minutes to cook them on the spot. These roasted Hannah sweet potatoes were filled with sunflower seed butter, my two-ingredient peanut butter cookies, and a Munk Pack double dark chocolate chip cookie!
- Salads. Yeah yeah, I see you rolling your eyes behind the screen. Say whatever you want about how boring and basic salads are, but you cannot deny that they are extremely quick and simple to prepare. Assemble greens, garnish with other goodies, add the dressing or sauce (which is even optional), and eat. Easy, right? On top of that, you’ll be getting in your recommended intake of greens if you are generous with how much salad leaves you use. I like having at least a fourth of a pound of greens in a salad dressed (with protein, starchy vegetables, nuts, seeds, spices, avocado, nutritional yeast, and/or other veggies), but some people should have more or less. Remember, the darker the greens, the more nutrient-dense they are.
- Protein and rice. Worst case scenario, you don’t have vegetables. Or even worse, you don’t like vegetables (okay, I’m not judging you, but you should probably try to eat some vegetables, ‘kay?). But, you do like rice, so the second-best option below veggies and rice or protein and veggies would have to be protein and rice! Beans and rice pair perfectly because there is a variety of texture, flavors, and all along with all amino acid requirements met. Again, you can use any other protein of choice, and you should ideally have whole grain rice or any other whole grains for extra health benefits.
- Popcorn. Ah, I remember the good ol’ days when I’d prepare a ginormous bowl of plain air-popped popcorn for my study sessions, and I’d end up eating enough popcorn to feed around six people. But anyways, popcorn is such a great staple if you’re lazy or short on time. You can pop the kernels on the stovetop, use a popcorn machine, or, if you’re SUPER DUPER lazy, use pre-packaged popcorn or microwaveable popcorn (be wary of carcinogens in these). Oddly enough, I love plain popcorn, but you can season your popcorn bowls with cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, nutritional yeast, curry powder, spice blends, meat seasonings, or even just salt and pepper to taste.
- Then again, there’s always takeout. Because I can’t roll sushi to save my life.
What are your favorite lazy meal/snack ideas?