There comes a point, if you haven’t experienced it already, that life at UVA is too busy, stressful, or you’re just too tired to put effort into what you’re eating. I know for me, it was about January in my first year when that hit. It was honestly just too cold to care about going out and getting real food. Sometimes, you’re just too tired to climb up those O-Hill stairs. Instead of being like me and eating popcorn and peanut butter sandwiches for dinner, I have compiled a list of still really tasty, easy, “depression foods.” Life is hard, but you still deserve to be nourished and taken care of. The foods on this list are minimal effort, maximum comfort foods for maximum fullness to help you stay productive, even when you don’t feel like it. Let’s dig in!
- BAGELS: Bagels are so easy. You just keep some in your fridge, add any toppings you want, and bam! A whole meal. I tend to keep around everything bagels and different greens with some deli meats and cheese for easy sandwich making. But honestly, sometimes even that’s too hard for me. Don’t feel bad if that’s you. Slap some cream cheese on that bad boy and life is good again.
- PASTA: I absolutely love pasta. It’s extremely versatile. I’m not just talking about ramen. (To be honest with you, I hate ramen.) I tend to keep cans of tomato sauce and some veggies around (and if you can’t get to the grocery store, don’t be afraid to steal a little spinach from the dining hall). But really, you can do so much with noodles. Coat them in a little butter and parmesan or make yourself some simple mac and cheese. Pasta is always filling and quick, so you really can’t go wrong.
- GRILLED CHEESE AND SOUP: Not just for when you’re sick, a grilled cheese and soup is a quick, easy, cold weather staple that always fills you up and never fails to make you feel warm and fuzzy. For all the comfy fall vibes, I like to make a grilled cheese with turkey and pair it with butternut squash soup. I always keep cans of soup on hand for the nights that I work late, or I’m studying way past my bed time. It takes like 10 minutes to make, thank me later.
- CEREAL: They always say cereal is better at night, and I wholeheartedly agree. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ran to my cupboard and grabbed some cereal whenever I’m too sad to eat. It really can’t get easier than this, and it has all the things my depressed little mind crave: sugar, crunch, and it keeps me full. Pro-tip: Honey Bunches of Oats with Vanilla Almond Milk: try it, it will change your life.
- PIZZA BAGELS: In case you haven’t figured it out, I love bagels. Now as great as the little frozen pizza bagel minis are, they don’t really fill me up. I’m always hungry after and then I feel so terrible for eating 2 boxes of them. I love to keep around some mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce, and different toppings for when I need a quick dinner. I spray a plain bagel with olive oil, top with pizza sauce, spinach, and mozzarella, and I throw it in the oven at about 350 degrees. It only takes about 8-10 minutes and it is so wonderful. It’s one of those foods that reminds me of being a kid, and sometimes that’s all we really need.
- ICE CREAM: Okay, okay. I know this list is supposed to be good, quick, comforting dinners. But I am a sucker for ice cream. And honestly, you can pair any of the foods on this list with ice cream and you’d be happy. I am currently obsessed with Talenti’s mango sorbet. I like to pair that with my grilled cheese and soup combo, and let me tell you, my depression goes out the window.
Let’s be real. Some foods just feel like a hug. I am definitely guilty of letting life get the best of me and not treating my body the way it deserves. But we don’t deserve to starve ourselves, we deserve nourishment and care in order to do our best, especially when we don’t feel our best. So, whenever you’re down, busy, or stressed, you can always come back to my list and find a quick, happy, no brainer dinner. Enjoy! Go crush your semester!