Updated: Jan 16, 2018
Simple tips for lazy nights
How often do you come home from a long day at work and don't feel like cooking?
This happens to me regularly (even on days that I've been at home doing nothing all day). There will be times when I have a burst of motivation and cook amazing meals for a few nights, but there will always be those days when you just don't feel like cooking.
Why do we need to eat? Life would be so much more simple if we didn't have to eat
It would also be pretty boring.
Instead of going out for takeaway or getting pizza delivered, why not try some of these tips to make your lazy nights a little more nutritious?
The 50/25/25 Rule
It's a good rule of thumb to divide your plate into 3 sections:
I know this sounds like I'm already over-complicating it, but it's just something to keep in mind for all meals. It won't always be perfect, especially when you don't feel like cooking.
50% non-starchy vegetables or salad
This includes carrots, pumpkin, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, capsicum, green beans, peas, mushrooms and salad like lettuce, tomato, cucumber, celery, baby spinach.
Basically you can't have too much of these foods. They are low in energy (calories) and high in fibre, which means you can fill up on lots of them without it affecting your weight.
The only vegetables you shouldn't include in this section are the starchy vegetables - potato, sweet potato, corn and legumes (baked beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils). These would go in the carbs section of your plate.
This section could include starchy vegetables, legumes or grain foods like pasta, rice, bread, cous cous, quinoa, buckwheat, etc.
Carbs provide our body with essential energy we need to keep it functioning properly. The brain is very picky with what kind of energy it uses and prefers to only use carbs. For this reason it's important to have carbs at each meal.
Wholegrain varieties are always best and try to vary it up with different grains that you might not have tried before.
The last section of your plate should be a source of lean protein. This could be lean meat, chicken or fish, or for vegetarian options try legumes, tofu, eggs, nuts or dairy.
Protein is needed for growth and repair of all body cells and helps form enzymes and hormones which are essential for normal body functions.
Cut any visible fat off meat and skin off chicken before cooking.
Choose foods that require little to no effort to prepare
Obviously you want something that requires zero effort, so make it easy for yourself by choosing foods that either don't need cooking or are quick to cook.
Eggs are very versatile and can be whipped up really quickly and easily. Scrambled eggs in the microwave take 2 minutes if you're feeling really lazy, otherwise boiling or poaching are good options. They are also a great source of protein and essential vitamins, healthy fats and antioxidants.
Pasta is the go-to meal for any lazy uni student (I know from experience). It is easy to cook and is ready quickly. Add some steamed frozen vegetables to give the meal a bit more colour and nutrients.
Cous cous is even easier to cook than pasta! It's almost impossible to get wrong, just pour boiling water over it and let it sit for 5 mins. It can be a great side to go with some minute steak or chicken and some steamed vegies.
Salads are easy to throw together and usually don't require any cooking. You can make them interesting by adding legumes (eg chickpeas), tinned tuna or salmon, raw vegies or a boiled egg.
Use convenience foods to your advantage
There are so many options for foods where all the hard work has been done for you, like a BBQ chicken from the supermarket, tinned tuna/salmon, tinned legumes, tinned tuna/salmon and bean mixes, pre-made pasta and prepared sauces.
While it's not a good idea to have packaged or processed foods on a regular basis, these foods can be a good back up to have in the pantry or fridge. You can add them to pasta dishes or salads to make an easy meal, or add frozen vegies to pasta dishes to give a bit of freshness.
Some example meal ideas
Omelete - add onion, garlic, cherry tomatoes, baby spinach, and any other vegies that you like.
Pasta - add vegies, chicken, legumes, pesto or pasta sauce
Anything on toast - eg avocado, eggs, mushrooms, baked beans. Also add some baby spinach or tomato for some extra veg
Salad and anything - either throw everything in the salad or have it on the side with meat and veg. You can add whatever you like!
Maybe tomorrow you'll feel like cooking...