Hey, fellow college students: Do you ever feel like your skin’s starting to peel off, your face is covered in pimples and your bones ache? We call that malnutrition, and you need to eat something soon before you keel over. Preferably something with nutrients. But you’re broke and hungover and tired, and you’re sick of pasta. How do you sustain yourself? Especially if you aren’t much for cooking.
Potatoes: There’s a reason the Irish are famous for surviving off of these roots, and that’s because potatoes are an excellent staple. They’re filling, energy providing and generally pretty easy to make. The easiest way: bake ‘em. Wash them, stab them full of holes – cover them in olive oil and salt if you want them to taste better – wrap them in some tin foil and put them in an oven at 375 for an hour or so (adjust your cooking time to the size of your potato, smaller potatoes won’t take as long). Peel open that foil once your tater is cooked, cover it with butter, sour cream, loads more salt, garlic powder, chopped onions, chives, more sour cream. Eat ’til it’s gone. Or until you have to take a nap.
Fruit: Fruits are good for you, and we should all make an effort to eat more of them. They’re good by themselves, but they aren’t super-filling. So smother them with peanut butter. If you ever tire of apples and bananas covered in peanut butter, pick up a thing of Greek yogurt, get your handy peanut butter and some honey – get it locally sourced if you can, it helps your allergies – and mix it all up in a bowl them. (My advice: Use equal portions peanut butter, yogurt and honey.) Dip your fruit, dip your fingers, pour the whole batch down your throat because it’s so damn tasty.
Vegetables: Just like fruits, vegetables will also help you maintain your mortal husk/body/life force when you’re in a pinch. Just like with potatoes, you can cut them, cover them with spices and bake them up, or you can eat them raw, providing you have something to dip/smother them in (dressing, hummus, pure sriracha, etc.). You can buy a tub of hummus at the store, if you want, or you can get yourself a can of chickpeas, a bag of frozen edamame and some cloves of garlic. Blend all of that in a food processor/blender (set aside the liquid from the canned chickpeas for later!) until it’s a paste, and add the juice of one lemon, some cumin, salt and pepper. Drizzle in 1/4 cup of olive oil. Blend/stir and add that leftover chickpea juice until you deem the hummus appropriate to eat. Then eat the hell out of it.
Pasta: At some point in your career, you’re going to grow sick of eating pasta. But it’s cheap and easy, and everyone always has some on hand. The best way to eat it? Covered in pesto. And while it may sound like a complicated process, making pesto is really only slightly more involved than making a baked potato. Get a bunch of basil leaves (you’ll need three cups, the fresher the better), a cup and a half of chopped walnuts, six cloves of garlic, a quarter of a cup of parmesan cheese and one cup of olive oil. Got it all? Good. Now dump it in a blender and pulse that baby until it’s a decent texture for you. Then taste it and add tons of salt and pepper to it until it pleases you. Dump a large spoonful or two onto your pasta and cover it with more Parmesan cheese. Enjoy this pasta meal. Even if you eat nothing else today, at least the protein in the walnuts will keep you alive for a little longer.