Packet ramen and pesto pasta: How to eat better in your messy era

In your messy twenties, nutrition can often go through the window. If you’re drowning in dissertation deadlines, going through a rough breakup, or you’ve spent the entirety of your maintenance loan on nights out, you might have resorted to hula hoops for dinner. But whatever you’ve got going on in your life, eating well is important in helping you through it. We recruited food influencer, Lauren Leyva, to share her top five tips for eating good in your messy era…

1. Batch cooking

I was a student for seven years, and batch cooking became so important for me, especially during stressful deadline seasons. It barely adds any more time to just make double or triple the amount of your meal, and it saves you so much time in the following days meaning you can crack on with your work.

Two of my go-to batch cook meals are tomato spaghetti and chickpea masala. They are both super versatile and if you have any leftover veg in your fridge, you can simply throw them in to bulk up the dish.

2. Herbs, spices, and crushed purees are your best friend.

If you don’t tend to experiment much with food, the best way to elevate plain food is to add flavour in the form of herbs, spices or crushed purees. A sweet paprika, mixed herbs and crushed garlic is a great start, especially if you don’t want to be too adventurous. You can easily add these to meat, fish or vegetables before baking or frying. Mixed herbs is particularly versatile for tomato-sauce based dishes, like spaghetti Bolognese, or meatballs in tomato sauce.

3. Prep your breakfast

If you’re the classic student who misses the bus and scrambles to make it to class on time, my advice would absolutely be to meal prep your breakfast. this could be a loaded bagel, overnight oats, fruit and granola pots, or even some leftover sausages from the night before. Whatever it is, have it prepped and packed into a sealable box the night before so in the morning, you can grab it and go. You don’t want to get hungry at 10am and have to spend extra money on overpriced vending machine food when you already had food at home.

4. Pack in more flavour

I had friends at uni who lived on plain chicken in pesto pasta. The best way to take this dish from a 2/10 to a 10/10 is to pack in more flavour, and it doesn’t need to be long-winded. Instead, bake your chicken with some oil and paprika smothered over it, and add some extra flavourful ingredients, such as a handful of rocket and some sweet cherry tomatoes.

5. Simple baking for when you’re feeling low

A final bit of advice is to get stuck into some chilled baking when you’re not feeling so good. In your twenties, there can be some low point when you just need a bit of comfort. For a self-care evening, some homemade brownies or chocolate chip cookies can lift spirits. Paired with a great film and a cup of tea, it’s the home-baked treats like this that can give you the comfort you need. I regularly made cookies with my housemates and it’s also a memory we reminisce about to this day, so I recommend you whip out the rolling pin!

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