Ideas for veg-heavy depression meals?
By - sassycurator
Honestly, I've been living on veg omlettes lately - 2 eggs, red pepper, red onion, spinich, maybe some avocado. Precut the onion and pepper and have them in a jar/tupperware and it'll take you about 5 mins to whip it up.
I do the same! But I leave the pre-cut onion and bell peppers in the freezer and just grab a handful for my scramble each morning. That way if I go off track I won’t feel bad about letting it go to waste
Bell peppers are SO high in C. I love those.
You can turn the mini ones in to nachos.
Sounds odd, but it's delish!
And you can cook an omelet in the microwave in about 2 min. I can’t ever get up in a timely manner in the mornings, so I never have time to actually cook an omelette before work. In good times I use real eggs and my dishes. But often times it’s the Jimmy Dean egg in a cup things (bought some kale to toss in too!) and then I only have to wash the utensil. I haven’t looked in a minute, but I don’t think sodium is terrible on them (I usually check for that). sometimes I beat myself up over how wasteful the cups are when I should be doing better for the environment, but then I tell myself it’s the lesser of two evils. Yes it’s wasteful, but it’s healthier than a gas station muffin and energy drink (which is my depressed and/or adhd trash panda go to)
don’t ever make yourself feel guilty about waste when big companies make up the majority of it- Jimmy Dean has enough money they can make their cups decomposable. We live in a society where conveniences like these are necessary some days, and it sounds like you found a way to get nutrients and save some time when you need to!
editing just to say obviously less waste is better but like you are not the problem for eating your JD eggy cup
Maybe I’m crazy but my favorite omelette addition is sherry. Adding just a spoonful to an omelette (or almost ANYTHING else, lol) really amps up the bougie-ness. If you aren’t a tea-totaler, try a splash of sherry in some of your savory dishes.
My husband puts wine in a lot of dishes. The alcohol cooks out and you're left with the flavor.
That’s actually a bit of a myth. Food has to cook for about three hours for the alcohol to completely dissipate, and after a 15-minute simmer about 40% still remains. For people who, for medical, religious or other reasons don’t drink alcohol, that’s an important factor. [Alcohol in cooking](https://www.foodnetwork.com/how-to/packages/food-network-essentials/cooking-wine-does-alcohol-burn-off)
If you have a pot, you can make chili. Can use literally any vegetable.
An upvote isn't enough to demonstrate my support for chilli. Good protein, any mince meat plus any good cooking veg you want. Jar of sauce (I usually add a tin of chopped tomatoes too) and add any extra spices you want (for me it's usually an unholy amount of paprika) plus rice and beans. Super filling, the only mildly non healthy thing is the mincemeat and the jar of sauce, everything else is pretty fresh. Keeps well.
If you have some reservations about reheating rice you can just save the chilli and do a microwave pack of rice each time to go with it.
Came here to say this! Chili is great. Chop a few veggies (onion, pepper), toss in a pot with canned tomatoes, beans, spices and simmer for an hour (or longer!). Eat. Easy, tasty, filling, healthy. Throw cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, cornbread, spring onions, chopped jalapeños etc on top if you're feeling fancy. Make it on a day when you can summon the energy, and keep single servings in the freezer to reheat as needed.
I also came here to recommend chili. Except for the meat, it can be all dumped from cans. If browning ground beef sounds like a lot of work while you're struggling, you can get pre cut stew beef at the grocery or throw boneless chicken breast or thighs into the pot whole and shred after they've become tender. Or make it without meat and throw in some extra beans. I like to use 2 packs McCormick chili seasoning, a large can diced tomatoes, a can of Rotel, and 2-3 cans of beans. Add some broth if you're wanting it to be more like soup. All of that can live in the pantry for a long time. Best with bell peppers and/or meat added, but can be adjusted for your ability to obtain or process the fresh ingredients at the moment.
But the pre-washed and cut veggies. Buy rice and various sauces you like. You can make stir-frys, eat hummus and cut veggies, apples and peanut butter. If you can find curry pastes they're easy to turn into vegetable and rice noodle soups.
Or in a pinch, stand in front of the open fridge eating them straight out of the bag while disassociating.
Honestly feels kinda great
No idea why, but I was hooked on beansprouts as a wee guy. Family Chinese takeaway? 6 yo me wanted nothing but beansprouts and water chestnuts.
Anyway, I'd always go to Safeway with my mum or dad for the shop, and every time, I'd slither off to get elbow deep in a bag of beansprouts
This is a bit of a non-sequitor, but I do this regularly with soy milk now lmao. Better than ice cream at least
Stir fry is an awesome one pan meal. I’ll usually get some frozen veggie spring rolls as well that can cook while I’m making the stir fry.
Apples with peanut butter are so good!
That is my favorite snack! A co-worker teased me saying it was also her small son's favorite. Not ashamed I have the palate of a 4 yo. Some things are delicious
To add to this, if you are feeling too lazy and depressed to even make rice, use the microwavable kind! It's ready in 3 minutes and you can throw it into your veggie pan. Easiest stir fry ever
That would be a great cookbook title btw: Veg-Heavy Depression Meals.
One chapter could be called: Add a Bag of Kale.
Seriously, I buy bags of frozen organic kale and add a bag of it to some semi-healthy frozen meal or not-healthy-at-all-frozen meals. Frozen spiral noodles with some veg….add a bag of kale. Frozen chicken and noodles….add a bag of kale.
Soups are good - just watch the sodium. And again, you can add a bag of frozen kale at the end and it tastes pretty good.
Good 🍀 (I’m depressed too so don’t take that the wrong way).
Go with frozen. Nutritionally the same, less likely to spoil, more likely to throw it into something. Especially with depression, something you can nuke and eat is golden
Nutrition might be even better if you go for a producer that freezes the produce within hours after harvesting.
>I do need to work with leafy greens more. I have a bad habit of letting it rot in my fridge.
Frozen spinach is another great option. You can that it in a bowl in the microwave, or just toss the cube into whatever you're making.
Try to buy CHOPPED frozen spinach though. I find it integrates into dishes a lot better than whole-leaf frozen spinach.
I’ve been buying the salad kits for lunch. Super quick, easy. I boil eggs on Sunday and have one of those with some turkey sausage and cut up fruit (buy precut) or berries. It’s really been working for me. Don’t need to overthink and it all tastes good. Down 15 lbs and I wasn’t even thinking about weight loss.
Ugh I do that all the time. We keep buying greens and then making the most expensive compost ever. The veggie drawer: where good intentions go to die. Edit: oh yeah, frozen stuff is a lifesaver.
I’ll see your Portlandia and raise you a Sandy Passage:
The sweatpants made into hair is too reminiscent of my childhood…..and the dysfunctional mother 😬
Omg losing my mind. Watching immediately. And also rewatching Portlandia. :)
:) So good!
You ensnared me at sweat pants for hair. Hader is a cute funny man.
This skit is a play on Grey Gardens which has both a documentary, and a separate Hollywood version. It’s a pretty interesting watch about the destitute and delusional relatives of Jackie Kennedy. The daughter wore various clothes on her head when her hair started falling out from stress. Fascinating stuff from a psychological perspective.
As a Portlandian I can confirm we love kale! The running joke in town is it’s the first thing to sell out when a snow storm is coming. We’re not very good at snow.
You can also freeze the greens you buy fresh! Just dry them well and put them in a ziplock and lay flat in your freezer. Then you can toss into whatever you’re making.
Put a bird on it is my favorite, put some.🙈 kale in it ,,😆😆 sage advice.
If you can get hold of collard greens, they're actually more nutrient-dense than kale. IJS
What do they taste like? My MIL said they make great wraps, but I’ve never had them.
See, I'd rather do fresh than canned or frozen. They are, IMHO, like stronger-tasting spinach. A lot of people love them.
I like spinach. Do they hold up well?
Much better than spinach, yes.
Grew up on them. Love them but they can be hard to find fresh.
Oh, I can’t do collards. I live in the South but I’ma yankee!!!!!
Heh. I'm a Southerner, but I do know what you mean.
Curious, I don’t get it. what does this mean?
Collards are a staple of many Southern states in America - people grow up on them.
I don’t like collards.
Yankees are people who didn’t grow up in the South.
So I was saying I live in the South (now) but don’t like collards (even though they are at every family/Holiday meal/my husbands family reunion). But hey - I’m a yankee (I wasn’t raised on them).
I do the same thing with spinach! It's so good mixed with pasta or Mac n cheese -- just make the pasta/Mac a little extra saucy so the added spinach doesn't dry it all out.
OP, I dunno if this is "healthy" but it's delicious enough that even when I'm depressed I get excited to eat it. The base is boxed mac and spinach (just stir raw spinach into the finished Mac, it'll wilt and get nice and tender from the heat of the noodles) and then riff from there. My favorite add-ins include:
-Kimchi (I get extra excited to do this cuz of ~probiotics~)
-A fried egg
-Loads of green onion
-Canned corn (it's so sweet, it's a great contrast with the cheese)
-Whatever lefts over meat I have in the fridge
Another variation of this is using jarred pizza sauce with whatever noodles you have in the pantry and then making "pizza Mac" by putting shredded mozzarella with whatever toppings you want. My favorite is "combination" with green onion, pepperoni that I chop up, onion, and mushroom. I want to try a Hawaiian one with canned pineapple and spicy pepperoni but haven't done it yet.
I recognize that these both take trips to the store for fresh ingredients and hope that isn't prohibitive for you. It's ok if your variations on the above don't end up mostly veg based or maybe a bit too salty. Eating at all is better than not and it's ok to be proud of less than balanced meals in times like this. When you're depressed, prepping for meals, cooking and eating are big accomplishments so I'd encourage you to celebrate the little victories!
Let me know if you want some more depression meals and I can recommend a few :)
Edited to tried to fix the bullet points. This is hard on mobile lol
I have to bury kale in other flavour if I'm going to eat it uncooked, personally. It's so strong, but so healthy.
That’s the beauty of the “add-a-bag-of-kale” plan!
I love that title. But seriously, eating heaps of veg helps anybody to fight off depression and other shit
Bwaahaahaa @ Add a bag of kale
I grew up on dried kale (‘70/‘80’s) before it was popular and was only an ethnic food (Dutch 😄). My Ma put that on everything like it was parsley. I do the same thing. Only now, I have grow it and dry it myself instead of buying it from the “Dutch store”, since they don’t sell it anymore.
How do you dry your kale?
Wash it and remove the center stem and chop. Use the salad spinner to dry before putting in a cheap round dehydrator from “goodwill”. Takes 8-12 hrs. Once it’s crispy, I keep it in the freezer with the rest of my extra spices and just have jar full by the stove.
I might try that! Thanks.
Same, I eat every meal over a giant bed of kale and spring mix
Different disorder, same solution: https://blackgirllostkeys.com/adhd/100-no-cook-meal-items/
You might have just saved me. I've been eating very infrequently because of executive dysfunction and now I have so much meal inspiration. Thank you :)
I have depression, my boyfriend has ADHD. we just moved in together yesterday. Are you my guardian angel??
Not a full meal but a great snack in place of chips and dip is red bell pepper slices and hummus
>not a full meal
You underestimate the amount of red peppers and hummus I can eat
Thats true, they sre delicious
Lol... love hummus!
Besides dipping veg and crackers in it, we use it as a mayo replacement on toasted sandwiches/ wraps and as a thickener for thin soups.
I've started making a veggie plate and dip for when my mates come over instead of us ordering a pizza, they were resistant at first but after trying some red pepper hummus their resistance faded.
I use carrot sticks, bell pepper slices, celery and apple slices. Possible bulky carb options I use are bread sticks, cheesy crackers (great with hummus) or wedges is you fancy something hot.
Mini cucumbers and radish halves in hummus are delightful.
Hummus also makes for a great salad dressing.
Head a small pot of water, add bouillon to make a broth, add honey/soy sauce/lime juice/Sriracha, put a bundle of noodles in it, add fresh spinach by the handful and or frozen broccoli.microwaved. I keep all these things on hand and have been busting out this noodle soup since college.
Class it.up with
- a splash of whatever milk.you have on hand (I love a coconut or almond milk here)
- a fried egg
- fermented black beans from the Asian market
- crispy shallots
- chili crisp
I also keep vegetarian quorn pieces in the freezer, mic and add if you're REALLY hungry
You can add chickpeas for protein.
Or tofu! The chick'n meatless pieces work very well for this but chickpeas are the cheapest option.
Fermented black beans actually have a surprising amount of protein
I can’t find those.
When you make mac n cheese, throw some fresh or frozen broccoli florets in to cook with the macaroni. Or put them in a steamer basket on top of the pot. Green peas also work well, or a fresh chopped tomato added in after you mix the pasta with the cheese. You can add an extra spoonful of cheeze whiz or velveeta or whatever to stretch the sauce out to cover the broccoli. Now it's healthy!
I actually buy whole wheat macaroni noodles and get mac & cheese powder from the bulk foods store. With the broccoli, now it's REALLY healthy.
Another option for noodles is to get the ones made out of chickpeas or black beans. A super easy protein source and they’re delicious.
The steam-in-bag frozen veggies are great. No prep, easy cooking even in a microwave. It’s not a real meal, but as far as depression meals go it’s better than just snacking on junk food (which is what I end up doing!)
I have like 5 small boxes of seasoned veggies (broccoli, carrots, colorful peppers) that you just have to microwave for like 2 minutes. That and like stouffers stuff is a life saver. Easy sort of healthy meals.
I go for smoothies. With protein powder.
I drink a smoothie every morning. Typically:
Handful of spinach/kale
Cup of Almond milk (or sub any milk-ish thing)
60s to put them all in the blender, 30s to blend and I’ve got a good start on my leafy greens for the day.
Sheet pan meals are super low effort. A protein like pork chop, chicken breast, or sausage. Whatever veggies chopped into bite size. Toss everything in oil and seasoning. Throw it on a sheet pan and bake at like 350 for 30 minutes or whatever is recommended for baking that protein.
My favorite is pork chops, pat them dry and coat in olive oil and a rub that has brown sugar(I make my own with brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, s&p, paprika, and a little chili powder, but you can always just buy a pre-made one), onion, bell pepper, and fresh green beans or potatoes and toss those veggies in the olive oil and same seasoning. BBQ sauce for dipping is good but I like to mix mayo and then a little maple bourbon bbq sauce and a little yum yum sauce which I call ultra fancy sauce.
Get some frozen berries and put them on your cereal. Granola in place of cereal and yogurt or kefir in place of milk works even better. My partner and I call this "unicorn puke" and we eat it all the time.
I also like what I call "boil and butter" veggies. Frozen green peas, green beans, sweet corn, or carrots. "Mixed veggies" work too. Boil in a pot for 1-4 mins depending on the size of the pieces and your preferences, drain, mix in some butter or margarine and sprinkle with salt. Done.
Instead of boiling, I microwave nutrient dense vegetables (beans, brussel sprouts, etc, mixed vegetables if I’m splurging) it takes less effort to me, and I also add butter.
Ratatouille where you rough chop veggies and let them cook in the oven however long you want. Add a protein like chickpeas or sausages and you're done.
Dice cucumber, dice bell pepper (red, yellow, green, doesn't matter), cherry tomatoes (or regular tomatoes if you don't mind cutting them up).
Mix everything together in a bowl. Drizzle basalmic vinegar. Done.
This lasts for about a week in the fridge. If anything it gets better with a little age because the veggies marinate in the vinegar. So for about 15 mins of prep you can get a meal a day for the next week if you make enough.
For bonus you can add basil leaves and mozzarella balls!
Right now root vegetables are cheap, get a bag of potatoes, Onions, carrots, beets, get some garlic, make yourself some soups. I bought an immersion blender, they're cheap, soup forever. Stick it in a big Tupperware in the fridge and eat it for days without cooking.
Greek style quinoa salad:
Cook some quinoa, let it cool.
Cut up some cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and really any other veggies you want cut to the same size.
Throw in some canned chickpeas and feta cheese.
Mix in some Greek salad dressing from the store when you’re ready to eat.
This is one of my go to meals.
Also if quinoa isn't your thing it can be replaced in almost any meal with buckwheat.
I keep a list of no cook food for when storms cut off electricity. This is what I have that I enjoy eating:
Salad mix kits with dressing,
Vegetables for crudités,
Canned beans and canned refried beans,
Canned tuna, salmon, chicken (spam),
Fully cooked hot dogs, fully cooked sausage, fully cooked ham,
Nuts and dried fruit,
Herb, spices and some condiments,
Oil and vinegar, sesame oil,
Individual containers guacamole.
Grab some kale, rinse, chop as fine as you can in one pass. Chop half an onion, a tomato, and whatever else you want in there. Drown in caeser dressing.
Turn on your oven
Tear off some parchment paper and place on a baking tray.
Grab some carrots and run them under a tap.
Chop off the ends, and cut them into rough sticks - with small carrots you can cut them in half. This sounds labour intensive but is truly not time consuming or difficult.
Place on paper covered tray.
Season - I sprinkle on a Cajun spice mix.
Roast until the carrots are caramelised.
This also works well with parsnips, they take longer to cook but are usually cheaper (where I live anyway).
I do this with smoked paprika then top with feta and parsley for a super tasty and quick salad that keeps for several days.
I do this with garam masala. It's so amazing!
add a half tsp of white or brown sugar to bring out the natural sweetness of the carrots too. its amazing how much of a difference it makes.
Japanese curry. You buy the curry mix in the international section. Then boil onions, potato? carrots, corn, peas, green beans. Whatever you want. Then add the mix it'll thicken the you eat over rice.
Meal prep so you have healthy options in hand and use all of the groceries you buy.
- [make a huge batch of roasted veggies ](https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.thekitchn.com/how-to-roast-any-vegetable-101221%3Famp%3D1) any grocery store has cabbage carrots and onions, the leftover roasted veg are great cold or reheated
- [make a batch of bean veg chili](https://cookieandkate.com/vegetarian-chili-recipe/#tasty-recipes-23997-jump-target) just get a packet of chili seasoning instead of the dry spices, extras freeze well too
- buy apples to snack on they’re cheap and last a long time
I make a low carb Mexican casserole and because it really just contained chicken, cheese, heavy whipping cream, bell peppers and onions, it’s nice to add other veggies too! Super easy and it becomes meals for like a week!
I find him kind of insufferable, but Adam Ragusea has some solid recipes. This soup is also kind of not a recipe, but it's a good low effort struggle meal that happens to be healthy as fuck.
Do you have an instant pot? Stir some carrots celery and onion around in some oil for 10 minutes with some salt and pepper (mirepoix). Drop in a chicken breast, a can of diced tomatoes, and a cup of dry lentils (which keep forrrever). Add a couple cups of chicken broth, or the same amount of water and some bouillon. Pressure cook for 8 minutes, natural release for 12, and you have a nice hearty kinda stew soup thing which makes you feel better. Substitute more veggies when you get the hang of the liquid to stuff ratio. It will feel good, and it is soooo simple.
Edit: I too am lazy and depressed
Edit 2: three carrots, three stalks of celery, half a big onion or one small one. Chop it all up into little bite size chunks.
Sheet pan dinners are a life-saver. I just chop up a bunch of my favorite root vegetables (you can use pre-cut veggies to make it even easier!) Toss a bit of seasoning and olive oil, then bake it for 40 minutes. Good filling meal with lots of veggies and minimal cleanup!
I've always been taught throughout my nutrition major to suggest adding things rather than taking things away from a diet. If you're having a hard time cooking something, try just adding veggies to whatever you were going to eat. For example, I'll cook up a box of Annie's Mac and Cheese and throw in some frozen veggies. Or if you are having ramen, adding veggies to that is a life saver. That being said, in terms of actual meals, boil up some pasta, throw some low sodium jarred sauce on there, add a veggie, and you're good to go!
Fried rice is usually fairly easy to make, you can basically put whatever you want in it.
Usually what I put is green onion/cilantro (not required)
Eggs (2 for one serving for me)
Rice (about a quarter or half cup I THINK, but if it's not the right measurement that's fine, put it in a container and stick it in the fridge. Overnight rice actually tastes better in fried rice)
Maybe some diced up luncheon meat (this has to be precooked, not necessary for the rice though)
So what you wanna do is first get some oil and pour it into a pan. Wait for the pan to heat up a bit, while you do that grab like 2 eggs, crack them into a bowl and beat them with a fork or spoon until they're yellow. When the pans finished heating up, pour the beaten egg in and make sure to keep scrambling (or stabbing) them so they don't stick together. Don't fully cook the eggs, when they're mostly solid-ish add in your rice and stir that around for a bit. Make sure, if you're using a spatula to stir fry, use the flat side and press on the rice, don't stab your rice. Add in your soy sauce (very carefully, it's pretty salty) and keep tasting the rice as you add the sauce to taste. Add in your precooked luncheon meat (if you want to add it, otherwise skip this) and keep stir frying. Mix in your green onion/cilantro (again, you don't have to add it to make this taste good.) Then you're pretty much done! Any left over rice can be put into a container and refrigerated for the next day or meal, it'll taste perfectly fine as long as you don't leave it for too long.
I promise this is really easy to make even though the instructions look really daunting, lol
Just wanted to say Thank you for taking the time to write this detailed explanation. I cook myself but I hate that people just assumed everyone knows everything and make the kitchen even more intimidating. Cheers!
Fish sauce, oyster sauce, MSG are all great additions to fried rice too!
Get frozen veggies, spinach and kale are very practical, just throw them into whatever you are cooking. There are also bags of microwave steamable veggies, I like to cook a small batch of quinoa and mix it with the bag of veggies.
Hummus with any veg you like. Buy pre chopped or prep all veg at once.
Add a good hand full of spinach to spaghetti. If it’s warm it should wilt enough. Or tomatoes to macaroni to brighten up the junk when you have a craving
Sounds weird but peanut butter pickle sandwiches.
Make a big batch of vegetarian chili and freeze.
Add some beans to salsa. Grab some chips and it’s a meal
Vietnamese spring rolls
I have learned to keep a bag of baby carrots and some hummus in the fridge, crunches better than chips and the hummus is nice and salty. It’s small changes that are doable, not big impossible ones 👍🙂
The MealLime app has been great for me. Simple recipes and ingredients, and you can choose specific diets to follow, and remove ingredients you don't like.
And here I was thinking you were interested in depression era recipes. Hugs
Roasted garlic veggies with goat cheese on pita bread.
Roast up any vegetables you have in the oven with some garlic and a little bit of olive oil. This can be literally anything, though I think peppers, mushrooms, onions and eggplant are my personal favorites. If ingredients tend to go bad before you can use them, try root veggies like carrots, parsnips, turnips, sweet potatoes, squash, and onions. In case of extra depression, use dethawed frozen veggies and just pop them under the broiler with garlic and oil to get a bit of browning.
You can also use pre-chopped fresh vegetables if your grocery store has them and you don't want to do prep work.
Heat up a piece of pita bread in the microwave or make some toast, crumble or spread goat cheese on it, and top with roasted vegetables. That's it!
I usually roast up two trays at once and then eat it for multiple days to minimize cooking.
Do you have access to frozen veg and berries? Use them! Just don’t boil the veggies to death (they are pre-blanched so they need only a quick boil in tiny amount of lightly salted water - or steaming/nuking in microwave)
You can make a baked potato by pricking it with a fork, wrapping it in paper towel and microwaving it. Not to sound patronising, but look at toddler meal ideas. They are often designed to be made by tired parents who want minimal cleaning and healthy food options.
That’s a great suggestion, thanks!
My go to when I'm ina depressive slump is a rice cooker meal. I buy pre cut veggies and some beans or tofu or rotisserie chicken and throw it in a rice cooker with 1 cup rice and 1.5 c water. Add cube bullion and soy sauce if you're feeling ambitious. It is hands off, take a minute to prepare and has a good amount of nutrition.
I've never tried raw protein, though I'm sure it would be fine if chopped small enough? I mostly do tofu because I like the texture and it takes on the flavor of the bullion and veggies. but yeah I definitely throw in whatever mix ins I feel like and it will last me a few meals . I hope you feel better soon ❤️ depression is awful.
I do stir fry a lot with whatever I have in the house. And change up the sauce depending on what I’m in the mood for.
Brown rice, and 💯 agree on the stir fry and salad options. You don't even need meat; make plain fried rice with whatever veggies and throw in a lot of beaten eggs for protein. Frozen bags of berries are good for sweet-tooth attacks.
Shredded cabbage bacon and kielbasa. So like I legit shredded an entire cabbage and had bacon bits and kielbasa. It’s an easy volume meal
Dang it you made me nostalgic, I haven't had Kielbasa since I was a kid.
Cauliflower rice (microwavable freezer bag) + canned alfredo sauce. Add any other protein or vegetable you want. I like to throw in chicken strips (buy premade if you aren't up to cooking) or bacon, grape tomatoes, mushrooms, jalepeños.
Other people have probably already recommended this, but in terms of easy/depression-friendly that you can get in a food desert, I like having one part frozen chopped green beans and one part frozen mixed veggies (the kind with corn, peas, green beans, carrot, and lima beans). It's a good way to get your fiber, vitamins, and complex carbs in and easy prep/cleanup because you're only using the microwave and one bowl. I add some deli meat or frozen protein (turkey sausage patties usually) for a more rounded meal.
Canned beans, frozen spinach, corn, etc, can of tomatoes, chili powder. Good with rice!
If you want somethin real simple just get canned beans and make some dang ole home made bean and cheese tacos with your favourite hot sauce on top. (If you are really depressed go get your favourite queso to dip it in 😈) if you like avocado you could add that as well.
Another one I really like to do is go to the Asian market and get curry cubes. Idk if you live near one, but if you do you can get these cubes that basically make the curry for you, you just need to add water. I usually add potato, celery, and carrots to mine and put it on top of rice. Refrigerates Well (without the rice)
Edit: if adding avacado to taco then I suggest using black beans, otherwise pinto is the way to go
Savory oatmeal with a ton of steamed vegetables. Cook rolled oats with chicken broth, garlic powder, and onion powder and stir in steamed broccoli or whatever other vegetables you like. You can cook everything in the microwave. You can also add cottage cheese, an egg, or leftover chicken for protein
This is a good idea, I hate oatmeal because I'm not into sweets and I don't like the consistency. Perhaps adapting oats it into a savory type of meal could help change that.
Try cauliflower, broccoli cheese
Boil until just cooked, make a roux by mixing milk, flour and butter, beat until you get rid of lumps, then pour over your broccoli and cauliflower and bake until golden
I love edamame. In-shell edamame can be heated up for a good, salty snack. Shelled edamame can be heated up and then added to nearly anything— I love adding it to any pasta & sauce.
Pasta with roasted vegetables and sauce. Pre-made pasta that you just boil, pre-made sauce of your choice that you just heat up, and all you really have to do is cut up some vegetables and cook them in a pan with oil while you’re waiting for your pasta to cook. I usually get a jar of marinara and for my vegetables I cook sliced bell pepper, jalapeños, and mushroom with some oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Super easy and filling
Perhaps start off by making small changes so you can stick to it.
Add frozen cauliflower rice to your Mac n cheese.
Buy pre-chopped salads as a side.
Buy frozen pre-cut veg to roast as a side to a steak.
Shakshuka! There are endless variations out there, but the base is really simple and I think you could easily find the ingredients. Make (or buy) some thick spiced tomato sauce, add whatever vegetables you can find. Crack some eggs in the sauce, put on the lid and simmer until the eggs are just set. Serve with bread.
Baked any vegetable with a lot of butter.
A big salad with lots of stuff in it. It’s also easy to eat when it’s hot outside.
Pop open a bag of mixed salad, put it in a salad bowl, and pour a little vinaigrette on top. Stir. Eat.
It's the easiest there is, cheap, vegetables heavy, and low calorie (so long as you don't splurge on the sauce).
It's certainly not a complete meal, but starting with that means it will only take a much smaller portion of whatever you eat next to make you feel satiated.
Y'all put here with all that energy to cook, lol. My depression meal was usually a protein bar.
Cut an apple into slices - dip in peanut butter.
Carrots/snap peas - dipped in ranch.
Grapes are also great for snacking.
Salad kits are a great idea, nothing easier than dumping a bag into a bowl and adding dressing.
Could also get a bag of frozen veggies and add it to some cooked rice.
I eat a lot of rice when I get depressed.
Chana 👏 Masala 👏 w/ Saag 👏 Paneer
So quick, so healthy, so delicious.
You'll try to cry but be busy going, "🤤."
Seconding the stir fries. You can use any vegetables you can find and add in some meat if you like. Some soy sauce and rice vinegar will kick it off.
My convenient meal in grad school was a can of lentil soup with so frozen broccoli and pop it in the microwave until warmed through.
This has veggies in it and makes a large amount so some of it can be frozen for later. I’m not sure if it would be considered easy, but once I put the work in and freeze half of it it makes my life a bit easier in the future.
A go-to for me is one of those bags of salad that comes with dressing and croutons. Maybe not the most nutrient dense when all you’re getting is lettuce, but it can be filling with the dressing, and less unhealthy than a box of Annie’s (another go-to of mine).
I’ve also been known to eat a container of pre-cut fruit — watermelon and pineapple are my favs (just watch the acid on the pineapple).
Best of luck to you - I’ve been there many times myself.
Cabbage, carrots garlic and onions. Sautee them, roast them, put them in a soup. Use Chinese seasonings one day or taco seasonings another. Curry them or put them in pasta sauce. Make a slaw with them. Then eat any of these options with rice or potatoes or in a wrap
Mangos and kiwi with spinage.
My hard days meals is a bag of mixed steam in bag veggies with tortellini or frozen chicken and a splash of pasta sauce (marinara, Alfredo, or vodka). It’s five minutes in the microwave/boiled water, filling and less guilty than some depression meals.
When I’m feeling good, I’ll make veggie pot pie or lentil Shepard’s pie and freeze them in individual portions I can just pop in the microwave. So much better than the store bought frozen meals, cheaper, and good for those hard days to just pop in the microwave or toaster oven.
Lately I'm living somewhere where the kitchen is kinda gross so to avoid having to chop up/prepare food I'll just throw in frozen peas, frozen shrimp, scallions (that i just rip up with my hands), grape tomatoes (so I don't need to chop it) in with the rice + water in a rice cooker. I put in salt and garlic powder and other seasonings to taste, and sometimes fry up an egg on the side. Rice cookers are pretty cheap, especially the ones with only one button -- and you have a meal in basically 20 minutes!
You could also throw in beans and other ingredients in as long as it'll be cooked in the time it takes the rice to be done! Low mess cause you can just eat from the pot if you're lazy like me 😅 plus it's usually a pretty well-rounded meal.
edit: almost forgot -- I'll throw in cheese at the top (pre sliced or shredded) once it's done cooking as a treat for myself
Shakshouka has veggies and eggs- anything using tomato sauce can include more veggies IMHO. I’ve even gotten the high quality purée pouches for babies and added them into sauces.
buy some nice curry powder on the internet. Onion garlic ginger, tin of tomato, tin of pulses and some veggies, tinned or fresh. Be generous with the curry powder. Easy, cheap, delicious, healthy. Can cook in bulk and keep for a week if you want.
I’ll stir fry a bag of preshredded cole slaw mix. Fast, easy, no chopping or measuring involved.
Bagged salads with tuna. Frozen spinach - basically add to anything, pasta, potatoes, etc. Crockpot dump soups or stews- add broth, frozen veggies, you can even buy frozen chopped onion... anything tastes good in crockpot. Frozen lean cuisines.
I've noticed that kombucha gives me a pretty strong (compared to most food anyway) sense of wellbeing. Kale, broccoli, spinach, and anything with good fats (nuts, avacado, guacamole are my staples) also make me feel more positive. Any kind of fried food or refined food product high in fat (mainly saturated fat) tends to make me feel more depressed and sluggish. Canned tuna mixed with guacamole instead of mayo in a whole wheat wrap/tortilla with alot of kale and spring mix greens and half a serving of raw mixed nuts is what I usually go for if I really don't feel up to cooking.
Dude, curry. Easy to use up any extra veg and will last a few days. Super cheap and worth it
Cucumber chips. Slice cucumber up in coins, put face up on a plate and put lemon juice and salt on them. If you want a bit more, use same on toast with butter.
When I was depressed I ate lots of instant mashed potatoes just boil water and add butter or oil, salt and whatever else. Takes 5 minutes, fills you for hours.
Frozen fruits and vegetables are low-effort, nutritious, and keep forever.
One of my favorite depression meals is just shredded wheat cereal with plant milk and frozen berries. It's easy, soothing, filling, and delivers a ton of fiber and vitamin C. Yogurt with frozen fruit, some chia or hemp seeds, and a little cinnamon sprinkled on top is another easy, nutritious comfort food meal, and I don't feel bad about making a second bowl if I want.
You can also use frozen veggies to fill out a conventional "guilty pleasure" meal. Like, sometimes I'm depressed and I just want mac and cheese. Throwing some frozen kale or spinach in there right at the end adds a lot nutrients and fiber and iron. You can kind of play around with your favorites and see what works for you, but frozen fruits and veggies make it easy for me to still get some nutrition in when putting on pants feels like a lot.
Toss various root vegetables in olive oil and red pepper flakes, stick in oven for 15 minutes
Dip raw veggies in hummus
Deli sandwich? Put some slices of pepper on it or use hummus as a spread
Mac and cheese? Add peas to it
Pasta with butter? Toss some hearty greens like kale in there
Scrambled eggs? Throw whatever you bought with good intentions but is starting to wilt in there
Dip something crunchy like romaine in salad dressing like it’s chips and salsa
When you’re feeling good chop up peppers, onions, ginger, etc and keep them in your freezer for when things are tough, they won’t spoil and make you feel bad and they’ll be there when you need them.
400 gr Spinach
One lemon for juice
Half or one avocado
One Red onion
250 gr Cherry tomatoes
One (veg) chicken schnitzel or just a chicken breasts (airfryer)
One or two nectarines (I make them warm in a pan)
It’s between 500-600 kcal, I don’t know if I am allowed to say that in this sub. (Please correct me if not, I will remove it)
This is my healthy dinner salad which I eat once a week. It is really voluminous and I love all the different tastes.
Sometimes I add some nuts for an extra crunch. You can change ingredients, I always use spinach as a base (don’t like kale). Sometimes I use feta cheese instead of the (veg) chicken schnitzel. You can also add paprika.
It really keeps me full because it has protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats and it only takes me 20 min (cutting the veg takes the most time)
Ok, this takes some spoons up front, but make a big tray of roasted veggies. Potatoes, yams, onion, carrot, beets .. whatever you like, toss in a couple tbsp of olive oil and some salt, roast at 350 for ~40min or so. I make 2 9x13" Pan's 9f this when I'm low, heat up a bowl with some cheese (goat cheese is great for this), and eat away. Then if I'm having my mac n cheese, I have some of this, too. A protein? Side of this. Just sad? Bowl of veg. It keeps for a decent while, too
Veggie fajitas. Very simple to make, easy to find ingredients, pretty healthy, extremely satisfying.
Also as a bonus answer, smoothies with peanut butter in them are extremely satisfying and healthy as long as you don't add anything high in sugar like orange juice.
I've been getting more depressed myself. Here is what I've been doing that are easy and really low effort.
Roasted misc veggies with salt and pepper and occasionally other spices BBQ sauce or soy sauce. Eat with rice, tortilla, beans, on their own etc
Overnight oats and smoothies. Smoothies I just use whatever I can get in the frozen fruits section or some fresh fruit. Overnight oats are milk + oats + flavoring and toppings.
Bean dips or something similar.
Soups are great too especially now that we're starting to transition to the cold season.
My favorite thing to do in place of meal prep is just-quick and easy- have an onion, bell peppers, whatever, all chopped up and in fridge. get a Pyrex bowl. Put in what veggies you want. Grab a handful of spinach leafs and ball them up, then start ripping them apart bit by bit (like tearing bits off a bread loaf). Add salsa of choice. Microwave as desired (microwave before putting spinach in though!).
It takes less than 5 minutes and no dishes other than the Pyrex and fork/spoon. And tastes good!
Also have precooked lentils and/or edamame to throw in there. Frozen edamame may be a bit of a challenge to find though depending on location. For lentils I shoot for eating quarter cup at a time. They’re absurdly cheap.
Basically precook or cut stuff and throw a mix of it into a Pyrex with salsa when you get hungry 😅
Cutting veggies takes no more than 10-20 minutes and lasts a while. you’re just washing and throwing into a container in the fridge.
OH and for meat? Butterball makes pre-seasoned frozen turkey burgers that have 31 grams of protein per patty, manageable amount of fat, etc. they’re like $1.20 per patty after tax (Illinois) in a box of 6. But something like that just prep one day and keep in fridge, then cut up the amount you want and throw it in the Pyrex with the rest. This also works for ground and seasoned turkey. Taco seasoning+cumin+curry powder. Laaaaawd 🤤
I’ve been getting a solid 35-45g of protein per meal (150-170 per day) bodybuilding with this way of meal prep and it’s sooo freaking helpful and easy as I’m also in school full time + work
I love soup! Honestly, additionally to vegetables you can put in so much good and healthy stuff like buckwheat, millet, amaranth, linseed, lentils and so on. Plus, you get extra water, if you drink less during the day. Sometimes, if I feel extra needy I'lI put in a whisked egg.
I would say a minestrone. A soup with 1 can of tomato sauce, some beef broth (i use bovril but powder one would work to.) Some vegetable (carrot, turnip, onion, potato, celery (just put any vegetable that is in the fridge and you won't use)) I add cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt. Bring to a boil add some soup pasta (Spaghetti broken in small piece work to.) and lower the heat to medium low and let it simmer for like 1 hour and after let it rest for like 15 minute to let the soup thicken.
Take an afternoon or evening and prep meals for the week. Cuts down on impulse eating.
By order of complexity:
\- Raw veggies: I tend to snack a lot on cucumber, tomatoes, carrots. I wash them well and either peel them or even just eat with the skin. Same goes with raw fruits. Bananas, apples, etc. Just snack on them on top of your usual quick meals.
\- Frozen vegs, and more particularly chopped spinach. I just add a few cube to everything I cook. Frozen fruits work also very well, for instance, adding blueberries straight from the bag to yogurt.
\- Pantry essentials: precooked carbs, canned beans, canned meats, some canned or pickled veggies. My usual quick/depression meal is a big salad, where I mix together a pouch of rice or a can of beans, a can of tuna, and some pickled/canned vegetables (artichokes, corn, palm tree, bamboo, mushrooms, olives). either warm up in microwave or add oil/vinegar/salt/pepper and eat cold.
\- Couscous: couscous cooks in a matter of seconds. Add couscous, add boiling water, done. On top of that, I just pan fry some ground meat (turkey, beef, lamb) or some eggs, and throw a few of the frozen veggies mentioned above. A full meal in 10 minutes with 0 actual preparation.
\- Spices: knowing your spices can really improve your quality of life by enabling you to cook simpler meals. I tend to cook a lot the couscous/frozen vegs/ground meat meal mentioned above when I am busy/sad. Varying the spices helps make it taste different everyday, and makes it more interesting. For instance, one day I may add chili flakes, cumin and turmeric, another one add a dash of garlic paste and chili oil, or use a barbecue rub...
I do veg pasta sauce for my little girls packed lunch box.
Onion, garlic (you can use powdered) tinned chopped tomatoes, peas, sweet corn, Italian blend herbs or oregano. Salt or stick cube.
Fry the onion until soft
Add garlic and fry for a minute.
Add the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes.
Dissolve the stock cube in water and add to pan.
Add the peas, herbs, sweet corn and reduce the sauce. (Quicker if you cook in a frying pan)
Once it looks like pasta sauce, transfer to jars and it should keep for 3 days in a fridge. Or freeze in single serve portions.
You can use it as a pasta sauce or as a base, so you can add cooked ham/chicken/beans/tofu. Plus you don’t have to have it with pasta, if you mix it up with beans and a bit of chilli powder you have a chilli, which you can serve with rice.
Veggi chili. One batch can last half a dozen meals, so if you have any energy that will give you meals for a week.
2 cups TVP soaked in 2 cups water and 2 oz chili powder
2 cans beans (drained)
1 can diced potatoes or corn (drained)
1 can tomatoes
sprinkling of cumin and any other spices you like
Let TVP soak in the chiliopowder and water for 30-60 minutes while checking reddit.
Put all ingredients into a big pot. I like the chicken stew pots that are like a cross between a frying pan, a stew pot, and a wox.
Cook over medium heat, stirring enough to keep it from burning.
Chili is done when the TVP is dark brown instead of tan and all the liquid is cooked away. If you want to add more spices, mix with a bit of water and add while cooking.
Serve over a starch like a baked potato, rice, or spagetti.
You can add diced onions, chopped peppers, mushrooms exc if you have the energy to process them. If not this is fine. I also add habanero powder, but it's not easy to find and is sometimes referred to as hell powder.
I just eat veggies. I have bags of bonduelle freezer veggies and when i cant be bothered to cook i throw one in a wok and bake em. Some cottage cheese on the side that i add varying herbs or spices too.
Done in 5 and the healtiest option when all i want is convenience.
Curries are real easy ways to get tasty veggies in your system. Go out and buy a shaker of curry powder along with an onion, pepper, green peas, and whatever protein you want to add. Get a cheap pack of stock cubes as well.
Sauté everything in salt, pepper, and oil over medium heat for around 10 minutes or until cooked but not mush. Hit it with a tablespoon of curry powder along with a stock cube and a cup of water. Stir until dissolved, bring to a simmer and let it go for a few minutes til it’s thickened to your liking.
Quick one pot curry plain and Americanized. Goes great by itself or with rice.
Heres a hummus recipe thats very versatile to make
Ingredients (very loose measurements)
For tahini base
• 1 jar white sesame seeds (hulled)
• olive oil
For the hummus
• tahini base (about 1/4 cup, or the whole batch its good either way)
• 1 can chickpeas (drained)
• cumin (measure that with your heart)
• salt (see above)
• lemon juice (see above)
• garlic (as much as you want)
Also you can add in many things like
• roasted garlic
• roasted red peppers
• black beans (drained and id recommend cooking but 🤷♂️)
• spinach (raw, not much flavor but makes it a cool green and has many nutrients)
1. Roast the seeds in an ungreased pain for like 20 seconds and medium heat, shaking them for even cooking
2. Put them in a blender/processor and slowly add in olive oil
3. Once it reaches a creamy consistency, add about a teaspoon or two of salt
And now you have made tahini, this sauce can be made into other sauces like babaganoush, vinagrettes, or just used plain as a sauce
1. Toss your drained chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, and cumin into the tahini, blend them until its grainy
2. once again slowly add olive oil until creamy
3. add your add ins and blend until creamy again
If you want it even smoother add a tablespoon of cold water
And tada youve made hummus and only have to clean your blender (the sesame seeds leave nothing in the pan)
As food hummus to mouth transportation, I recommend
• pita bread
• sliced red or yellow bell pepper
• thick white onion slices (you gotta rlly like onion)
I know depression can be hard, I’ve been there and I wish you the best in getting through it :) this recipe is super easy to make and some steps like cooking the canned beans can be omitted, and the ingredients dont require a ton of prep.
Olive oil is a healthy fat because it id unsaturated (meaning the tiny molecule chains are more flexible, which is good because they are used to create cell membranes, which are flexible. Your cells need lipids/oils)
All of the vegetables listed have different Vitamins and nutrients there are vital to your health
Some other recipes that are easy (if anyone wants ill type em up, theyre basic but can easily be made into a meal
Mixed vegetable stirfry
Roasted greek veggies (what my mom calls it)
Veggie fried rice
I will sometimes roast pumpkin with olive oil, cracked pepper, sea salt and rosemary and then eat a whole bowl of it. It's delicious and almost no effort.
In place of mac and cheese, boiling/steaming a couple of cups of cauliflower and then immediately on draining it, toss is with a slug of olive oil and generous sprinkle parmesan or other cheese of your choice so it melts over the piping hot cauliflower. That is also really good.
My fallback is to steam a head of broccoli (pulled apart) until it’s soft as butter, put melted butter on it and enjoy. It used to be at least once a week that id make it.
Lately I've been using this [roasted cauliflower salad](https://www.budgetbytes.com/roasted-cauliflower-salad-lemon-tahini-dressing/) recipe, it's so tasty and it's easy to make. I just throw the cauliflower and onion mix in with the chickpeas and a lot of baby spinach.
Deep fried cauliflower
My go-to healthy-ish, minimal effort depression meals:
Microwave a cup of frozen mixed veggies for 2 mins and add it to instant ramen.
A big bag of mixed salad with some kind of marinated protein (chicken thighs with a little soy sauce, chilli and garlic). Whack the thighs in the oven for 30-40 mins.
Frozen veggie burgers and salad.
Veggie soup. Whatever veggies you're willing to chop up, add 6 cups veggie stock, season, bring to the boil and cook until veggies are tender, then blitz until smooth. Or, you can keep it chunky and even throw in some dried pasta.
Sautéed savoy cabbage with garlic and red chilli. Can add a red pepper if you want. Mix it with pasta, new potatoes or noodles. Goes with any protein.
The good thing about savoy cabbage is it lasts quite a while in the fridge. So if you're having to travel and not go too often to do your big shop you can buy one and keep it in the fridge as you go through your other fresh stuff.
Smoothies. Smoothies plus spinach and/or kale and whatever else you want in it. Plus maybe a scoop of protein powder. Takes maybe 5 minutes to make, just take stuff from fridge/freezer, blend. Drink. I frickin love smoothies.
Carb food base : invest in Couscous. It's cheap and prep is just pouring hot water on it like in a desert trip , and 1 min after your base either for hot curry or cold salad is ready.
Easy and fast is salty crepes . 3 min prep in a mixer and another 4 on the pan and toss cheese,and fresh tomatoes and chickpeas/ bean sprouts, let it all stick together with more cheese, toss on salad and sauce, roll and eat.
Protein : Cook high protein foods in bulk , and freeze. Like chickpeas , peas, red beans should be on your prep meal agenda once or twice a month. You can freeze cheese cubes too that you buy in bulk .
Fresh veggie in a desert of food? : Sprouts
In less than 24 some 48 hours soaking dry beans or lentils , making them sprout will provide some rest fibers and vitamins . These can also be nice in sandwiches, burritos and tossed in soups or fried rice .
Seasoning is the key to love making and eating good food so invest in pepper, paprika, onion flakes, garlic flakes , and buy a lot of fresh parsley or green onions etc and cut em up, freeze. Can also heat olive oil and pour over Seasoning mix of choice and keep in a sterilised jar in fridge. Use freely over fresh tomatoes, baked potatoes, pasta etc.
Italian lentil stew is my favourite, use any vegetables you can get, even frozen
I cook up a bucket and freeze it
This is good to https://www.taste.com.au/recipes/classic-italian-bean-salad/b5457793-a57a-48b4-b759-c2f03ea4b7d7
Chicken breasts + frozen veggies.
Season, cook, and freeze a pile of chicken chicken breasts a few ways - [this recipe is great for tasty meat with 100% dry ingredients.](https://www.galonamission.com/baked-cajun-chicken-breasts/) Then if you're hungry pull and thaw the chicken and heat up the veggies. Sub in fresh veggies if you can.
If frozen veggies are too boring you can quickly and easily spice them up with premade pesto, salsa, soy sauce, etc...
Noodles and frozen veggies in the same pot, then butter or sauce
cereal and fruit :/
Broccoli & hummus can be a whole meal.
Baked sweet potatoes take a while to cook, but require zero effort. You can top these things with mounds of veggies & cheese
Bag of microwave veggies tossed in the Mac and cheese (or pasta and jar sauce)? Microwaveable black bean burgers? Bags of premade salads? Those are my go-tos
Prep some veggie soup, like cabbage soup. a can of crushed tomato, a can of stock (or water and and stock cube), any veg at the bottom of your fridge, add some spices, make enough to last you a week. Wouldn't recommend eating nothing but that soup, but as one of your three meals a day it delivers loads of veggies and few calories. It'll help balance out any less healthy meals and heating a portion up requires a minimum of effort. In a pinch you can also eat it cold. Prepping the soup to begin with really isn't much work either, just a bit of chopping.
Having some eggs or some lean meat or fish on the side, maybe some decent bread too, would be good.
A super easy is veg medley stir fry! Use whatever veg you want, add some oil, soy sauce, a pinch of sugar, and maybe some chili powder if you want that extra kick. I like to use veg with different colors to keep it interesting: onions, leafy greens, colorful peppers, and some sweet corn combo is great!
Frozen veggies, lay them on a nonstick pan for 20-30 mins at 350-400 and whatever spices float your boat (I use salt, onion powder, garlic powder)
I sounds like a lot of work but it really isn't
Broth to a boil (your choice in broth, meat or veg based), dump in some frozen mixed vegetables and some pasta or instant rice for a nice soup
Nice healthy, hearty dhal/daal. Find any easy recipe for a lentil dhal, add whatever veg you want - an entire bag of spinach will disappear into the pan!