Student life can be hectic. If you’re not running from lecture to seminar, you may be socialising or even heading to your first part-time job. This could mean eating the right food or getting enough sleep ends up down at the bottom of your priority list. Something many of us are guilty of doing from time to time.
Studies show that those who sleep less are more likely to consume energy-rich foods (such as fats or refined carbohydrates), consume fewer portions of vegetables and have more irregular meal patterns.
However fruit and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and fibre, and eating a balanced diet will ensure you consume all the essential nutrients you need to help you feel at your best.
Here are some of our favourite veggie-rich recipes that are super-speedy for when you don’t have the time over the summer months:
1. Greek-style Stuffed Red Peppers
These Greek-inspired stuffed peppers are not only quick to make, but delicious and light for a warm summer night, courtesy of Katriona MacGregor at The Telegraph.
- Low calorie cooking spray (olive oil)
- 2 large red peppers, halved and de-seeded
- 100g couscous
- 130ml boiling water
- 2 large salad tomatoes, diced
- ½ red onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 12 black olives, quartered
- 1tsp each of chopped mint and parsley
- Juice of half a lemon
- 80g feta
- Preheat the oven to 200C / Gas Mark 6
- Place the peppers on a baking tray, spray with 2/3 pumps of cooking spray and bake for 20 minutes.
- Whilst the peppers are in the oven, pour the couscous into a large bowl, adding seasoning and pour over 130ml of boiling water. Stir well and cover with tinfoil or a plate for 10 minutes.
- Once cooked, fluff the couscous with a fork. Then add all the chopped vegetables including the tomatoes, onion, garlic, olives and herbs. Add in crumbled feta and lemon juice and mix.
- Remove the peppers from the oven and divide the couscous between them. Spray a couple more spritz’ of low calorie cooking spray and pop back in the oven for 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle on a little more feta to serve.
Top Tip: Rather than buying fresh mint, parsley and lemons which usually only last a few days, try dried herbs and lemon juice which can be stored in the cupboard for when you want to make it again next time. Available in most large retailers.
Want more? Here’s some super salad inspiration from our blog.
2. Burrito Bowl with Spicy Red Lentils
Jam-packed with veggies and greens, this dish is perfect for a summer Mexican feast.
We’ve added an extra twist to the already delicious BBC Good Food’s Burrito Bowl with chipotle beans, by swapping in spicy red lentils for a vegan- friendly and tasty alternative source of protein.
- 60g Basmati Rice
- Light calorie cooking spray e.g. fry light
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 120g red lentils
- 1 avocado, de-stoned, halved and sliced
- 1 large salad tomato, chopped
- 1 yellow pepper, sliced
- 1 ½ tsp hot chilli powder
- 2tsp ground cumin
- 1 ½ tsp paprika
- Lime wedges
- Cook the rice according to the pack instructions.
- Meanwhile, boil the red lentils for 15-20 minutes.
- Spray a non-stick frying pan with a couple of sprays of light calorie cooking spray and add the garlic and onion. Sauté the onion and garlic for 4-5 minutes until the onions begin to soften and brown.
- Add in the cooked red lentils, chilli powder, cumin and paprika and stir well for a further 2-3 minutes to prevent burning, until the meat is fully cooked.
- Drain the rice and place in the bottom of a bowl and top with the lentil mixture, avocado, tomato, onion and pepper. Add a splash of siracha and a squeeze of lime to serve.
Top Tip: For a refreshing desert after your meal, try cutting a couple of slices of Watermelon with a squeeze of lime drizzled on top!
3. Sweet Chilli Noodles
For a delicious, spicy oriental noodle dish, that is bursting with flavour; these sweet chilli noodles are sure to pack a punch.
This recipe has been adapted from Slimming Eats “Chilli Beef Noodles”, easy to whip up when you’re strapped for time and adaptable, so you can share with your house mates.
- 120g of medium egg-noodles
- 3 tbsp of dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp of light soy sauce
- 1 tsp of sugar or sweetener
- 1 chilli, deseeded and chopped
- ½ red pepper, chopped
- ½ green pepper, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon of ginger
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
- Low calorie cooking spray
1. Cook the noodles according to the packet directions.
2. Spray a large frying pan or wok with low calorie cooking spray. Add the red chilli, onion, ginger, garlic, red pepper and green pepper and fry until the veggies are softened.
3. Add both soy sauces and sugar and fry for a further couple of mins.
4. Add in the noodles and into the mixture until fully coated.
5. Sprinkle with chopped spring onion and serve.
Top Tip: Buying and cooking in bulk may work out cheaper in the long run, so all these dishes are made to serve 2! Perfect for you and your house bestie or if you want to keep it all to yourself (and why not) save half for your lunch the next day by storing it in your favourite Tupperware.