Since entering the pandemic, we’ve all seen our eating routines change, for better or worse! I’ve found myself looking for ways to spice up basic meals, yet also keep things super simple. Here’s a list of random, or perhaps rather normal foods which we neglect, that quarantine has encouraged me to include in my day to day eating habits! Maybe you’d like to incorporate them into yours.:)

Cabbage. Underrated? Yes.

First, I’d like to introduce you to cabbage! It's maybe the most underrated vegetable. If you’re anything like me, cooking can be such a hassle that you don’t want to put effort into every night. Having fresh veggies that you can easily incorporate into your daily meals is important for a balanced diet. I stumbled upon possibly the simplest cabbage recipe on Pinterest this past summer, and it’s become a weekly staple for me. The magic ingredient? Apple cider vinegar! It gives acidity to the veggie, with a tinge of sweetness! Also - I hate coleslaw. I know we all associate cabbage with that side dish, but this cabbage is totally transformed. Give this recipe a try! It’s worth the 10 minutes it takes to make it.

Elevating your Breakfast Game.

Allison Leacu

Next, I’d like to remind you all how easy it is to amp up your breakfast game. Since we entered the pandemic, I’ve found myself craving a decent breakfast every morning, over a granola bar or cereal. It’s the most important meal of the day, after all. Because of our less than normal schedules these days, I've been able to find a few more minutes to spare making my breakfast. Eggs are nothing out of the norm, but we can amp them up! The simplest, most classic option (for me) is a fried egg. What can you do to add something to this meal? Drop some cheddar cheese on top while it cooks and let it melt. This is delicious placed on a bagel or english muffin. Even so, I find I often crave adding something salty. If you have bacon, or even typical deli meat like ham in the fridge, throw these on the skillet, before topping off your breakfast sandwich.

Avocados? Yes, Please.

avocado, vegetable, sweet, guacamole
Jessica Kelly

Avocados have been trendy for a while, but the trend certainly isn’t lightening up during COVID-19. Great in protein, health enthusiasts pay good money for an avocado toast. I’ve discovered that the best pairing for avocado toast (no room for negotiation) is goat cheese. Crumble a little on top of your avocado spread, add some pepper for a kick, and you’re in good shape! That being said, I recommend adding avocados to your plate in new ways! It’s basic knowledge that avocados are delish on sandwiches, but we tend to forget this is easy to put together at home - not just at that expensive bagel shop down the road. If you have a toaster oven, put together your typical sandwich (my go-to is turkey and provolone) and add some cut avocado. It’s a great way to beef up a boring sandwich. Heat it up and you’re practically a professional sandwich maker.

Pesto: A Sauce from the Gods.

sandwich, tomato, pesto, cheese, avocado
Shelby Cohron

I’d like to talk to you about pesto for a sec. Still on the subject of sandwiches, I’ve gotten into pesto spread over quarantine this summer. I stand by pesto. I can almost guarantee it will make your sandwich taste like it came from your favorite café. Sounds basic, but it's definitely worth trying. All you need to do is spread mayo on your choice of bread, then a bit of pesto (any amount you're comfortable with, not a lot is needed to make an impact). Mix the pesto into the mayo (you could mix them in a bowl separately but not necessary). I find the pesto spread is best with ham or turkey based sandwiches, but it’s worth experimenting with any number of options! The flavor adds the perfect kick of saltiness, and it melts perfectly in with cheese if you choose to toast your sandwich. You’ll be surprised how much this ups your sandwich game.

Pasta = best food. No Negotiation.

pasta, Fall, WUSTL, #ibbys
Charlotte Ohana

Find yourself making pasta every day? I relate. It's the best food, after all. Spaghetti sauce can get boring though, so it’s important to find ways to switch things up. You don’t need to find complicated recipes to do this. We all keep vegetables on hand, so I certainly recommend cutting up a variety of things you have in the fridge - green or red pepper, onion, and mushrooms are a good start. Sauté your veggies (maybe with some garlic for flavor) for 10-15 minutes before adding your typical sauce. If you want to add some meat like chicken or ground beef, this is just as easy - cook the meat in a pan before adding your veggies for sautéing. If you don’t know how long to cook these things, just taste test the veggies as you cook, or cut the chicken down the middle to make sure it’s cooked through. Don’t be intimidated! You have to cook your pasta for 10 or so minutes anyways, you might as well spend those minutes perfecting your sauce with new additions. My last suggestion for pasta is possibly the simplest. I’m a sucker for creamy pasta, but also love tomato sauce. If you keep heavy cream or even half and half close by, toss some in your tomato sauce as it’s cooking. It’s a great way to switch up your basic tomato sauce, and only needs to heat up with your sauce for a couple minutes. I’d recommend topping this off with some shredded cheese or fresh basil.

These are just a handful of simple ways to amp up your eating routine if it's feeling dull. Let this stir up inspiration for you and your own eating habits, because we all need some variety in our meals!