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25 Simple Meals You Can Make When Your Life Is In Shambles

Because even when things are bad, you do still have to eat.

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We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to share the simple meals they make for themselves when going through a difficult time.

The responses were all so thoughtful and serve as a good reminder that if you're struggling, you are not alone. ❤️ Here are some of the best suggestions.

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1. This two-ingredient slow-cooker meal is 💯:

Getty

"BBQ sauce or teriyaki sauce dumped in a slow cooker with a chicken breast. Although now I use an instant pot and it's even easier."

katrinaq47aa7e4e7

(P.S. I do the same thing but with pineapple salsa!)

2. Tuna is a lifesaver:

Noirchocolate / Getty Images

"Tuna cakes! A can of tuna, seasoning (I also like to add cayenne pepper for some spice), some spinach, maybe red pepper, an egg, and flour. Then some bread crumbs on the outside and pan fry it in a small amount of oil :)"

abigails44be0ea14

3. And rice is nice:

Fudio / Getty Images

"Chicken fried rice. The rice was minute rice I made in the microwave, and I threw frozen vegetables and canned chicken into a pan with the cooked rice and some soy sauce. It was easy to make and filling."

rachy95

"Microwave brown rice, precooked grilled chicken, and frozen broccoli."

nickye433939da1

"When my parents died the only thing I could eat was eggs and rice. It was my mom's favorite breakfast and she used to make it for me all the time. For a long time I wasn't hungry but I would eat it to feel closer to her. I still make it all the time and it's still really comforting."

rachele45c7443e2

4. And/or beans:

Cheche22 / Getty Images

"I don't like to cook in general, but I don't want to eat like complete crap either, so I make rice and beans a lot! Microwave the rice (I buy pre-cooked rice), dump some low sodium beans on there, maybe throw in some shredded cheese or guac. Done. It takes maybe two mins."

hannahj44c6fff1f

"I was living alone, had gone through a rough breakup, just been sexually assaulted and drinking way too much. I lived in a tiny studio with no kitchen — I had a mini fridge and a hot plate. When I couldn't bring myself to cook or even to eat, I would get a can of beans and some hot dogs and slice them up, put them I a pot with the beans, and simmer them over the hot plate for a few hours. Beanie weanies! It made the room smell good, it took five minutes to prepare, and it was the ultimate comfort food."

tessann

"White rice, pinto beans (mash up some Sun Vista beans once they're warmed up), and cotija cheese! That is my go-to quick meal right there. Or instead of beans I'll do sour cream. That's how my parents kept me full when we were poorer."

jazminl2

5. You could upgrade your ramen:

4kodiak / Getty Images

"'Egg Drop Soup.' Make some package ramen noodles and while it's boiling hot crack a couple of eggs in and stir it up. Cheap carbs and protein with the bonus of lots of liquid making you feel full. Got me through college when I had $25 for two weeks. Extra fancy style: drizzle of sesame oil, handful of rotisserie chicken and some chopped green onions (fished out of the dumpster of the produce stand)." —bluebirdrock (Also, noodleslinger suggested adding a scoop of peanut butter to the above combo!)

"My friends and I in college had two go-to group meals, which were good for when we were celebrating or struggling. One, ramen spectacular: regular instant ramen made on the stove, but using veggie broth instead of water, then throwing in a bag of mixed frozen veggies, cooking a few soft-boiled eggs, and topping the steaming bowls with hot sauce and whatever fresh condiments we had (basil, cilantro, mung beans, jalapeños, lime, etc). The combination of comfort food and group cooking helped us make it through the craziness that college sometimes presents. And now, we all live in different places but separately still make ramen spectacular or have a curry night. When we are able to get together, inevitably we fall back into the comfort of these food rituals."

catlitten

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6. Take your grits to the next level:

Lauripatterson / Getty Images

"Make grits stovetop grits according to the package. Add a little cream, salt, pepper, butter, and gouda cheese. Set to the side and cover to keep warm.

Chop andouille sausage into bite size pieces. Put into a pan with a little butter and cook until it gets a nice sear on it. Add some corn (canned is totally fine) and let it get nice and roasted. I like to add a little blackening season, but it depends on your spice level.

Once it's cooked, dump it into the pot with the grits and stir it up. There you have roasted andouille and corn Gouda grits. It makes a lot, takes up room in your tummy, reheats well, and makes you feel like you've wrapped a warm blanket around yourself. Got me through a divorce. Also got me laid once."

katierobertss

7. Try an easy one-pan meal:

Magone / Getty Images

"My go to easy meal is roasted sausage, potatoes, and veggies of choice. Chop, add olive oil, salt and pepper, maybe some herbs or spices then bake at 400 for 20 min. It's delicious, cheap and filling. It's also great leftovers."

haleyeb

"This last bout of depression I've become obsessed with 'sheetpan dinners.' The one I do the most is putting frozen chicken breasts and thickly sliced zucchini on a sheet pan, coating everything with Italian salad dressing, and baking for 30-45 minutes at 375 degrees. So easy, semi healthy."

redtoenails

8. Don't forget to eat your veggies:

Leszekczerwonka / Getty Images

"Steam in bag microwaveable frozen veggies. Easy to cook, pour into bowl and sprinkle with cheese. It makes you feel a little healthy and takes very little effort. Pretty cheap too, especially if you load up when they're on sale!"

alexandrad495244881

"TBH, when you're really in the depths of despair, it can feel impossible to go beyond cereal and pasta with Parmigiano. I'd advise picking the two or three healthy foods you legit love (for me, it's strawberries and broccoli) and force yourself to incorporate them as much as possible. It'll help get your legs and colon moving."

dlebwohl

"I buy the prepped bags of kale and broccoli slaw from Trader Joe's, and mix them to make a base for a salad. Sometimes all I can do is top with a peanut sauce for a quick meal. But since the components last a while in the fridge, I don't feel anxious to use them immediately. When I have more motivation, I sauté the kale and broccoli slaw and top with pasta sauce and cheese."

sophiabayr

9. Or drink your dinner:

Foxys_forest_manufacture / Getty Images

"I've always been partial to smoothies, because they're easy as hell and you can fit a ton of nutrients into them. And they're so accommodating and customizable — just throw whatever shit you have/feel like using in a blender and you're good to go. I'm also drawn to smoothies because it doesn't feel like I'm eating, but it still fills me up and keeps me going."

ecmsquared

10. And don't overlook this classic:

target.com

"In college, my anxiety over my allergies was so bad that I could barely eat anything. I refused to eat anything in the dining hall anymore except my Carnation drinks and bowls of Cheerios."

sarahd113

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11. There's pasta, of course:

Margouillatphotos / Getty Images

"There was a time when I was in like seventh grade and my mom almost died. It was my first time having to prep meals for myself and my little brother with absolutely no supervision. Penne with spicy marinara got me through, and some great doctors got my mom through."

brilliantandbuzzing

"One pot pasta! Whole wheat rotini, turkey smoked sausage, baby spinach, a jar of spaghetti sauce and half a brick of cream cheese. Good, filling, warm. It's my go to when I want to curl up and avoid life and all its....challenges."

kealys

"The last few months I've been struggling with depression and anxiety related to ending college. I actually ended up making a really easy shrimp scampi meal when I could force myself to get up. All you have to do is cook up frozen shrimp in a chicken stock, garlic, red pepper flake, and lemon juice sauce. Boil some pasta, mix it up, and add some cheese. Takes like 15 minutes and it's always delicious!"

keirarachelv

12. And pasta salad:

Rez-art / Getty Images

"Pasta, green and black olives, salami and pepperoni, and cheese. Italian dressing optional. After almost 15 years, it's still my go to comfort food."

erikarappold

13. Try this make-ahead spaghetti when you're feeling motivated:

Alicjane / Getty Images

"When I struggled with postpartum depression, I would make enormous quantities of spaghetti sauce in the crockpot and freeze it in quart size bags so that on particularly bad days I could just cook some pasta and warm up some sauce. It was a well balanced meal with meat, vegetables, and carbs to get me through to the end of another day."

sarahm49f211783

14. Go for mac and cheese a million different ways:

Mphillips007 / Getty Images

"Shout out to Stouffer's Mac and cheese that nourished me when my dad passed away suddenly, through the roughest break up of my life, and a recently shit week."

bekusv

"Taco pasta! A box of Mac & cheese, hamburger, packet of taco seasoning, can of corn and a can of chili beans. Sometimes we put cottage cheese in our bowl with it or corn chips."

m498241a6a

"My dad used to make us mac and cheese with tuna mixed in. It was delicious, and I have eaten it many times as an adult when I'm feeling down about whatever. It's good with a can of peas thrown in, too, kinda like a casserole."

twopumpkinpastiesplease

15. Remember that potatoes are basically everything:

John Shepherd / Getty Images

"I just moved 1400 miles away from home, I had no friends or family. My father died and my long distance boyfriend was emotionally abusive. I started a new job and I had no money. For 3 months straight I ate baked potatoes with butter and sour cream. I'm from Idaho and it was a little taste of home that was both tasty, filling, and affordable."

sarahroia

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16. Maybe stir in something colorful to cheer you up:

4kodiak / Getty Images

"When I find it hard to make myself do simple things, let alone make entire healthy meals, I liked getting chicken, cut peppers, soy sauce, and rice. Throwing colorful peppers into a sauce pan with chicken and soy sauce has always been fun for me because I love the colors and how simple it is. Plus rice is easy and a perfect addition. It makes you feel like you accomplished something really great, but it is also super easy."

graceface35

(PS You can often find sliced tri-color peppers in the frozen section — a total game-changer for me!)

17. Don't sleep on the frozen section:

Sommail / Getty Images

"Just plain, frozen edamame in the big 2-serving bags. Just pop it in the microwave and eat 2 pounds of straight protein. Great for when you don't have an appetite."

graceh42516b592

"Just any bag of frozen potstickers will give you something to do for 10 minutes and then you get not terrible food after. There are even vegan and vegetarian options for health/eco conscious friends."

abbied42ee4eb49

18. Stock up on pre-made sandwiches:

Badmanproduction / Getty Images

"For months during a low point in my depression my go to lunch and dinner was a ham sandwich with provolone, spinach and tomato pesto. I was in college at the time and it was a ready made sandwich offered at my dining hall on my meal plan. I'd get a few at a time so when it was extra hard to get out of bed and walk across campus to get dinner, I'd have something on hand."

mikolem

19. Or quickly whip up some chili dogs:

Bhofack2 / Getty Images

"About four years ago, my former partner and I decided to divorce. Thank God it was amicable because I had no money to move out, I was in grad school, and he had to spend 60% of his income keeping the roof of a tiny studio apartment in south Seattle over both our head plus two cats. We had no energy for any cooking except chili dogs about twice a week, but those chili dogs were glorious. Microwaved canned chili (spiciest we could find), spicy-ass brats, cheese for days. I think that's part of the reason we're still such close friends. Those damn things kept us sane for a year and a half."

m4b1d3e9cc

20. You could pick up a rotisserie chicken:

Warren_price / Getty Images

"Rotisserie chicken! You can make so many easy things with it and taking out that one step of cooking meat makes a huge difference for me. I usually eat eggs but sometimes it's nice to have something different. If you live alone, just get it off the bone and freeze half of it so it doesn't go to waste."

elleh400b602e8

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21. Or enjoy some Nutella toast and tea:

Alexpro9500 / Getty Images

"I've had depression for over a decade now. I go through bouts of deep depression which render me incapable of feeding myself or even taking care. The magic meal that keeps me alive during those periods is whole wheat bread and lots of Nutella spread atop served with a nice steaming cup of Vanilla Comoro tea from Harney and Sons. Not exactly nutritious but it is my lifeline when I'm in too deep."

dazedgal

22. Try one of these simple but elegant meals:

Jenifoto / Getty Images

"Cream cheese, avocado, and baby tomatoes on whole grain toast."

dmdb92

"Labneh (basically a tart middle eastern yogurt) on toasted pita with zataar (a middle eastern spice with oregano, sumac, and sesame seeds) and a drizzle of olive oil."

mandyciampa

"Gnocchi and pesto. The gnocchi cook super fast, pesto in a jar is all they need and it's super filling and comforting but at the same time it feels like you're not eating junk."

harah2

"I did search and rescue in the Coast Guard and without fail after each bad rescue/recovery I would eat brie and crusty sourdough bread dunked in tomato soup.....its still my go to when my anxiety/depression gets to be too much."

jennifert78

23. Remember that eggs are incredible:

Mariha-kitchen / Getty Images

"Fried eggs over microwavable brown rice (or any rice) and use the same pan from the eggs to mix one part butter and one part soy sauce (you can add scallions or cilantro if you want) and simmer till it forms a sauce. Drown it in the sauce. Delicious, healthy enough with the eggs and rice, comforting AF with that sauce which is literally the greatest sauce in the world. One pan, five minutes. Got me through the first few weeks of a super tough elimination diet and has gotten me through a lot of tough times since then."

lianar4792e2448

"Scrambled egg bowls are the best because they require whatever you have lying around eggs. I usually throw in whatever vegetables I have in the fridge, any sort of rice and or beans, or any additional protein I have in the fridge. Add in taco seasoning, adobo, Cajun spice, whatever. It's tasty, filling, healthy, and easy. It's a perfect throw together meal that's actually nourishing."

gabriellefesta21

24. Try an easy casserole:

Stephaniefrey / Getty Images

"An easy cheesy broccoli and chicken casserole. I just use microwave brown rice, cream of chicken soup, shredded cheese, frozen broccoli and cooked chopped chicken. Mix together and throw in the oven until warmed through and cheese is melted. Easy and pretty yummy."

kristind12

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