As a result of bad eating habits, undergraduates chomp through 500 extra calories every day, according to the study by Panasonic. More than three quarters of students say their dinner diets consist of processed food, with 50% saying they don't cook from scratch because it is too time consuming. More than one in 10 admit they don't know how to cook.
Some of the unhealthiest student recipes include:
- Chicken nugget pizza: replace a dough base with chicken nuggets, top with garlic butter and cheese and serve with a side of nachos and chips
- Lasagne on toast: take leftover lasagne and place between two slices of toast for the ultimate sandwich
- BBQ Pasta: pasta, mixed with cheese and BBQ sauce
- Yorkshire and chips: chips, Yorkshire pudding and gravy
- Egg and chip butty: fried egg, chips in a sandwich
- Noodles on toast: instant noodles on buttered toasted white bread
- Ultimate breakfast butty: eggy bread, sausages, bacon, chicken, melted cheese, fried onions, fried mushrooms, and a fried egg
Zahrah Haider, a third year student at Northampton University said he lived off "pasta, tinned tomatoes and cheese" in his first year.
"I put cheese on everything to make it palatable. 11p noodles for Asda were a staple in my kitchen cupboard. It’s not that I can’t cook, just that it is too much effort to prepare and cook proper healthy meals.
"There have been days where I all I ate was ice cream and looking at my justeat.co.uk account, I once spent £213 in May on takeaways, although I normally order 4-5 a month.”
Jordan Garland, a 21-year-old at Lincoln University, added: "I think a lot of why students eat so badly is due to the lack of space in the fridge and cupboards, especially in the first year. It's fair more economical/less off a ball ache to just get pre-made or very simple things.
"That said, I'm still partial to a cocktail of pasta, tuna flakes and ketchup. I also once tried to incorporate samosas into a pizza, but that went disastrously wrong. My friends and I have also been inspired by Man vs. Food to try extreme sandwiches, piling in everything we can think of."
TV nutritionist Amanda Hamilton warned: “Students seem fully aware that they are not eating the right sort of foods and that they are eating too many calories. They might be living for the now and worrying about their diets later, but if they continue consuming food in this way they are likely to fall prey to the ‘Freshman 15’ - the expression given to the 15lbs of weight gain thought to be typical of first year university students, as well as storing up more serious health problems for the future.”