Some university students may feel like time is against them, under a lot of pressure and eating on the go. You may find it hard to avoid bad eating habits like frequently ordering takeaways. But eating a healthy, balanced diet can help you feel better, help keep stress at bay and perform well academically.
Here are some tips on how you can eat healthy at university and also eat well on a budget!
Plan Your Week Ahead
When I was at uni, I used my Saturday evenings to plan and decide what I would eat each day of the week ahead. This made me more organised and also saved me a lot of time from thinking each day about what I was going to eat or act on impulse to order a takeaway when there’s no food in the kitchen to eat.
I found making a food list very useful - I would jot down on a notepad what recipes I needed to prepare my meals and when I would go to the supermarket I would refer to my list. This allowed me to buy food within my budget and prevent me from making unnecessary purchases such as a multipack of Snickers *covers face*.
Visit your local market
When you go to university, have a tour around the area and find out if there is a local market. I did my undergraduate degree at the University of Kent in Canterbury and discovered a lot of fruit and vegetable markets near the town centre. I also found that the fruits and vegetables were much cheaper compared to in the supermarkets. I would stock up on a lot of fruits and veg and make nice healthy dishes with them!
OR buy frozen fruit and veg
They normally come pre-chopped and are just as good as non-frozen food! Also frozen fruit and vegetables packaging allows longer storage and portion control without waste!
Freeze your bread
During my time at university, I would buy bread and leave it on the kitchen countertop. Anytime I wanted to make toast or a quick sandwich I would find that slices of my bread had either gone missing or did not look right…. I mean are green mouldy things supposed to be on there?!
I started putting my bread in the freezer (there were no spaces for in the fridge) and for me this was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life as I found that it helped to preserve its taste and texture.
Spice up your life
Some people think that when you make meals on a budget or eat healthily that it is normally bland. That is not the case at all! Spices were my best friend at university. I would buy spices, which were normally cheap, to make my meals more interesting and tasty. Also spices are great salt alternatives - we all know regular salt consumption can contribute to higher blood pressure. You can add fresh herbs and spices in any type of dishes....your pasta dishes, vegetables and meat.
Cut back on the treats
I am not here to tell you not to buy chocolates or crisps while you are at university. Of course you are allowed, but just remember that moderation is key. Allow yourself a set amount of treats to buy each month. They can be very expensive and you will feel better for it when you cut back on them!
Invest in cheap cookery books
There are many cookbooks and websites that give us guidance on how to prepare delicious meals on a good and student-friendly budget!
Try cheaper brands
You could save £££s by buying cheaper branded food products. There’s not always much difference between the value and premium ranges. Consider this when you go to university and let your taste buds be the judge!
Drink plenty of water
It is recommended that we drink at least eight glasses a day to ensure good hydration. Water is a healthy and cheap choice for quenching your thirst at any time. It has no calories and sugar! You can carry a water bottle along to your lectures and keep it handy during late night study sessions.
If you are not really a fan of plain water, try sparkling water or add a slice of lemon or lime or infuse with fruits.
Keep healthy snacks in your room
This way, if hunger strikes during a late night study session, you won’t be tempted by vending machine to get a bar of chocolate or crisps. Stock up on some healthy snacks for times you feel peckish – some options include fresh, tinned or dried fruit, rice cakes and unsalted nuts.