When you think of student meals, what pops into your head? Beans on toast, instant noodles and frozen pizzas, because let’s be honest, food is expensive, right?
It doesn’t have to be this way! There are ways to eat three nutritionally balanced, tasty meals per day that keep both your stomach and your bank account full.
WEEKLY SHOPS. Instead of popping out each evening to buy something for dinner, allocate an hour each week to doing your weekly shop. Doing it all at once means your less likely to overspend, and can make more informed choices about the upcoming week’s meals.
FROZEN VEGETABLES. They are processed at their peak ripeness, meaning they lock in lots of nutrients, and they can be a lot cheaper than fresh, particularly in the out of season winter months. Unlike fresh, there is also a lot less waste as you don’t have to worry about things being forgotten at the back of the fridge!
STARCH. The basis of all of the most delicious foods! Starch based foods make a great base to student meals as they are cheap and filling. Porridge, bread, rice, pasta and potatoes are all easy to work with, and don’t have a hefty price tag. You can buy most of this in bulk (and freeze the bread!) and cut costs.
CANNED GOODS. These range from about 20p – £1.00 – hardly splashing out, yet a lot of these products are packed full of protein and vitamins. Get yourself some chickpeas, kidney beans and black beans and you have a veggie chilli that can last for several meals, and keep you full.
SPICES. Never underestimate the power of spices! What was a boring chicken and rice dish is now a flavoursome bowl of hearty goodness, without the need to add expensive jars of sauces. Go with dried herbs – they last for longer. Top tip: if your recipe calls for fresh herbs and you only have dried, use a third of the amount it calls for.
MARKETS. Does your uni’s town have a market? If so, this is the best place to go for cheap fruits and veggies. If you go at the end of the day, you might find you can get yourself a bargain. Bruised fruits & veg don’t sell as well, so they’re usually sold off cheap at the end – perfect for smoothies, and porridge toppings!
Eat a good breakfast. Not only will this keep you fuller for longer, but it will keep you bright eyed and bushy tailed during your studies.
Take a packed lunch with you. Why spend £5 on a meal deal or a toastie from the canteen, when you can spend half that and take a homemade sandwich from home? Plus, it will keep you away from the vending machines…
Cook in advance. If you know you have exams coming up next week, don’t waste precious revising time cooking – dedicate a couple of hours the weekend before to making up batches of wholesome meals that can be frozen for later. Food fuels the brain!
Treat yourself. Saving the best until last. Don’t forget that we all need a treat sometimes, and if that happens to be an iced doughnut with a caramel machiatto on the side, then that’s what it is.
Eat happy and healthy!