It goes without saying that most students are on a tight budget, so is healthy food top of the student agenda at freshers week?
Health food has an expensive reputation and I am constantly blogging about the benefits of cooking from scratch not just for our health but also for our pocket! Yes, it is actually cheaper to buy your ingredients and create your own meals and avoid the buy-one-get-one-free nutritionally void biscuits, sweets and florescent energy drinks in the supermarket.
Here are my top tips for students on how to eat healthily on a student budget
Get your house mates together and create a cooking rota and a food budget. Allocate an amount for food for the week and each house mate take turns at cooking a healthy meal nutritious meal each night. Avoid buying any food that states natural or low fat, fat free or diet on the front. These are usually over priced foods based on marketing gimmicks, purchase food in its natural state for instance, potatoes, rice, plain chicken, vegetables.
Always remember to cook food that can be easily reheated the next day for lunch, saving more money and time.
Base meals around simple foods
Most freshers will probably miss their mums cooking more than anything else from home. Microwave meals and frozen pizza will make you feel sick, tired and emotionally exhausted and offer you nothing in return for their high calorie content.
Porridge oats are cheap and simple to cook and a brilliant start to your day. Buy the loose oats in large bags and avoid the processed and refined quick cook sachets which usually carry a heftier price tag.
Buying frozen ensures maximum vitamins and minerals as produce is usually frozen at source as opposed to pimped up, pumped up glamorous looking fruit and veg that spends weeks in transit before it gets to the consumer. Adding frozen fruit to your porridge and frozen veg to your lunch and dinner can save you so much and it never goes to waste!
Learn to use seasonings
When you buy the correct seasonings you will discover greater taste for less. My go-to seasonings are Cumin, chilli powder, chinese 5 spice and garlic which can transform bland boring veggies and meats into a delicious meal that everyone in the student digs will love.
Bulk buy protein
Most butchers or local Spar stores offer deals on multi purchases of meat. Once you have your meals planned for the week buy the meat in bulk as it works out cheaper and freeze meat you are not using immediately. Prioritising protein in your meals prevents you from snacking on high sugar junk or processed foods as it makes you feel fuller for longer.
Easy Peasy home-cooked nutritious meals for freshers
- Eggs are cheap and nutritious, add any veg or meat and your have a delicious meal ready in a matter of minutes. Check out our video.
- Bulk out your soup with plenty veggies, chicken and lentils for a filling meal that will keep you going for hours. Check out out our recipe.
- Irish Stews. Potatoes and meats can provide a delicious stew when mixed with vegetables. Perfect for those cold winter days.
- Smoothies. Blend your favourite frozen berries in the morning with milk to create a super quick breakfast. Check out our recipe.
- Bolognese. A favourite with everyone, which can be bulked out with plenty veg and served on a baked potato or wholegrain pasta.
- Homemade porridge fruit bars. Mix together a few simple ingredients for a healthy snack between meals or a on-the-go breakfast. Check out our recipe.
- Bangers & Mash. Its hard to beat the old favourites. The ultimate comfort food. Check out our recipe.