Eating healthy food on a student budget
Eating healthily on your food budget can seem like a daunting challenge, particularly when you’re already juggling a busy schedule filled with revision, exams and all the other activities that keep your week chockablock. But whether you’ve perfected your culinary schools or are Domino’s favourite customer (missing mum’s cooking yet!?), there are a few things you can master whilst at university to ensure that you make the most of your money.
Plan your meals
Yes, you’ve probably heard it before, but planning your meals week by week is by far the easiest way to make sure you’ve got a healthy meal to eat each day without regular (and expensive) trips to the local shop, so give it a go! Pick a day of the week to go food shopping and make a list of what you need. Plan out the week ahead of you and consider what you will be doing – studying all day in the library, sport practice, the gym, working late – you can’t always stick to three meals at your student pad so consider what you can buy to keep you going throughout the day, wherever you are. Once you’re at the supermarket, be strict and don’t deviate from your list. Throwing in a little treat here and there as you go will add up! Remember to look at the use by dates of everything that goes in your basket and consider this when you’re cooking so you’re not forced to chuck anything out later in the week.
If you’ve got the freezer space, buy frozen bags of vegetables for a cheap and convenient way to get your five a day on a student budget. Hearty vegetables like broccoli, spinach, carrots and cauliflower are all available to buy frozen, they won’t go out of date and you can easily chuck them into the mix of anything you are cooking. Additionally, even if you are cooking dinner for 1, consider cooking enough food for more and freeze what you don’t need. This way you won’t be tempted by a takeaway later in the week when you don’t want to cook as you’ll have a delicious meal waiting for you in the freezer! Hate how quickly your loaf of bread expires? Stick it in the freezer and defrost each slice as and when you want it. Remember, your toaster has a defrost setting, so there’s no excuse to skip breakfast!
Eating the same food week on week can get a bit tedious and unappetising, so the best way to reduce your food budget on eating out or takeaways is to make some new and delicious meals in your student digs yourself. Save some new recipes on your phone each week and give them a go! Theming your food week is a great way to mix up what you’re eating and is a fun way to involve your housemates and share the cooking. Or mix up your favourite meals with some healthy alternatives – swap the chips for sweet potatoes or use spaghetti squash instead of pasta. Once you’ve mastered the art of serving up a fabulously healthy dinner on a student budget, don’t forget to keep your leftovers for your lunch the next day. On the days locked away revising, lunch is a lot more interesting with a lunchbox of last night’s healthy brain food than a boring sandwich from the canteen!