For many of us, coming to university is the first time that we become solely responsible for our finances and our food. Figuring out how to cook on a budget can be a daunting task, and the temptation to resort to a stereotypical student diet of ready-meals is strong. But eating well is key to feeling healthy and working productively, so it’s going to be worthwhile learning how to balance our diet as well as our books.
At The Seasoned Student we’re all about finding new ways to make healthy eating easier for students. Here are our top five tips for bringing a bit more flavour to your university career:
1. Make money matter
Regardless of how healthy your finances are looking, making a budget for food shopping (and sticking to it) will make it much easier to eat well and save money. Once you know how much you want to spend, you can prioritise staples like fruit and veg and put treat-food in its rightful place (as treats). Try using budgeting apps like One Touch Expenser or Goodbudget, and see if that helps you figure out how much you’re currently spending - and whether that needs to change.
1. Hack your snacks
Snacking is a classic student pastime, especially during exams or essay-writing season. The problem is that the type of snacks available to us in the library are often sugar-rich or carb-heavy, both of which can actually make us work less productively. Try experimenting with homemade snacks and invest in some Tupperware to transport them around campus. We have a growing collection of snack ideas on the Seasoned Students website, all of which are cheaper and better for your brain than using a vending machine.
2. Find your dream team
One of the best things about food is the way it brings people together. Cooking for others is a great way of making friends, and sharing meals with flatmates will often save you money too. Provided your dietary requirements are compatible, you could try doing your food shopping online as a group, or taking it in turns to make dinner each evening. If you like cooking with others, 2 The Kitchen is a great new blog where all the recipes are written for two people to cook together.
3. Breach the boundaries
We tend to get used to eating certain foods, or cooking in a certain way. But being at university is an opportunity to try new things and learn new skills, so why not try branching out of your culinary comfort zone. You could join a food-related society, or buy a recipe book from a charity shop. Both Twitter and Instagram are good places to pick up some edible inspiration too.
4. Hone your habits
Although it’s fun to mix things up sometimes, our bodies need regularity to function at their best. So try forming good food habits, and make an effort to stick to them, even when deadlines are looming. Being well fed should help keep you healthier through times of stress, and hopefully it’ll make you happier too. If nothing else, cooking can provide a good break from the books – and it’s guaranteed to satisfy you more than Facebook.
A Bit About Our Contributor:
Fran is a postgraduate student at the University of Aberdeen and the founder of The Seasoned Student a new organisation bringing innovation to the student diet. If you are interested in writing for their website or getting involved in a Seasoned Students event, they’d love to hear from you!