We all know that remaining healthy at university can be an almost impossible task. From the greasy burger truck calling your name after a late student night out, to the hungover McDonalds breakfast muffin the next morning, it can be a real struggle for students. Statistics show that 46% of freshers miss their mum’s cooking when they take the leap into university. Weekly shops can be really tough when the multi-pack of Walkers crisps is far cheaper (and tastier) than the small bag of fresh spinach, making it harder for students to choose the healthy option. Why would you spend £10 on a balanced healthy dinner, when you can spend £3 on a quick, easy and cheap microwave meal?
If you have found yourself in this unhealthy dilemma, here are some top tips on remaining healthy whilst on a budget at university.
The first obvious option is to go to cheaper and more affordable supermarkets, yes Waitrose and Marks and Spencer are a lot more appealing and luxurious, however if you are trying to eat healthy on a budget, you are not going to get very far if you do your weekly shop at an expensive supermarket. Aldi and Lidl are both really cheap options for students, they have all the essentials and you can find everything you need for a healthy and nutritious weekly shop, under around £40.
Bulk buying is another option to consider when trying to remain healthy whilst on a budget at university. Cosco is a wholesaler supermarket where you can buy large quantities of food at a cheaper price than if you were to buy it at a regular supermarket. Therefore, you can buy large amounts of healthy snacks, for example nuts and dried fruit to store at in the cupboard at university, which will help you avoid buying the unhealthy ones in the supermarket . However, make sure you have the space in your accommodation to store all of it!
A little secret is that a lot of supermarkets reduce fruit and vegetables, along with fish and meat if the best before date is approaching. Although it may seem a bit weird to buy food which is going to go off soon, you can always freeze it and it will keep for longer. Take a trip down to Tesco around 8pm and you will find your Salmon fillets for half the price!
Sticking on the topic of freezing food, buying frozen fruit and vegetables is a really good idea. It keeps for much longer, and all you have to do is unfreeze it the night before. Frozen fruit is a really good alternative to fresh fruit if you like to make smoothies in the morning because it has a longer sell by date, and you get a lot more for your money. Beth, 20, a student in Nottingham says “I love having a smoothie every morning, however I found it was getting really expensive to buy a lot of fresh fruit each week, now I try to only buy fresh bananas and stick to frozen berries and mango as it is so much cheaper”.
Another idea for remaining healthy on a budget, is to split food shops with friends. If you and your friends have similar diets, you should all go shopping together. Not only is it a fun trip out but you can buy all the food you like, share it, and split the cost between you. This is also a good idea as it means you will cook and eat together, which is a great element of student living.