Feed me, Seymour! (How to Eat Well at Uni for Less)
One of my main regrets from first year was neglecting to eat healthily. I was one of many freshers who, while overwhelmed with my new-found independence decided to trade in great portions of my student loan for takeaways and spent my remaining pennies on nights out. This immature diet saw me not only put on a fair bit of weight over my first three terms at Warwick but it also forced me into a pretty unpleasant financial situation as well. It has only been recently that I have managed to undo the majority of the damage done to my health – as I have previously said, a year abroad makes you grow up. With that in mind, here is a brief overview of my food-mantra for uni-life which has allowed me to eat well over the past few terms without breaking the budget.
Plan your meals – Yeah, not the most original of opening points. Planning your meals will see you save a hell of a lot of money because it means you can make use of everything in your cupboard and you don’t end up buying unnecessary food that goes to waste!
Don’t snack – I wasted so much money on snacking when I was in first year, it isn’t ideal! 9 times out of 10 I wasn’t even hungry; I was just bored. That said, if you genuinely are hungry then keep a reserve of apples or something a little less terrible for you in the fridge or have some water (often when you think you’re hungry it is just because you are dehydrated).
Be about that Nectar life – Loyalty cards are very useful and normally quite addictive. The points that you accumulate on weekly shops can go to reducing the cost of future trips or to other things like days-out. My personal preference is Nectar because they have a great app for racking up those points but I’m well aware that Tesco Clubcard has better offers for how you can spend your points. Look into it, they’re free!
Freezers are our friends – Making meals to serve 3 or 4 people is a common thing to do for me these days. That way, your ingredients per-meal work out cheaper and you have dinner plus 2 or 3 extra meals sorted for another day when either you don’t have time to cook or you forgot you needed a packed lunch!
Eat clean – It bodes very well for students that usually, healthier foods tend to be cheaper, namely fruit and vegetables. By cutting down on Ben & Jerry’s, full-fat coke and Galaxy bars you will save quite a few pounds in both weight and money. The amount of fruit and veg you can get for £5 is actually very impressive so try to look for those healthier alternatives.
Make it a weekly thing – It’s pretty sad but one of my favourite parts of the week is my weekly shop. It’s a great time to have to yourself and, even better, it helps save money. If you don’t structure your shop you end up spending £4 here because you forgot to get stuff for dinner in on Tuesday, another £6 the next day because you forgot you needed chicken and so on, it stacks up to far more than one big shop each week.
Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry – My last tip is the one which has helped me the most. Going shopping when you’re hungry is like going on Tinder when you’re drunk and it usually doesn’t end well. Suddenly, I could “really go for” pretty much anything that I see on the shelves. Eating a meal before you go gives you blinkers for the trip and you become savagely frugal with what you need to get.
I hope this post didn’t make me sound like too much of a Joe Wick wannabe, that’s not my intention. The idea is just to throw at you the most cost-effective ways to eat well at University. There’s no reason why, using these tips, you can’t make some meals which are not only sophisticated and nice but also offer a perfect procrastination method from revision.