Tackling the Uni Food Shop
Doing your own food shop might be something you’ve never done before coming to uni. As exciting as it is to have the freedom to buy all your favourite foods, it can also be tricky managing your budget and getting your shopping back to your accommodation. There are three main food shops that you are likely to use during your first year at Warwick – Rootes Grocery Store (the on-campus shop), Tesco (part of Cannon Park shopping centre which is very close to campus) and Aldi (just next to Cannon Park) so you will have plenty of options to suit both your budget and your lifestyle. Here are a few tips I’ve learnt over my first year to help make your uni food shop a little easier.
Making a rough plan of the meals you will have before you go shopping will help you keep on track with only buying the food you will use, reducing the amount of food you waste and saving you money. I usually plan meals that use fresh fruit and vegetables for earlier in the week so that the foods that go out of date quickly get used up. Writing a list of all the use-by dates is also a good way to make sure your food doesn’t go to waste.
Shopping with your friends can take more time than shopping alone but it can be a lot more fun and can make shopping feel like less of a chore. Shopping in a group also makes it easier to carry everything back to your accommodation, especially if you go with flatmates!
As odd as it sounds – and as odd as it may feel walking through Tesco with a suitcase – taking a suitcase with you when you do a big shop makes getting your shopping back to your flat much easier. Shopping trolleys aren’t allowed onto campus and even if you only have a 10 minute walk, it can feel like a long way when you’re carrying heavy bags! I used a small canvas suitcase which was ideal because it was light, had wheels, folded down easily and fitted nicely under my bed. It’s also a good idea to keep a few bags to reuse or buy one of the sturdier bags for life as it doesn’t take long for your room to fill up with lots of plastic bags!
If you live on or close to central campus, buying your heavier items (like milk, fruit juice or tins) from Rootes can help save your arms from carrying too many heavy bags back from Cannon Park.
Even if you plan on cooking all your meals, it’s a good idea to keep a couple of ready meals in the freezer. This can really save you time if you need to prepare something quickly or if you’re too tired to cook after a long day.
Items such as bread go off quickly and if you only use it now and then, storing it in the freezer (and then defrosting it in the toaster) will make it last much longer. Frozen fruit also lasts much longer than fresh fruit and is perfect for making smoothies.
It can take some time to get used to keeping within your budget, knowing where you like to shop and how much food you need but as the year goes on, food shopping will naturally get easier and can be a great part of developing your independence at uni. It’s a great opportunity to try some foods and recipes you’ve never had before, so be adventurous and remember to treat yourself!