May 8, 2017, by Siobhan

The Intuitive Eater: Tips Towards Becoming More Foodsmart

One of our biggest issues as students is eating healthily and maintaining a healthy (ish) wallet at the same time. We’ve all been there, there’s only half a tub of butter and a sack of potatoes to fill your cupboards, and your stomach this evening so you order a takeaway again. You spend £20 too, because you’ll get free delivery! Now, you’re almost a weeks worth of shopping money down, your stomach has ballooned to the size of a small house, and the food wasn’t even that great. I hope to shed some light on the seemingly difficult task of maintaining tasty looking cupboards, whilst still being able to afford a few nights out and a train home for the weekend.

Have a bank of recipes that you know you can easily make.

You’ve just got in from a long day of essay writing, you’re super hungry and you can’t be bothered to cook. Also, your flat mates have left the sink filled with gunky saucepans, and the hob looks like a crime scene. Not the most appealing setting. The last thing you want is to be chopping up peppers and garlic in THAT kitchen. Instead, have a list of simple meals that require very few utensils. Or, better still, can just be popped in the microwave.

Some simple dishes include:

Pesto pasta. Two ingredients, one pot for cooking. If you really hate washing up, you could even eat it out of the pan!

Stir fry. This takes a little more effort, maybe even some chopping. But quick cook noodles are done in literally 3 minutes, and a lot of veg can be cooked in the microwave. Boil some noodles, microwave some peas and sweetcorn, add a sauce of your choice and voila! Healthy dinner in the blink of an eye.

Salad. Fry some chicken. Season with salt, pepper and herbs, and add to a bowl of leafy greens. Simple, delicious and nutritious. You could even make use of that stale bread in the cupboard and make croutons.

Buy loose fruits and vegetables. 

Going shopping can be a hassle, and lugging your bags back home is even worse. One little sacrifice you can make however, is buying loose fruit and veg. Sure, a six pack of pink lady apples look lovely, but they’ll set you back the best part of 3 quid. The same fruit, handpicked and put in plastic bags will cost at least a third less. Also, you can pick as many as you want; there’s less chance of your food going mouldy if you decide how many you can eat in thr next week, or ten days.

Avoid ready meals.

Not only are they expensive, but they are really quite terrible for your health. That frozen mac and cheese in the corner shop might seem tempting, but really they’re full of empty calories and lack any real nutrition. As a student, your brain is working hard and it needs to be fueled correctly. A ready meal is fine every now and then, but don’t make it a regular occurrence.  Besides, you can make your favourite ready meals at home, with far less salt, fat and sugar. It’ll taste better too!

I make mac and cheese fairly regularly. It’s not the healthiest I’ll admit, but its filling and really tasty, so perfect comfort food. If you use brown or wholewheat pasta, its only really the cheese that’s bad for you! But who cares, because we all love cheese. It’s delicious. Cheese doesn’t clog your arteries, it fills your heart.

Go shopping every week, and don’t deprive yourself. 

I was really guilty of going shopping maybe every two weeks, and spending about £12 on the bare minimum amount of food, because I hated spending money on food. Now, I write a list of the stuff I want, and make sure I go and get everything I need, every week. Not only does a weekly shop help you ease into a routine, it makes sure you’ve got a variety of food and you’re not going to go hungry, or end up running to the corner shop and spending £8 on snacks and frozen pizza. Switch up your list too, so you don’t get bored.

I hope this will help some of you to become a little more food savvy; I know I was terrible for the most part of first year! The bottom line is: get into the habit of cooking for yourself, don’t get stuck in the mindset that healthy cooking has to be difficult and tiresome, and pride y yourself on filling your cupboards with nice, yummy food.


Posted in Siobhan