November 11, 2018, by Lucy

Eating Healthy on a Budget

The cliché of students living off beans on toast and pot noodles is a stereotype you cannot escape. For some reason, those outside of the university experience believe students to be incapable of eating healthy, be it for financial reasons or for their apparent laziness. This stereotype is just wrong. For starters, students aren’t physically inept in the kitchen and, secondly, surely if we were that skint, we’d be eating spaghetti hoops on toast?! I mean, they are the cheaper canned good.

Being Frugal

Healthy food doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. In fact, it doesn’t and with budget supermarkets such as Lidl and Aldi existing there is no excuse. With weekly deals on fruit and veg, including their weekly six deals whereby a selection of items are reduced to around 60p and less, they are the place to be when it comes to getting your greens.

If you don’t live near a Lidl or an Aldi, or if the prospect of throwing your food into your trolley at the tills fills you with dread, other supermarkets are more than decent when it comes to being healthy for nothing. Indeed, no matter where you go, the big supermarkets all have their own brands of food, thus accommodating for even the smallest of budgets. When it comes to things such as fruit and veg, branding isn’t something you need to worry about. And, trust me, branding isn’t even that important when it comes to other items. If you have ever seen even 5 minutes of Eat Well for Less, you’ll know that as soon as you say, ‘they haven’t swapped this’, you’ll have egg on your face. Yes, that’s right Barbara, they have swapped your yoghurts and you didn’t even notice.

For those of you even more dedicated to the budget life, going to a supermarket at discounting time is like Christmas has come early. Check into any shop after 5 and it will be yellow sticker haven. Once I snapped up 5 pitta breads for 5p from M&S and it still gives me a buzz when I think about it. Yes, I really am that sad.

Fill Up on Protein

Eating a lot of protein throughout the day is a way of staying full for longer, as well as a way of ensuring that you are getting a number of the micro-nutrients that your body requires. Meat is quite pricey in supermarkets but fear not, it is not the only way to get your protein! Speaking from the position of someone who has become vegetarian since starting uni, cutting out meat from my diet has been as easy as pie. A meal does not need to revolve around meat. Pick up things such as lentils, chickpeas and kidney beans on your shop and fill your meals with these – you won’t even miss the meatiness one bit! Being a vegetarian isn’t scary, honest!

Learn How to Cook

Cooking from scratch really is the number one way to keep your food budget down. There’s no point attempting to cut down on your spending when you still rely on Uncle Ben for your rice or Pataks for your curry sauce. Put the jars down and pick up some tinned tomatoes, curry powder and some cumin and chilli and there you have it! A very basic curry sauce that you can use as a base to expand on. I understand that cooking rice is difficult but when microwave rice is £1 a pop and 1kg of rice is 50p, the difficulty of watching a pan boil is worth the weight on your purse.

Plan Ahead

There’s a reason why Santa Clause makes a list and checks it twice and that is because when you need to buy presents for that many children, a list is the most cost-effective way of achieving your goals. The same thing applies here to food. If you plan ahead what you need to get, you won’t just be buying food, but you’ll be buying meals. There is no worse pain than standing in front of your fridge looking at a carrot, some eggs and some cream cheese and wondering what to have for dinner. Besides, in the process of making a list you won’t be tempted by food that you want in the moment but don’t want at home. As fun as buying a pineapple seems at the time, will you really be saying the same thing when it’s been on your kitchen counter for 6 days? Possibly yes, but probably not. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail and all that jazz.

Posted in Lucy