Pizza for tea, lunch and even for breakfast. The daily intake of a student. Ok, maybe not for breakfast, but the point is that students are notorious for loving cheap and cheerful meals, regardless of their nutritional value. It’s hard not to love tucking into a good kebab from time to time but eat out every day and you may find your student loan diminishing quite quickly, and perhaps gaining pounds elsewhere. Fortunately, it is in fact possible to maintain a well-balanced diet on a low budget, without opting for the fast-food and ready meal options! I’m going to share with you some of my tips on how you can maintain a healthy and enjoyable diet whilst at university.
My first piece of advice, which has already been touched upon, is to limit take outs to once or twice a week. Right from your first week, Dominoes will try to hook you in through free pizza and some attractive exclusive student offers. It’s very easy to make it a habit of getting a delivery order a few times a week, and not only is this not the healthiest approach but it is also far from the most cost effective either. This is not to say never eat out however, Lancaster has a range of fantastic restaurants and takeaways that are definitely worth trying out.
There are a tonne of low cost and healthy meals that you can make yourself whilst at university. The best thing is that you don’t have to be a fantastic cook to do so either. I know some students who are put off from cooking and trying new dishes at university as they doubt their own skills in the kitchen. However, the truth of the matter is that even if you have done very little cooking prior to university, there are some things that are still very simple to make.
I’d recommend a well-balanced range of food, so make sure you aren’t just piling on the carbs, but you have a mix of protein, fats, and vitamins. Pasta is a very straightforward, enjoyable, cheap, and potentially nutritious meal that many students opt for. Make sure to throw in some veg (onions, garlic and pepper tend to go quite well together). You will most likely be using a ready-made sauce from the jar, but maybe even try making the sauce yourself after a few goes. Using chopped tomatoes can often be a much healthier alternative to ready-made sauce.
Other healthy and uncomplicated options include stir-fries, Caesar salads, and sweet potato wedges. For you vegetarians and vegans, lentil soup and chickpea curry are two very easy dishes that have a load of health benefits, and they provide a good source of protein. If you don’t fancy cooking, instead of heading straight for the fast-food outlets, give some of the University’s healthier outlets a go. You will find that they will tend to use locally-sourced ingredients, and offer plenty of vegan choices.