Healthy Eating on a Student Budget

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Moving to University is an exciting time; you might have more freedom to make choices than ever before. It’s easy to overlook some of the more practical aspects of leaving home – like your diet and eating sensibly, but research has shown the food you eat can have an impact on how your mind and body work.

As a student, you need to eat the right fuel for your body for a very busy time in your life – being at university can be an excellent opportunity to create healthy lifetime eating habits.

What is healthy eating?

Healthy eating means ‘eating a variety of foods that give you the nutrients you need to maintain your health, feel good, and have energy’. The Eatwell Guide recommends eating a varied diet to get the correct balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, in the form of foods that are good for you.

Whilst it might be tempting to fall into the habit of take-out and ready meals, with just a bit of forward planning, you can find a healthy diet that works for you without too much time, effort or expense.

Why is eating well important?

Eating a healthy, balanced diet not only helps us look and feel good, it helps us to stay healthy. The way that we eat can also have a big effect on how we feel. Whilst unhealthy foods may satisfy the palate, a well-balanced diet can give you the right amount of energy and stamina that you need; take a look at MIND’s Food and Mood for more information and advice.

Eating well during self-isolation

It is important that you have enough food to last 14 days in case you, or a flat mate, becomes ill and you have to self-isolate. There are also a number of supermarkets offering home delivery and essential food boxes, which contain a selection of essential items. If you are living in Treforest halls of residence, there are three meal plan options available to you while you are self-isolating.

Tips for eating healthy on a budget

Eating well doesn’t need to break the bank, with a few tricks eating healthily can actually be economical and cost less than the average spend on a takeaway.

  • Plan ahead – mobile apps, such as Yummly will make shopping lists for you based on what you plan to eat.

  • Budget weekly – cutting back on a few luxuries will make a big difference to your food budget.

  • Try not to shop when hungry – you’ll be less likely to make impulse purchases.

  • Cook from scratch – preparing and cooking your own meals is both cheaper and healthier.

  • Learn to use seasonings – they can turn something plain into something delicious at very little cost.

  • Cook extra portions – what you don’t eat, you can freeze or have the next day for lunch.

  • Small changes can make a big difference – change your white rice for brown, granulated sugar for honey, white bread for grain. These simple changes will cost relatively little and will have a positive effect on your wellbeing.

Healthy Eating Recipes & Resources

5 A Day on the go– We’re often told we need to eat 5 fruit and veg a day, but what really counts?

BBC Good Food Student Recipes – Cheap and cheerful, simple-to-make student recipes. 

BBC Food, Student Food – Easy recipes that won’t break the bank and are great for novice cooks. – Great tasting, nutritious meals on a budget.

The Food Medic: Educational Hub – Everything from mental health to nutrition.

Cooking on a Bootstrap – the #1 budget recipe website.

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