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. Whether you’ve been managing your diet for years or this is a new experience, you need to make sure you’re eating the right fuel for your body during such a busy time in your life. 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 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. 

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. 

Cookery classes

Whilst it’s easy to find recipes for healthy meals, you may not feel as though you’re equipped to prepare them. If you haven’t had much cooking experience, don’t worry – plenty of students are new to preparing their own food. The Wellbeing Service has put together several cookery classes where you can learn basic skills to help you make your own meals while living away from home.

Contact [email protected] to book your space.

Healthy Eating Recipes & Resources 

Why 5 a day?– 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. 

The Student Food Project – Quick, easy budget recipes.  

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

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

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