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Eating habits at University

Published Friday, 30 May, 2014 by Beth Bradshaw

Whether you’ve been living in halls or shared housing the past eight months or so or finishing your first, second or even final year at university – all students are sure to experience similar pleasures but also perils of the typical ‘student lifestyle’. Now many of us are back in the safety of our parental homes and away from the buzz of uni life, we may come to realise how much our habits and behaviour have changed since we left. Either that or your parents point them out with slight concern…

Eating habits are one of the biggest changes students’ experience, because for most of our lives our parents set out when and what we eat. Where some articles place blame for the infamous ‘fresher’s flab’ and the unhealthy eating habits of students down to stress – I think there are a range of factors to blame.

To start with, there’s no Mum or Dad to tell you what you can and can’t eat, and at first – it feels great. The freedom of being able to eat whatever you want whenever you want can be quite a buzz at first. For some, the novelty of consecutive take aways wears off but for others, it’s a continuous unhealthy habit that not only your parents but your bank account is horrified by. Poor eating habits in students can also be down to dis-organised routines, the big loans that deceive you into thinking you’re rich, changes in sleeping patterns and the inability to cook a decent meal! So take caution, as poor eating habits have been proven to impact on your academic performance with poor concentration, memory and motivation – so try to kick some of these habits ASAP or before you start uni again in September.

As I’m sure you’re all aware, at university, set meal times go out the window for a start, and many weird but not wonderful eating habits follow. Are you guilty or can you recognise a few? Here are a few my flatmates, friends and I have experienced over the last eight months or so…

  • Having grated cheese on just about every meal and a big pile of it too. This is one of my biggest downfalls as cheese is probably one of my favourite foods, but on a chicken stew – really? Not needed (and gross)!
  • Those students that think eating cereal is acceptable at any time of day but having numerous bowls is also ok too… If you say so!
  • Saving on washing up by any means possible, for example, drinking the communal milk out of the carton… who needs glasses anyway!
  • Eating around or cutting off the mould on your bread or cheese, then wondering why you were up all night with a bad stomach.
  • Snacking at meal times, which your Mum would always be there to stop you (“you’ll spoil your appetite!”). Or making a snack that is a meal in itself… then eating a real meal a few hours later.
  • Eating a single strawberry, grape or blueberry and being satisfied with your attempt at eating your 5-a-day. According to one survey, 13% of students think wine counts towards their 5-a-day, now that is a poor excuse…
  • Staring at your cupboards full of food and whining you have nothing to eat. No – you do, you just can’t be bothered to cook it!
  • Kidding yourself you have no time to cook a decent meal because you have too much work to do… then spend two hours scrolling through Facebook, Twitter and every other possible social media channel.
  • Not so much an eating habit but occurs in almost every single student kitchen in the UK if not the world… The leaning tower of black bin bags. At first, I thought it was the man’s job to take out the rubbish. However, I soon came to realise it would be a standoff between all flatmates (no matter the gender) as to who’s turn it is to take down the bin. Apparently, it’s never anyone’s turn – hence the smelly, big pile of bin bags in the corner of the kitchen.
  • Finally, the ritual kebab stop on the way home from a night out. Some divert their taxis just so they can drop in at their favourite take out. I hear many students say the greasy take away is the best bit about their night… surely their doing something wrong.

Remember – Studentrecipes.com is written by students for students – banish those take away menus and get cooking!

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