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Healthy eating at university

Published Sunday, 07 December, 2014 by Tiffany Rawling

I know you think this is probably impossible to do, but it really isn’t with a little bit of thought and preparation!

When you are attending lectures and revising for upcoming exams, the last thing you want to do every night when you get in is cook an actual meal and each week do a big food shop. It becomes the norm to just pick up what you need on your way home each day from a corner shop or express supermarket but this will be costing you much more money than doing a weekly food shop. Supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl are on the rise and becoming more and more popular. Shopping here could get you plenty of packs of fresh meat, fresh fruit and vegetables, snacks and drinks all for under £20. This would mean when you are hungry you already have a full fridge and cupboards waiting for you, much more convenient and purse friendly.

One great idea for busy weeks at uni is to spend a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday and batch cook some meals. You can do this with so many things, like Bolognese, Chilli and Curry. They can be put in the freezer and just brought out whenever you want them, all you have to do is heat them up and maybe cook something like pasta, rice or vegetables to go alongside it. You will feel much better for it, you can pack these full of healthy ingredients and if you eat well it will help you physically and mentally. Eating takeaways and drinking lots of alcohol may be great for the first few weeks while you are adjusting to the lifestyle and meeting new people but it just isn’t sustainable all year round when you are working towards a degree. Your mind needs to be in the best shape possible and eating well will really affect it. You’ll notice a huge difference.

A good incentive to get cooking is to invest in some student recipe books. There are so many out there, you will be spoilt for choice! I bought one that was on offer a few years ago and I still have it and look to it for some inspiration. A good thing about a student cookbook is that they will have budget friendly meals inside. You won’t have to be spending a lot of money on the ingredients, a lot of the recipes feature things you will probably already have. If you are wanting to get one under a fiver, I would suggest the Good Food: Easy Student Dinners Triple Tested Recipes available for £3.49 at WHSmith. The Good Food books always have some great recipes and this one features your staple meals that won’t take long at all. There is also the 100 Everyday Recipes Student Cookbook available at Amazon for £4.24. Though if you want a book which costs a little bit more, the Ultimate Student Cookbook is great. This is from WHSmith and is one I have myself. There are basic recipes but also some with a bit of a twist, no more boring beans on toast! You’ll also be able to find loads of cookbooks, budget and student friendly on eBay, some are as cheap as 99p!

To finish here is a simple recipe for a Chilli Con Carne. This is something which can be cooked up in about half an hour and is a great one for batch cooking. I often make this in bulk and freeze it!

Ingredients:

  • 250g beef mince

  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes

  • 1 OXO

  • 250ml boiling water

  • 1 cup of rice

  • 1 tsp chilli powder (or more depending how hot you like it)

  • 1 tsp cumin powder

  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  • 1. Brown the mince in a hot pan in a little bit of oil.

  • 2. When the mince is cooked, add the tin of chopped tomatoes and stir. Leave to simmer for about 5 minutes while the kettle is boiling.

  • 3. When the kettle is boiled, add to a jug with the OXO cube and mix.

  • 4. Start the rice cooking in a separate pan, add the OXO mix to the chopped tomatoes and mince.

  • 5. Leave it to simmer for around 10 minutes then add the cumin powder, chilli powder and some salt and pepper, leave again for another 10 minutes.

Serve with the rice then whatever is left of the chilli, leave to cool in the pan. This can then be separated into portions and put into the freezer!

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