Sunday, 9 July 2017

What University Has Taught Me... | 3. FOOD

One thing that comes with moving to university is having to cook for yourself. Whether you're a fresher moving into Self-catered halls or a Second Year moving into your first flat, you will need to be able to feed yourself something - and no Pot Noodle is not substantial meal (neither is Dominoes every single night!). In this post I'll break down some tips and tricks that I learnt during my first year of university about how to eat relatively healthily and cheaply as a student, enjoy!

(Disclaimer - unfortunately none of the meals I cooked looked like the breakfast above, that is just there for inspo)

Weekly Shops

In my opinion, most students biggest downfall when it comes to food and saving is being unorganised. So, my number one tip is, do a weekly shop! Oh and take a list (being a virgo, lists are my life)!! Last year I got into quite a good routine, where on a sunday I'd sit down and write out what I would have for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the following week (I know I'm a 40 year old Mum living in a 20 year olds shame!). I'd then write out a list of all the things I'd need and head to the shop. By doing this I could generally spend about £20 on food a week, and the only things I'd have to top up on were some vegetables at the end of the week. This also stopped me ordering takeaway most nights as I always had something in the fridge that I could have - healthy and economical! 
Another idea is to make an online shopping order. This is fab if you're quite far away from any supermarket and is also good if you all chip in together as that way you can split the delivery costs. I did this last year and Tescos had an offer on for new customers where you got your first 10 deliveries free from a delivery charge (my student heart just melted!). 

Easy Meals

I learnt all of my cooking skills (of which there are very few...) from my mum and dad, so when I moved out I had a pretty good idea of what to do in a kitchen. But sooo many 18/19 year olds have absolutely no idea where to start. There are so many overwhelming questions that every student needs the answers to... "Does this go in the fridge or cupboard?", "Mum, how long do I boil an egg for?" or the classic, "This chicken went off three months ago but smells ok, will it kill me?"
There are so many easy and quick recipes that you can make to make your life easier at university. My go to every week was to make something that I could then freeze and just re-heat every night. Some examples of recipes are:
For lunches I used to make a big batch of soup on a Sunday and then have that every day, or I would make a big salad and keep it in a large tupperware in the fridge. This was so useful as it stopped me spending even more money in our canteen and it was quite healthy. I did however treat myself to one lunch from the cafe a week - this was usually on a friday when I'd ran out of food!

Sharing Is Caring

If you're in a flat with people you get on with it is always a nice idea to share a little. This could be as simple as sharing milk and bread and rotating who buys it, or having one night a week where you all cook together. Last year my flat and I made a flat roast every other sunday. This cost us about £2-£3 each, and meant we all got at least one big filling meal a week (that consisted of some sort of vegetable!). The first time we did this everyone got involved in the cooking, which was fab but a bit hectic, so we changed it up and found it was best for one or two people to do all the cooking and the rest do the washing up afterwards. On the weeks where we didn't cook, we would all go out and do something together, for example we went to the beach and had fish and chips or went to the cinema. It was such a nice break and I'd seriously recommend it!

Next year, the girls and I are going to all cook together on a Monday and make it 'Veggie Mondays' as my friend is vegetarian. I actually can't wait to try some new meals and it will also be a nice break from the stress of deadlines and revision. 

Meal Prepping

A year ago, when someone said 'Meal Prep' all I thought of were body builders preparing boxes and boxes of chicken and vegetables and stacking them high in their fridges. But fear not, its actually not like that, as I discovered last year! Meal Prepping saved me last year, and I won't be changing anything next year! All I do is every Sunday I make a batch of something to last me the week, portion it out into tupperware (the ones you get in a Chinese takeaway are perfect!) and then pop them in my freezer. Then, every morning I grab one out of the freezer and put it in the fridge to defrost, or I put it in the microwave on the defrost button in the evening. All I have to do along side that is cook some vegetables in a pan and its all done - in literally 5 minutes! It also saves washing up (bonus!), and gives me more time in the evenings to do other things. 

So that's it! I hope some of these tips were helpful for anyone starting university in September or wanting to change their eating habits in the new term. 

Lots of love, Katie xo

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