When a packet of monster munch costs 40p and an apple costs 75p, an orange juice can set you back £3+ in a bar whilst lurid blue shots cost £1 a go and your local takeaway does a pizza for a fiver that’s big enough to cover at least three meals, you may feel that you’re doomed to three years of unhealthy student living.
Not only does student life naturally make you want to reach for the carbs and the sugar to keep going, but your local shops are always offering tempting treats at much lower prices then the healthy ones, so really what’s a girl to do? The answer: Buy a pot noodle! Well, that’s what I did. About ten minutes ago. Whilst it’s ‘cooking’ (and I’m feeling guilty) I thought I’d advise you all on healthier ways of creating a lunch full of vitamins and nutrients, rather then dried pasta and meat flavoured ‘soya pieces’.
What to buy:
Eggs. Eggs can cost as little as 9p each, but please, I urge you to shop ethically by paying the extra few pence and allowing the free range chickens to enjoy the sun. This will make you a better person, I promise. Eggs are chock full of protein and vitamins – that means healthy bones, glowing skin, great hair and raised energy levels. (Also, egg yolks can be used as hair treatments! Emphasis on ‘can be’. Personally, I’ve not tried it and I’m not particularly convinced, so please don’t do this without researching the method – I accept no blame for your scrambled tresses!)
Bread. Simple, cheap bread can come under 50p a loaf – look out for the reduced bread in supermarkets at the end of the day too. Buy a loaf, section it into twos or fours in sandwich bags or cling film, freeze the sections and only defrost what you need when you need it. This way the bread will last ages without going stale or green and furry. Combine with the egg for a very cheap breakfast, and as a bonus you start the day with the happy feeling gained from eating egg and soldiers like you did when you were a toddler.
Fruit and veg. IT’S A DOG MADE OUT OF A BANANA, IT’S A BANANA DOG!!! Erm, anyway, back to the topic.. Yup,fruit and veg are expensive in comparison with chocolate and cakes.. but they are soooooo much better for you. Chocolate gives you a sugar high and a caffeine fix, but unfortunately both will inevitably also give you a mega comedown, resulting in headaches, sleepiness, lack of concentration and – even worse! – spotty skin. Fruit can provide you with energy (bananas) fibre (mangos, pears, oranges) vitamins, minerals and antioxidants (the things that fight infections or diseases – like fresher’s flu!)
Cheese. Not usually the most healthy or cheap, but a tiny chunk of brie (value brie costs around £1 for 200g) added to a meal will give an extra bit of flavour – I’ve been told its especially good over bacon and pepper spaghetti! BTW, This is not an excuse to cover everything in grated cheddar and call it healthy.. but it IS an excuse to make cute cheese mice….
Carbs. Woohoo – the fun bit! Unfortunately I mean carbs in moderation, and then only the good ones! Stick to whole grain everything – rice, pasta, bread, cereal etc. and you’ll find you have a lot more energy and less bloating then when eating the white flour versions. The bad carbs – biscuits, pizzas, white bread etc. – have barely any vitamins or minerals left in them once they’ve finished being ‘refined’ to that perfect milky shade of blurgh. Stay away! Pasta is a great ingredient, as once cooked it can either be eaten straight away or left to cool for a cold snack later on in the day.
Beans. The good news is BAKED BEANS ARE GOOD FOR YOU! The student staple, baked beans on toast (made with wholegrain bread, keep up at the back), provides a great source of protein. Beans count as the right kind of carbs – the ones that your body will digest slowly – meaning you’ll have energy throughout the day rather than the energy rush you get from a doughnut that fades before you’ve got the sugar off your chin.
Seeds and Pulses. I know, bird food – boring boring boring, and not always cheap. However, a bag of seeds will last you a long time and can be bought cheaply from Coventry Market. Add them to whatever you’re making – I add mine to porridge along with dried fruit – and again you’ll find your energy levels stay high throughout the day. This means that you can concentrate more, work harder and still have the energy to go out and indulge in those pound-a-barf shots…
So, there you go! There are plenty of snack options that can be made with the inexpensive ingredients mentioned above. Flavour can be added with herbs, spices, cheese and seeds, and the snacks could be bulked up by adding meat, veg or quorn. There’s a load of recipes for cheap and healthy meals online – simply screen shot the recipe on your phone and take it shopping with you – or, you know, write a list…
Remember – stay away from the blurgh aisle!!