It is not surprising to hear that the average student gains two stone during their university years. With a combination of heavy drinking, study stress and living on Pot Noodles, you can fall into a routine full of bad habits. There are many simple ways in which you can make sure you don’t get stuck in an unhealthy rut at uni and start getting into those good eating habits.
Get A Recipe Book
This is most probably going to be the best option to start you off. Choose the recipe book wisely, one that requires gourmet ingredients probably isn’t going to do the job. You need a recipe book that covers the basics, how to make a bolognese sauce for example, and that doesn’t require meals to cook for 3 hours before you can eat them. ‘Nosh For Students’ is one of our personal favourites when it comes to a student friendly recipe book, also ‘Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals’ is well worth a read too. It is quite amazing what you can rustle up in just quarter of an hour.
Avoid Ready Meals
Ready meals are full of hidden salt, sugar and fat so avoid them at all costs. Once you are armed with your recipe book you shouldn’t even need to visit them in the supermarket aisles. Get yourself some tupperware boxes in a variety of sizes and you will be able to make your own ready meals which you can freeze and eat for dinner another time. This is also one of our top money saving tips – getting three or four portions out of one batch of ingredients means you can eat for nearly a whole week.
Choose Whole Wheat
Whole wheat foods (brown pasta, rice, bread etc) are now widely available in supermarkets everywhere. You’ll find that rice, pasta and bread will become your meal staples and this subtle change from white to brown will make sure you are getting healthier options. One of the main differences between white and brown is that brown will have more fibre, which is easily digested, so lower in calorie content.
Make sure you add vegetables or salads to your meals. You can prepare fresh vegetables or buy them frozen. It has been widely reported that frozen vegetables are in fact healthier than fresh because they have retained more of their vitamins and minerals by being frozen. It is an added bonus that you can buy frozen veggies for a lot cheaper than fresh veg, but either will definitely be healthier than adding chips to every meal.
Make Your Sauces
As we said before, it is surprisingly easy to make your own bolognese sauce. Combining onions, tinned tomatoes, garlic and a few other bits and bobs makes a delicious sauce that is cheap, tasty and healthy. You know how much salt you are adding (if you need to add any at all) and you find there is absolutely no need to add any sugar, which is what you often find in a jar of shop bought bolognese sauce. Once you master making your own with tinned tomatoes you have the base sauce for lasagne and chilli con carne too. For the chilli con carne, just add some chilli and kidney beans for the Mexican kick. Leading on from this, the chilli sauce is then the base for tacos, fajitas and enchiladas! So learning how to make that simple sauce gives you loads of meal possibilities.
If you really think you are not getting all the essential nutrients from your diet then there are many vitamin supplements which you can take to help you out. Vitamin C is great for protecting cells and keeping them healthy and vitamin D helps keep your immune system functioning properly. Omega 3 is something you find in fish oils, but say for example, you don’t like fish, you can take a supplement to still get all the benefits. Fish oils are reportedly really important for your brain’s memory and performance which is a bonus when you’re studying hard.