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Eating well on the cheap

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How to eat healthily without stretching the student budget

Eating healthy, cheaply and tastily is often considered beyond arm’s reach for students. However, these tips can help make sure you’re well fed rather than well strapped for cash.

Hit the market

Mums may love Iceland, but chances are you won’t get the same amount of change from a bunch of bananas as you would from a market stall. And no matter how many points you tally up on your Tesco club card, customer loyalty at your local market goes much further than half price tickets to Alton Towers (especially if you can’t afford to go whether they’re reduced or not).

Stall holders are often happy to offer recipes and cooking advice and will even save you certain cuts of meat if you’re a regular.

There are also sweet-treat bargains, cereals and enough baking products to find yourself in contention for the next series of Great British Bake-Off. Market fruit and veg tends to go off quicker than supermarket bought stuff, so it’s best to visit every few days rather than once a week – but it’s still quicker than fighting the Saturday ASDA crowds!

Don’t be a brand snob

Your cupboards at home might only stock Walkers but at University it’s time to leave Lineker on the shelf.

Supermarkets have an increasing range of own and value-branded ranges which taste just as good as the high-end products, if not better. Aim to grab what’s on offer rather than what you’re used to.

 That said, don’t let 3-for-2s tempt you to buy in bulk if they’re only going to go to waste.

Those who eat together, save together

If possible, you could establish a meal rota with your flatmates. If one person cooks each night it works out far cheaper, often a lot tastier and means you’re less likely to resort to frozen pizzas two or three times a week. You’ll save time and most likely not have to wash up after yourself every night. And just think of the oven shelf jostling and hob claiming cooking together will save! Doing this just a few evenings each week can make a massive difference to your bank balance and there’s no harm in flat mates warming their dinner up if they happen to be home later.

Lunch box it

Bringing your lunch with you, or nipping home in between lectures can make a huge difference to how much you spend on food during the day.

Sandwiches and salads are quick and easy to make either in the morning or the night before, or think about cooking bigger portions of stirfry or pasta dishes for tea to box and bag for the next day.

Don’t forget about snacks too – you can buy up to four chocolate bars for the price of one in the library vending machine.

If you stick to these tips you’ll find being away from home and limited funds are no excuse for not eating properly. Who knows, you might enjoy buying and cooking everything you eat more than you expect (or it might just make you appreciate your parents cooking that little bit more).

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Don't forget! (Another helpful tip)
    I am a student Nurse, and after cooking a meal I often have leftover fruit and veg, which I pour into my blender and make a 1ltr smoothie out of a day, this smoothie keeps me full and contains recycled (fruit/veg/nuts) which otherwise could be thrown away, leaving me full and more energy as their is less strain on my digestive system to process and breakdown food.

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