Student Life: Eating on a Budget
Leaving for university might be the first time that a young person has lived away from home. Tom Whale from Oxford Summer School sees a lot of shocked faces as the reality sets in, and his students have only come for a week or so before starting Uni full time. The reality of fending for oneself can be a bit of a shock to the system, but thankfully first-year students tend to live in halls so have some sense of group therapy to work out how to cook baked beans and not burn the toast. Here are some great tips for students planning to leave for a new education experience this autumn.
Try and Get a Balance
While scurvy is an unlikely outcome, it is fair to say that the diet of baked beans on toast doesn’t really cover all of the dietary requirements for food groups and vitamins and minerals. Ok, they are cheap, they do tick that box, but they are not a nutritious meal to live on daily, and you will find you get sick of the sight of them pretty quickly. Try and find a band of staple options that can give you the basics of some meals you can rotate. Microwaves are always popular ways to prepare food, so potatoes and sweet potatoes make great jacket options and can be accompanied by so many other foods you might be onto a winner.
Check Out the Reduced Section
Learn what time your local supermarket makes its reductions for the day and be there if at all possible. You can snag some serious bargains this way, with practically any fresh items on offer from time to time. A ready meal is an expensive way to eat normally but when reduced might well bring the meal in on budget. Of course, having an idea what you want to spend on each meal will help you work out what you can get. Canned goods last longer than fresh but do not have the same vitamin and mineral hit. Most supermarkets do have a budget range of products, and misshapen fruit and veg have become popular, and it really is cheap. Some supermarkets offer a whole boxed of mixed fresh items for a fiver just because they are out of shape. Work with your friends and split the cost.
Use Your Nose
It could be argued that if you don’t give yourself food poisoning at least once as a student, you are not trying hard enough, but seriously it can be avoided. Your nose is a good indicator, and you need to keep an eye on the dates given on the packaging. Learn the difference between best before, which means it could be safe a couple days later after inspection, and use by which tends to be a lot strict and should be obeyed if you do not want to be sick later. Having a freezer is a godsend but might not be possible, so store food with care and don’t leave leftovers for more than 48 hours in a fridge.