Wednesday, 24 February 2016
Moving out and looking after yourself for the first time is hard, right? Cooking and cleaning for yourself along with juggling 9-5 uni and Netflix binges can seem difficult at times. But now you're thrown out into the big wide world without Mum's cooking to come home to every night. I've always been into my food. I'm not a fussy eater, never have been, never will be. But when it came down to considering what I was going to fuel myself with at Uni I gave it some great thought. It's really important to me to look after my body and get all the nutrients I really need, (or at least try). However, i'm a student and I needed to figure out a way of eating well without breaking the bank. Here's what i've learnt so far:
1. Stock up. Stock up all the stuff you know will sit in your cupboard and last for months on end. Chopped tomatoes - great to throw in some veggies to make a nice easy tomato sauce. Baked beans - one of my main University food groups. Don't know what to eat? Bread and baked beans you're sorted. It's a classic university food but it's so comforting, quick and easy. Pasta sauces are also a great thing to stock up on. If you've no dinner inspiration put on the hob and boil some pasta and you're good to go. Aldi do some amazing pasta sources so if you're close to one I suggest getting down there and trying some out. The tomato and mozzarella sauce is a 10/10. Porridge oats are another big thing for me. I loooooove porridge. So easy and tasty! As well as being cheap as chips. Porridge is also a great foundation to add fruit to - another quick and easy way to making sure you're getting all the goodness your bod needs. My personal favourite is banana porridge. Deeeeelicious. A bag of porridge and a bunch of bananas my brekky is sorted for a week. I also recommend stocking up on seasoning at Uni. They help make the same old more interesting. My staple seasonings would be basil, pepper and chili flakes. Cinnamon is also good especially for things like porridge.
2. Your freezer is your new best friend. I've never appreciated the brilliance of food preservation as much as I have since starting University. I buy some of my fruit frozen so it lasts longer; this also goes for meat and fish. I even freeze my bread. I'm somebody that likes a variation but I always find I forget about things and by the time I get around to eating it it's gone off. Hard times. The freezer is also great for storing leftovers. Whenever I make something like a sauce or a pasta bake i'll make a batch of at least two servings. It makes deciding what to eat so much easier and more cost effective!
3. Flexibility. I find it gives you so much more option if you make your meal staples things that can be cooked in a number of different ways. Potatoes are a perfect example. Sweet potatoes are my personal preference. Mashed, baked, roasted even in wedges. In fact sweet potato wedges and ketchup are my weakness.
4. Variation is key. Nobody wants same old every single day, it's boring and you quickly lose interest. Each food shop i'll mix up the veggies I want for that week. I also do this with the main part of my meal. I'll buy a different kind of meat, or as the examples above show sometimes i'll go for something different. The pictures above show spicy bean burgers (Tesco's own and i'd highly recommend) and also the leek and cheese lattice. These are great things to bung in the freezer and come back to in a couple of weeks time to keep mixing up what you're eating.
5. Snacking. Snacking is an important part of my day. I keep yogurt as an easy go-to. I'm also really trying to not reach for the biccies all the time. Dates and peanut butter are a new sweet favourite of mine. Not to everybody's taste I know that, but if you enjoy the fudgey loveliness of a good old date this is a great alternative when you want a sweet treat. Dates are also great because you can buy a bag and they'll keep for a long while without the worry that they'll go bad.
So these are some of the lessons i've learnt when it comes to eating at Uni!