Staying healthy on a student budget.
As a student myself on a part time budget at minimum wage I understand the fustration of keeping to budget with food and how to keep healthy as well.
The most fustrating thing I have started to notice around our supermarkets is that the healthier goods tend to be more than products with higher sugar content, not to mention with fruit and veg you have to get the individal ingrediants for most dishes not just the one in order to make it as flavoursome and healthy as possible so whats the alternative? Buying cheap ready meals overloaded with salt and not needed saturates ‘because it’s cheaper’ ‘because it’s easier.’ Sound like you? This is me on the odd lazy occassion too, generally after an unexpected 8 hour work shift or long uni day but the days I’m not due in lectures until late? My days off in the week? That’s for shopping and cooking so I’ve come up with a few alternatives to your lazy day meals.
First off, breakfast. As this is one of my favourite meals I have two suggestions for this.
1-You want a quick go-to breakfast for those hellish 9 o’clock lectures? I think these bevita biscuits are brilliant. They’re only a £1 and store really well, you get 6 packets of 4 in the boxes and release energy really slowly much like a bowl of cereal would without the faff of milk and cereal in the morning adding a not needed 15 minutes to your breakfast routine. I find flapjacks work just as well but this is a personal favourite of mine (and the offer doesn’t seem to be dropping anytime soon 🙂 Link below for those who shop at Asda. http://groceries.asda.com/product/breakfast-biscuits/belvita-breakfast-biscuits-milk-and-cereals/910000209292
2-A long lay-in until your afternoon lecture? Brilliant. You just need to give yourself 30 minutes to get ready for this one (you can sleep in after the lecture, who doesn’t?) An easy healthy tasty breakfast I can also suggest is Special K’s (5 grains) porridge. Much like Bevita above there is more flavours in this range too for those not keen on pomergrante, apple, blackcurrent and pumpkin seeds. As you can tell this is great for you and only for £1.50. Just simply pour the oats into your breakfast bowl, use the sachet to measure your milk and bung in the microwave for 30 secs-1 min. I tend to have mine with grapes (little preperation) and agve necter, a healthier honey/sugar alternative but obviously it is what you make it. I just think this is soo good, I couldn’t not mention it. http://groceries.asda.com/product/sachets-boxes-bags/kelloggs-special-k-super-porridge-5-grains-apple-blackcurrant-pumpkin-seeds/910001960253
We’re going to leave lunch as I tend to struggle with what to eat and if I don’t have a lecture around this time I tend to sleep…(did I mention that?)
However, dinner? The possibilities are endless and where all my money goes trying to come up with foody creations. In my halls I’m rightfully known as owning a ‘spice cupboard’ as I like all my herbs and spices in my teeny tiny cupboard. The way I saved money on this was my parents and I went on a food shop at the start of the year and just got the basics; salt, pepper, italian mixed spices, chilli grinder. As the year goes on I plan to build this (if my tea collection didn’t take up so much space!) but it’s these basics that make my meals that much more exciting. I always season my meats with salt and pepper at the start of every meal. If I’m making a chinese dish I also have sweet chilli sauce and hoi sin (bought on offer) on the side too (as shown above.) So, because of this and I think everyone needs to have some flavour in their lives I have made a list of all the cupboard basics that might come in useful with your cooking regime;
- Salt grinder
- Pepper grinder
- Italian seasoning
- Chicken stock cubes
- Veg stock cubes (you’d be surprised how many recipes they can be used in)
- Rice (try wholegrain rice with quinoa as alternative to egg fried/batsami)
- Noodles (Blue Dragon organic noodles are often on offer and worth looking out for)
These are just a few basics to get you going but worth looking out for 🙂
As for full meals I tend to make sweet chilli chicken as my safe dish as it literally takes 10 minutes (+5 minutes if you have to wait for the hob to warm up.)
Simply, fry off chicken in a medium heat and season to taste. Once it’s golden brown add your veg (mine tends to be spring onion, garlic and lemongrass http://groceries.asda.com/product/stir-fry-vegetables/asda-growers-selection-thai-selection/405096 )
Then after a minute, add your sauce. Personally I change between terayaki, sweet chilli and hoi sin.
Bung in your microwave rice (I use wholgrain and quinoa everytime)
And serve 🙂
For those meals that last longer, I sometimes make quorn spag bol and save the cooked mince and sauce for another day. Additionally, you can make a one pot pie simply by frying off your meat and seasoning in a frying pan whilst boiling veg in a saucepan.
Boil the kettle and stir up your chosen stock and granules in a measuring jug or mug.
Add to meat.
Drain off and add the veg from the saucepan.
Let all the ingrediants simmer for 5-10 mins and season to taste.
In the meantime roll out your ready-made pastry and cut to size of your dish.
Pour ingrediants into the dish and cover with your pastry, brushing with milk for a golden finish.
Wash up and stick pie in oven for 30-40 mins.
Thank you so much for reading. I understand this is a bit of a longer post than usual but hope it’ll give you ideas for healthier alternatives when cooking at uni and home. The key with healthier eating, is just substitute your products to fit your budget. Need more veg? Get less or cheaper alternatives to sweet snacks such as the ‘value’ ranges. Milk? Almond milk is great if you can spare a £1 depending on how much milk you use. Breakfast? Granola bars or granola with fat free yorghut with fruit. Meat? Try quorn or other ‘free from’ ranges. There is a possiblility of change in everything, try today 🙂