Eating healthily is a conscious choice for many, but as we try and juggle the cost of a social life as well the necessities, can we really afford that hoard of fresh fruit and vegetables? The busy nature of student life, partnered with those ever-dwindling funds mean that straying towards those quick and easy oven chips seems a logical choice. So the question is, can you easily be healthy on a student budget? Imogen Byers and Harriet Martin talk it out…
I am a healthy eater. I will put that straight. I do not like eating countless amounts of junk and fast food and yes, it may be strange but I would prefer to sit down to a chicken salad instead of greasy fish and chips. However, since coming to university I have found myself restricted in maintaining my healthy habits. Walking around any supermarket, it is easy to see that a shop preparing for a meal with fresh vegetables and some sort of protein will end up costing over double what several frozen pizzas may get you. Boom, first hurdle to my healthy quest: the cost. Besides, I help justify my unhealthy choices by the argument that keeping vegetables fresh requires time for meal planning and fridge space, neither of which I have much of. Second obstacle: time. Finishing lectures late, it’s raining, I’m tired, I’m hungry and to make matters worse I have to be out the door in 20 minutes to go off and do ‘insert activity here’. Opening the fridge, the obvious choices pop out, but do I have the time to prepare something, eat it, wash up and get ready? Alternatively, would a quick subway on the way give me more time to mentally prepare myself for the evening’s events and make me a better person? With the many easy food alternatives right on my Cathays doorstep, it would be a shame to miss out on the multiple dining experiences, would it not?
Bish, Bash, Bosh…Cheap, Healthy, Nosh!
A common belief is that time, money, and effort all act as constraints on a student’s food choices, however a few simple switches and being a savvy shopper means it’s far from difficult to achieve a healthy lifestyle. It’s a simple case of turning a boring jacket potato, into nutritious sweet potato wedges, still cheap but more interesting: The Shabby Chic diet, that’s available to everyone.
You don’t have to conform to the stereotypical student diet ‘beans on toast’ or ‘pesto pasta’, just because it takes approximately 30 seconds to make, there are plenty of healthy meals that are equally quick. For example a splash of inspiration from Jamie Oliver’s 20-minute meals and a dollup of advice from your loving mother, can help you produce mouth-watering meals in minutes such as: cous-cous, stuffed peppers, spinach and cauliflower Thai curry, or a halloumi and falafel wrap.