By Joanna Maria Cunningham
Healthy living at university is a tricky business. I’ve attempted, and mostly failed, to maintain a healthy lifestyle during my time here, and it has certainly been a learning curve. The most important, and frankly devastating, truth I have learnt is that getting older, topped with copious alcohol and the contraceptive pill, DESTROYS your metabolism (a pre-warning for the fresh-faced freshers). Therefore, if you’re someone like me who enjoys food but has minimal money to work off those extra pounds, read on for some tips and tricks to ensure a relatively healthy lifestyle during your uni days.
Firstly, to ensure you have healthy food on tap, and to avoid the devilish crisp and cake aisles, do an online shop at the start of each week. Then, cook large quantities of food so the portions are ready to go. If you also stock up your fridge with healthy snacks, such as rice cakes, houmous and veg (who doesn’t love a bit of houmous), or frozen grapes, you’ll be totally set.
One of the best ways to eat healthily, and actually stick to it, is by creating meal plans. There are thousands of recipe ideas online which can inspire you to utilise healthy ingredients in an interesting and exciting way. Vegetables, vegetables, vegetables are key; packed with fibre, they are a staple in any healthy diet, and it’s so easy to sneak loads of them into any recipe.
Another tip I would truly recommend is leaving the house during the day, even if you have no lectures. This routine will reduce the time spent in your bedroom, removing the temptation of boredom eating, especially if you take a nutritious packed lunch with you! Another great tip is to buy crisp multi-packs for your bedroom so, instead of wasting money and calories on fast-food post night-out, you can snack on crisps, a less greasy alternative. This will subdue your cravings, whilst ensuring you don’t consume your body-weight in Fam Fish.
Home workouts are also a great way to stay healthy, especially in this cold weather when the last thing you want to do is step out of the house for a run. Zumba routines are a fabulous alternative to the gym, and can be found on YouTube as a fun way to keep fit and active. You could also buy a small set of weights to perform weight-training exercises at home; certainly less costly than a gym membership. Nevertheless, just sticking to the basics, such as crunches, leg raises, and squats, will do the trick.
Most importantly, although healthy eating and living is paramount, it is also important to treat yourself. Perhaps just eat a small portion of your favourite snack each day, or maybe have one unhealthy meal at the end of each week; as my Grandpa always says, everything in moderation. By doing all this, you can maintain a positive relationship with food, whilst also living healthy… well, the healthiest one can as a student.