Uni Survival Guide – Food for Thought

As a graduate, I know what you’ll be going through come September, or now, if you haven’t yet mastered the art of living on a diet of quick-cook noodles and beans. I know the endless procrastination of whether you have the time or the energy to cook a meal versus a takeaway or nuking the nearest ready-made meal. I’m here to help, so step away from that dodgy-looking gas hob and have a read of this before you venture into the unforgiving world of frying pans and oven mitts.

When you’re a student, you tend to look at food like it’s a never-ending battle which, if survived, rewards you with a fairly satisfactory meal. Now, I can’t help you with your sword-skills, but I can give you your weapons. First off, arm yourself with lots of knowledge. Food doesn’t come cheap, so it’s always good to do your research. Lidl, Asda and Aldi are all pretty cheap supermarkets (and no, I’m not being paid for product placement) but if there’s not one within walking distance (or driving distance if you have a car with you), you may have to go elsewhere. Many supermarkets now have loyalty cards, perhaps the most successful being the Tesco Clubcard and the Nectar card, so please make sure you grab yourself one. It will guarantee to save you a few pounds.

Secondly, you need to sort out your diet and your wallet/purse by avoiding pre-made stuff at all costs; Pizzas, takeaways, ready-meals, all that kind of thing are all to be written off, because it’s way cheaper for you to make it yourself. Also, you’ll find that branded foods are a lot more expensive than if you buy the supermarket’s own label. I know it’s boring, but always shop around a bit, because there might just be a bit of meat in that discount section that you can cook that night, only it’ll be half price. Cheaper options for stuff like curry sauce can also be found in different sections of the supermarket; try looking in the world foods aisle instead of the chiller section for sauces and you’ll be surprised what you can find that is cheaper and has a longer best before date. Oh, and the freezer section is a Godsend. Most of my Uni life was spent eating Tesco value meat with defrosted vegetables, a bit of sauce and some pasta. Though it’s not michelin-star dining, it fills a hole, and it’s pretty quick to cook, too.

On that last note, half the battle with food is the speed it takes to cook it. You don’t have the time to ensure fire safety while your roast is in the oven for three hours, and your housemates won’t appreciate you hogging the oven, either, so quick meals are key. Half an hour meals include; Chilli Con Carne, Curries, anything concerning pasta, oven-bake pies and freezer food, gammon steaks and the mother of potatoes, the waffle. If you stab a potato a few times, wrap it in some kitchen roll and blast it for 10 minutes in the microwave, you’ll have a perfectly  tasty jacket potato, too.

I know it’s all very well me saying that you need to make your own food, but you will surrender to the ease of ready meals once or twice, and I won’t blame you for it. At least now you are prepared for the battle ahead. Good Luck.

Click to comment
To Top