Chloe's top tips for eating well as a student

As a student your days are often busy with lectures, seminars, studying and revision, so it can be difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In this blog, undergraduate student Chloe shares her top tips for eating well as a student.

Just before I headed off to university, my parents armed me with pots and pans, a repertoire of home-cooked food recipes, (forced) kitchen experience and a book titled ‘Nosh for Students’. I think I was more prepared than any soldier heading to war. Parents and others alike often associate student life with poor eating habits but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way – eating well isn’t something that requires great amounts of additional effort. I’ve found that just by following these few tips, I’ve managed to lead an eating lifestyle that would make my parents proud.

Plan your meals for the week ahead

When I say plan, I mean really get down to doing it. Have a list of dishes or meals that you plan to make for the week ahead. You can write it down on a post-it note and stick it on your fridge, or you can just have a list on your mobile phone like I do. I find that having a set list of dishes planned for the week ahead reduces the chances of you ordering quick and unhealthy takeaway food when you’re stumped as to what to eat for dinner. You don’t necessarily have to list down in detail what dish to cook on what day of the week, but make sure that you have sufficient meal options to choose from so that there isn’t a day left with a blank option.

Make sure your fridge is well stocked with fresh food

Very much similar to the first tip, it’s all about smart planning. If you find your fridge empty a few days before your planned trip to the supermarket, you will very likely decide to just skip a meal (which isn’t healthy for you) or order takeaway food (which isn’t healthy for your wallet).

Cook with your housemates

Maybe you already eat every meal with your housemates but, if you don’t, it’s worth agreeing upon a time to come together and cook. Cooking with your housemates makes it more challenging for you to back out of a proper meal due to laziness or the temptation of an easy fix. As a bonus, you’ll get an opportunity to bond with your housemates; this has been particularly important to me during the COVID-19 pandemic where we have all had less human interaction.

Eat at regular times

Eating at fixed times every day has been shown to be good for your digestive system, so make sure that you drop everything else you are doing when it’s time for your meal. Meals should come as a priority above all else, even if you are currently ‘in the zone’ and writing an essay. It’s not worth disrupting your eating schedule because of work because it leads to other bad habits such as snacking to compensate for a missed meal. If you consume food at fixed, regular times you’ll find that you snack less because you’ll be sufficiently full throughout the day.

Try healthy alternatives

Instead of picking your normal go-to cereal, why not pick a healthier brand instead? Every week, when you go grocery shopping, substitute out one of your usual food choices for a healthier option instead. Healthier doesn’t always mean bland. There are so many products that are ‘low in sugar’ and ‘low in salt’ that are still tasty. Personally, this is my favourite tip because this is also an exciting way for me to try new products. It also helps me to stop eating the same things all the time. This small little tip prompts me to explore new and interesting food options that I probably would have overlooked in the past. Trust me, what the alternative option lacks in sugar and salt, it compensates by adding just that little bit of spice into your life!

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