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Food Shopping On A Student Budget

Ahhh, that student life, don’t we all know and love it? Wearing about ten layers to avoid putting the heating on, walking the long journey up Derby Road to avoid spending £1.70 on a bus (still fuming they increased the prices) and going to random society meetings just for the free pizza… 

 

 

But how do make sure we are eating well and staying healthy without breaking the bank on chia seeds and quinoa? Here’s some tips to look after yourself while not dipping too far into that overdraft…

 

Lidl. Yes, Sainsbury’s is literally right in the heart of Lenton but truly, walking that 15 minutes more to Lidl or Aldi is so worth it! They do the exact same food but at half the price: with the cheapest fruit and veg. Lidl do boxes every now and again full of fruit and veg for only £5 to make sure you are still getting all your vitamins and minerals even when you have no dolla.

 

Brands are overrated. This does depend on what you’re buying (let’s be honest, even when you’re a student it had to be Heinz Ketchup) but for things especially like tins of chickpeas and chopped tomatoes, if you choose supermarket own brands or just random names you can get them for like 20p rather than 75p. The same for soya milk – Alpro charge around £1.50 whilst Growers Harvest soya milk in Tesco is 59p. Bargain. 

 

Frozen products are your best friend. Trust me, if you think that you might be able to freeze it, you probably can. Bread, rice and even eggs (!!) can be frozen, so quit just throwing all you excess food (aka money) in the bin. Be inventive: when my bananas are going off, I chop them up and freeze them so I can stir and cook them into porridge later in the week. Also buying frozen fruit and veg is super helpful and more cost effective – frozen avocados and frozen spinach are both way cheaper and keep for way longer, and can be used in smoothies or stirred into cooked meals. So, brave the temperature and head towards the frozen section for your next big shop. 

 

Share meals. Okay, I appreciate this only works if you live in a house where you know that this task will actually be shared, and someone isn’t going to serve you all beans on toast on their cooking night. BUT if you know that this can be done fairly then cooking for two is often way cheaper than one, AND you get a night off cooking once in a while. But, if this is impossible in your house (it is in mine with 1 vegan, 1 dairy free, 1 veggie and 4 meat-lovers) then cook recipes for two or four anyway and just freeze it for later in the week. Alternatively, just have an enormous portion of pasta in one-sitting. 

 

 

Be wary of offers. So contrary to normal advice, but I would advise not really looking at reductions and deals. The reason being is sometimes the offers aren’t even that good. I’ve seen shops offering reductions of 20p, but we often find ourselves buying things we don’t want or need just because that bright yellow reduced sticker is jumping out at us. Yes, that tub of Ben and Jerrys was £4 instead of £5.50 but would you really have bought it had it not been for that £1.50 less? Of course, have a wee look and if something you need is reduced then happy days! But if the yellow sticker section is full of just unhealthy treats and ready meals you don’t need, then be strong and walk on.

 

Take your vitamins! While we are trying to get all our nutrients from actual food, there is no harm in taking a multivitamin everyday just to give your body a boost of nutrients that it could be lacking. They don’t have to be fancy – you can buy simple multivits in Superdrug or even Wilko. Starting your day with a glass of water and some supplements gives you that healthful boost to get going. 

 

Now where’s my kale smoothie? 

Katy Skillen

Nottingham '22

Hi, I'm a second year nutrition and dietetic student at Uni of Notts, interested in healthy eating and living, body positivity and all things food-related!
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