Healthy Student Living Without Breaking the Bank

There is always the argument that it's hard to eat healthily because it’s expensive, time consuming and just not feasible. In reality it's really not as difficult as we may think to eat well. It's not about depriving yourself, it's about doing your body well so that it can do you well (and help you in your quest to pass your exams). With coughs and sneezes rife in lecture halls this time of year, it's very important that we get some nutritional goodness in our diets - and I'm here to tell you how to do just that without spending a pretty penny.

1. Jazz up your breakfast

A really easy way to get those 5-a-day is by adding fruit to your standard morning meal. Try berries & bananas with granola, or apple & cinnamon in porridge. For extra brownie points add a sprinkle of seeds on top - my favourites are chia and pumpkin for added brain power. Not a cereal kind of girl? Banana and nut butter on wholemeal toast also goes down a treat! Even just grabbing a satsuma as you leave the house will do you good. Breakfast is the most important meal and sets your body up for the rest of the day.

2. The more whole foods, the better

In essence, the more whole foods you can get into your diet, the easier your body digests them, and therefore the more energy you have to do other fun things (like read Her Campus!). Now, I'm not suggesting that anything with more than one ingredient is a no-go, but try to be sparing with the instant noodles and late night kebabs.

3. Organisation is key

The secret of keeping healthy eating cheap & cheerful at uni is definitely being prepared. Making a plan of what you are going to eat for forthcoming week can really help you when budgeting and doing the food shop, as well as making the whole process a lot easier. I would definitely recommend making a shopping list of ingredients to take with you to the supermarket to make sure you aren't tempted by the 2-for-1 on Ben & Jerry's. Skipping out on the processed foods doesn't mean you need to compromise on taste. Hearty meals like bolognese, chilli con carne and pasta bakes are really easy to keep healthy and pretty much have the same main ingredients. Perhaps put your creations into tupperware and then into the freezer, so that when you're having a lazy day you don't have to fuss over cooking.

4. Bulk Buy

You'll find that once you have the staples, this whole process of eating well is a lot easier. Things like dried pasta, rice and tins of tomatoes are perfect to stock up on. That way, you might have a slightly more expensive shop in the first instance, but it will work out in the long run as you only have to top up on fruit & veg as you go.

5. Be snack aware

If you're going to grab a snack between meals, ditch the KitKat for a piece of fruit, a handful of almonds or some hummus and carrot sticks to keep you going. That way you will maintain focus and will avoid the sugar low that a processed treat would bring you.

6. Brown is best

Try to opt for brown over white with things like pasta, bread and rice. It'll keep you full and more energized for longer. These staples are dirt cheap and can be found alongside the regular equivalents in any good supermarket.

7. Go easy on the caffeine

I know you feel like that Pumpkin Spice Latte is calling your name on a Monday morning, but caffeine can have a detrimental effect on your energy levels, not to mention it can be a hit to the wallet. Try to switch to decaf, or even better, spiced herbal tea. That way you can have the comfort and refreshment of a hot drink without the mood swings and coffee stained teeth. Not a great look.

Attempt to adopt one or more of these tips into your student lifestyle and in no time at all you will see a difference. You will be more energized, able to concentrate better and it'll be a whole lot easier to crawl out of bed for those pesky 9ams.


Edited by Sarah Holmes