Monday, 3 August 2015

Healthy eating on a budget – student life in London!



Right now I’m so tempted to buy myself some cheesy fries! It’s been a long day at work and now I’m about to start working on my paper due next week. All the job interviews and post study applications are pending and my phone just notified me about the 60 unread emails, I have to read through ASAP. Do I really have the time to cook? Do I really have the energy to cook? Do I really want to cook?

image: https://blogs.studentlife.qmul.ac.uk/category/advice/page/2/


I have asked myself this question over and over, sometimes giving up on the lazy days, sometimes just not having the patience or time. There have been months I have spent £100 on food and there have been months I have spent as little as £30.

I am a healthy eater most days! But I struggle with having to cook every day. London is an expensive city and groceries shopping if done wrong can be pricey.
So I’ve decided to give you a number of tips and ideas to save time, money and energy.

Tip 1.
Go to the cheaper supermarkets! A Greek friend introduced me to Lidl after I had shopped at Waitrose and cooperative for months.  Look for a Lidl or an Iceland locally. Maybe shop at supermarkets that have 2 for 3 discounts going on such as Asda, (got the 2 to 3 brown rice and it’s so worth it). Avoid the small shops and off licence shops, often overpriced.
image : http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jun/18/lidl-owner-europe-gocery-biggest-schwarz


Tip 2.
Don’t avoid frozen veg! What most people think is fresh is good and frozen is unhealthy, mostly I agree but not when I live in London. London is majorly depended on imports for its food supply, the UK only produces 60 % of its food requirement, even though urban farming is a big deal in London it isn’t enough to provide for the 8 million inhabitants. London’s climate isn’t the best in terms of agricultural yield. Fresh isn’t really fresh, its packed before its maturity and put on transport having to travel days and possibly even over treated with pesticides to keep rodents away and  sometimes even been artificially ripped especially if you go looking for cheaper options. Fresh can also be easily perishable and as a student it’s really inconvenient to go food shopping every week. Therefore I suggest trying some frozen veg. fruits and veg are frozen soon after being harvested and mostly undergo simple non chemical processing such as blanching for example to preserve carrots. This keeps them fresh with all their nutrients intact. Don’t get confused with the fresh and frozen banter, read and research for yourself.
image: https://www.iceland.co.uk/food-you-can-trust/frozen-quality/frozen-vegetables/


Tip 3.
Make a list and stick to it! Don’t go into a store unprepared, snap a picture of your open fridge and compile a quick list on the notes app on your phone when on the bus to the store. See it doesn’t have to take up your time!


Tip 4.
Pyjamas shopping is often a great idea. It’s after 9pm, I’m sleepy (never shop hungry you’ll buy everything, shopping after dinner is more of a practical option and helps you stick to the list) and the stores not crowded. All the soon to expire products are half price or less.

Tip 5.
Don’t over purchase, I know the temptations. Last week I craved strawberries and I obviously got myself some at the supermarket but what I didn’t realise was that I had got fresh strawberries, then strawberry yogurt and then some strawberries smoothie. I craved mango after eating strawberries for just two days :(( force feeding myself all that yogurt before it expired was terrible.

image: http://www.cookingwithegg.com/blog/index.cfm/2012/8/30/Grocery-Shopping-for-College-Students


Tip 6.
Carry your own bags, I just use my airplane carry on and wheel it around as it’s so much more convenient than walking to the bus stop with all those bags weighing me down after all that shopping. Also more environment friendly and cheaper than the regular plastic bags.

Tip 7.
Grow your own! Not the major stuff only simple things. Such as herbs, the supermarkets sell them in pots for as little as £1 and a bunch of fresh herbs usually coast more than that. It saves money and having a small pant that needs to be watered every day is a way of learning to be responsible for another life. Families with young kids might like to instil such values in their little ones.
image: http://www.reviewsatrandom.com/2015/05/growing-your-own-ingredients-virgin.html


Tip 8.
Lentils are the best! Beans, peas, pulses are so very cheap and so nutritious. Great sources of protein and iron also low in fat. Avoid buying them in tins lined with Bisphenol A.  Bisphenol A is an obesogenic chemical most commonly used in the manufacturing on food containers.
Tip 9.

Don’t over indulge! Don’t fall for the bait, buy one get one free?
Usually in bright yellow labelled as super deals. Think before you buy, these products are misleading and generally promote things you might not need in two’s.  
image: My flatmates and I went food shopping,the first week at University !


Tip 10.
Portion control. Sometimes as students we find happiness and stress relief in food. Over indulging can be overlooked, don’t diet but keep a food diary or possibly just be more aware of your eating habits. Cooking for the week and eating it all in a day isn’t uncommon among students.

Ref: https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/archives/assembly-members-jonesj-docs-secure_food.pdf




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