The Student Room Group

Staying Healthy Whilst at Uni?

Just wondering how people stay healthy and not live off junk food and pot noodles when there's no other food available that's cheap enough to buy ... Thanks :P
If you plan carefully it's actually cheaper to eat healthily than not. Junk food is surprisingly expensive.
A common error I have noticed is that university students tend to relay excessively on fast food (seriously, Subway is universally regarded as our second home and our patron saint), which at the end of the day is far more expensive than just going to LIDL, ASDA or Poundland. Although I have to admit that if you plan to live in London things are even harder. Basically you spend all your allowance on eating/putting money in your Oyster card.
To be fair, it's really not that hard to stay healthy at uni. You just need to work out what you actually like/want to eat and go and buy the ingredients. Most of the people who eat unhealthily tend to be the extremely lazy people who can't be bothered to cook. It's such a shame, because eating healthier works out cheaper than takeaways and cooking fills you up for longer. Even if you made a homemade version of chicken & chips or pizza the cost of ingredients would still work out cheaper.

I think planning your meals in advance is a good place to start to make sure you eat healthy. Once you're prepared, you can shop online or go to a supermarket and start buying the ingredients you need. If you live near a market.. they're a great way to buy fresh fruit & veg for low prices. I've bought whole bag of large onions was like £1 and if I had gone to Tesco to buy the equivalent, it would have cost me way more. But when it comes to supermarket just be careful and selective with what you buy. Don't be fooled by their offers, they're not always worth it.
(edited 9 years ago)
You go to the shops, and you buy food. :wink:

The whole thing about healthy food being expensive is a myth if you ask me. It's far cheaper to plan your meals for the week and cook healthy food from scratch than eat junk food all the time (although it can be expensive if you cook for one each time; cook enough for 2-3 meals and either have the same a few days in a row or freeze portions for the next week).

Some things that are expensive are meat (although if you go to a local butchers it'll be lots cheaper, and Lidl is good value) and fish (although try markets, and try the frozen section in Lidl and keep an eye out for what's an offer) but some things are obviously far cheaper than others; packs of chicken thighs and drumsticks for example tend to far cheaper than chicken breasts. For fruit and veg, exotic or out of season imported stuff will not be cheap, but if you plan your meals and buy what's in season then it can be very cheap and every day stuff (onions, carrots, potatoes, apples, bananas) are usually very cheap indeed.
Reply 5
Keep staples like onion, garlic and tinned tomatoes in your cupboards, these can be bought really cheaply and make a basis lots of healthy food. Right now I'm really poor lol so all the meals I'm cooking right now are veggie cause meat costs too much! Veggies and fruit are really cheap, and yeah plan your meals.
Plan! Luckily, we realised quite early on that actually planning ahead and thinking out your meals is far more effective, because you can sit down and work out what you'll need each day and buy stuff in advance. Otherwise, people find that they don't have anything to eat or are missing something they need and end up popping to the (expensive!) shop up the road and paying more for ingredients/a pizza (not cheap where we are), or going to one of the fast food places. Also, when cooking from scratch, I always find that I have way too much, which is great because you can freeze it :smile:
(edited 9 years ago)
Learn to cook. Eating healthily isn't that expensive if you learn to make your own meals, you can cook in bulk and freeze to save time. Chicken breasts can be bought for £5/kilo or so frozen and are very versatile, you can make curry, stir fry, or just cook on their own and serve with rice/potatoes/quinoa/frozen mixed veg. Baked beans are also very cheap and versatile. You can batch cook a bunch of sausages or something and just have a couple with a tin of beans for a cheap and easy microwave breakfast. A good place to learn more recipes is health and fitness sites, there are quite a few with sections dedicated to cheap and healthy meals.

Edit: Holy **** just realised this thread is 8 years old, don't know why it came up in the latest section.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by megan.louise
Just wondering how people stay healthy and not live off junk food and pot noodles when there's no other food available that's cheap enough to buy ... Thanks :P


Hi there!

Staying healthy at university can be quite challenging, however is neither hard nor expensive, and I can share some tips that helped me throughout these years.

- Have a routine. Most people eating routine is not structured and eating crazy meals at crazy times is very bad for your health. So make sure you eat the right foods at the right time.

- Budgeting. Sometimes you find yourself spending £15 on takeaway that you could have used to buy a whole bag's worth of groceries. If you buy ingredients you can use to cook quick healthy meals, then that is way cheaper that spending money multiple times a week.

- Batch-cooking. Cooking can be tedious and sometimes you will find that you don't have the time or the energy. What I find helpful is taking time on a Sunday and batch-cook for the week. Then I can store my food in the fridge and freezer for whenever I needed. It helps a lot of students at university, so you can give it a try! Also, when cooking for one meal, try and cook for more than you are planning to eat, so you can store some for the next day too.

Being healthy really comes down to discipline and routine, and sometimes university can come get in the way. But staying healthy is definitely very doable, and then you can enjoy a nice takeaway every once in a while as a treat! Although this is underrated, remember that the quality of the food you eat is very important for both your physical and mental health, and when university gets tough, good food might the thing that boost your energy and keeps you focused.

I hope this helps :smile:
Tracy
UKC Rep
Original post by megan.louise
Just wondering how people stay healthy and not live off junk food and pot noodles when there's no other food available that's cheap enough to buy ... Thanks :P

Hi @megan.louise,

I'm currently a second year student at Lancaster Uni and I know firsthand that it can be difficult to budget for food shopping. Personally, I have found that buying frozen vegetables and fruit can be more cost-effective than buying fresh because none of it goes to waste and they can easily be added to lots of different meals. Also, I try to plan what meals I'm going to make and see if a few meals can use the same ingredients so that I can bulk buy things which is often cheaper. In Lancaster, we also have an Aldi which seems to be less expensive than other places like corner shops and other supermarkets so maybe shop around and see where near you is the cheapest to buy food.

Hope this helps,
Beth :smile:
Original post by megan.louise
Just wondering how people stay healthy and not live off junk food and pot noodles when there's no other food available that's cheap enough to buy ... Thanks :P

Hi @megan.louise

There has been a lot of helpful advise already given so I will do my best not to repeat others :smile:

I would firstly recommend to get your body moving in any way that you can. University is a great time to start a new sport or hobby as the gyms at universities are a LOT cheaper than commercial gyms meaning that they have a lot of great facilities at a fraction of the price of a normal gym. This can include things like swimming pools, fitness suits and fitness classes. I would recommend taking the time by scheduling into you week to try new things and find something that you really enjoy. This will not only help you physically to become more fit and healthy but it will also help you to clear your mind and have a more positive outlook at university.

Secondly, I would recommend planning out some meals which are easy, cheap and tasty. Having these staple meals which you know you will enjoy and are easy to make is a must when if you are busy at university. Meals which include a lot of healthy veg can be very affordable and foods such as veg, canned foods and rice are some of the cheapest foods you can buy. Shopping at shops such as Aldi and limiting your food waste are also great ways to save money on food.

I hope this is helpful and good luck staying healthy at uni :smile:

Katie - Second year Educational Psychology student
Original post by megan.louise
Just wondering how people stay healthy and not live off junk food and pot noodles when there's no other food available that's cheap enough to buy ... Thanks :P

@megan.louise

Five suggestions:

Eat a proper breakfast: cereal or toast.

Learn how to cook rice.

Buy tinned fruit in juice.

Stock up on frozen veg.

Eat oven chips rather than fried.

Hope that helps,

Oluwatosin 2nd year podiatry student University of Huddersfield
Original post by megan.louise
Just wondering how people stay healthy and not live off junk food and pot noodles when there's no other food available that's cheap enough to buy ... Thanks :P

Hey there!

I second what's been said about buying frozen vegetables and keeping active in smaller ways such as getting your steps in. What I personally found is that I was going food shopping and just buying whatever I saw with no real direction for my week and no plan. Since then, I've started planning my meals out at the start of the week and then writing my shopping list from the plan. That way I knew exactly what I was eating and there's barely any food waste. I also found that it helped with snacking because I don't have those temptations in the flat so I can't snack. That's not to say you should be so restrictive, it's easy to grab little bits and bobs at corner shops when you're craving them. But for me personally, I found that looking for snacks at supermarkets at the start of the week made me spend more than I needed to because I was never sure what I'd crave in a week. By planning it out and just getting little bits as and when you want them, saves a lot of money and is overall a lot healthier.

Hope this helped!
Lucy - Digital Student Ambassador SHU

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