Student vs. Food & Cooking
Two skills you should invest your time improving on are cooking/food management and becoming a savvy food shopper! Not only are these good for your health, but also for your student budget! Here are a couple of tips to get you started:
- Takeaways Are The Devil – Seemingly tasty and with barely any effort required, students are often enticed by the dropping of a takeaway menu through the letterbox and quick phone call. However, in the back of your mind, I’m sure you are aware of exactly how treacherous fast food is for your health. A single takeaway may seem relatively cost effective, but 3 or 4 a week really add up and for the amount you spend, you could have had a week’s worth of meals that don’t clog your arteries!
- Learn the Basics – Pasta, in moderation, is your friend. Learn how to cook basics such as pasta, rice, chicken and potatoes – that’s a good start! Don’t be afraid to ask your mum to show, or maybe invest in a student’s cookbook, they are relatively cheap and simple to follow! There are also numerous sites dedicated to recipes and simple cooking so check them out.
- Plan your meals – Take time on a Sunday to decide what you’re having for tea every day and you will be less likely to turn to convenience foods and takeaways. It’s not set in stone, so you can divert from the plan if there’s something in particular that you fancy. If you plan your meals before you head out to do the food shop, you buy can exactly what you need, and avoid costly impulse buys to save the pennies!
- Become a Savvy Food Shopper – Keep an eye out for offers and deals online for your chosen supermarket before heading out and when you get there, train your eyes to search for discounted product, offers such as Buy-one-get-one-free and 3-for-2. Keep on your ‘planned meals’ strategy and take a shopping list that you won’t divert from as well as trying to stick to the supermarkets’ value range over expensive brands that often taste exactly the same! If the supermarket offers a point’s card, they are well-worth taking advantage of for building up points and offers over time. There are many ways to be a savvy shopper and it’s a skill that you can perfect over time!
- Don’t Throw Away Perfectly Good Food! – You shouldn’t throw away food needlessly because you think its out-of-date or past eating – doing this wastes a huge chunk of money every year! Know the difference between the sell-by date terms also. A ‘best-before’ date is the date the supermarket or manufacturer recommends that the product is in its best condition for consumption, but isn’t necessarily out of date. Company’s do this to ‘cover their own backs’ and food is often the same and perfectly fine to eat even after this. The ‘display-until’ date is sort-of the same, in that the food is perfectly fine after this date. This term is simply the date upon which supermarket would stop displaying the food. An ‘Expiration’ date however, is when the manufacturer feels the food is no longer viable. In most cases it’s probably wise to stick to this, but there are exceptions – it’s all personal judgement! If you can cope with cutting the mouldy side of the cheese and eating the rest, then all the best to you!