October 11, 2017

Mel Gray

Uni is such a busy, fun time, and with so much going on it can be challenging to follow a healthy eating regime. But as a human nutrition and dietetics student, I know that it’s still so important to try! The vitamins and minerals found in fruit and vegetables can help boost our immune systems to fight off winter colds while healthy balanced meals can help give us the energy we need to tackle exams.

Since starting university I’ve picked up some helpful tips along the way to try and eat more healthily:

1. Keep healthy snacks handy


It’s all about the fruit!

When I know I’ve got a full day of lectures, I take healthy snacks with me such as fruits, like a banana and apple or a cereal bar, which means that I don’t go in search of less healthy snacks or treats like crisps and chocolate.

2. Bring your own lunch (or go for the healthy option)

Healthy options don’t have to be boring…

I sometimes take a packed lunch to uni, which saves money and can be eaten quickly between lectures. But there are also healthy options such as jacket potatoes or salad available in the canteen, at a reasonable price, when I fancy a change or know that I’ve got a heavy training session in the night.

3. Plan your meals in advance

Planning means you only have to buy the ingredients you really need.

Being an athlete as well as a student, my evening meal is a very important one in helping me refuel after training. Cooking for myself and my husband, I try and plan meals in advance, so that when we go food shopping we only buy what we need, which helps save money and reduce waste. I like to cook meals that can be made in a batch and that will last a couple of nights.

4. Pick up some go-to recipes


It’s always helpful to keep a few cookbooks to hand.

Some of my favourite dishes to make include; cottage pie with three hidden veg, which is a great way to help meet my five-a-day. Or a chilli made with beans to provide extra protein and fibre, which can be made in advance and frozen. Then for a quick meal I just defrost the chilli, heat and team it with microwaveable rice.

Alternatively, something like pasta bake tastes good hot or cold, is easy to make and can be taken to uni the next day.

Planning and preparation are key ingredients for eating more healthily at uni, and if you’d like to give making a healthy meal yourself a go, you can follow my recipe below.

Healthy Recipe Idea – 4 Veg Chilli

Veggie chilli is healthy and cheap to make…

Serves 3-4 people (great to share with housemates!)


  • Minced beef – 500g (low fat options available)
  • Chopped onion x 2 (frozen works too)
  • Peppers x 2 handfuls chopped (frozen works too)
  • Kidney beans x 1 large tin in chilli sauce
  • Chopped tomatoes x 1 large tin
  • Chilli con carne x 1 recipe mix


  • Using low calorie cooking spray or vegetable oil, fry the mince until brown and thoroughly cooked. Carefully pour away the excess fat and dispose of for a lower calorie option.
  • Fry chopped onions and peppers and add to mince.
  • Add tin of chopped tomatoes, kidney beans and chilli con carne mix. Bring to the boil and then cover and simmer for 20 minutes stirring regularly.
  • Serve with rice, and for a fun twist add tacos!

Read more blog posts about student life at Cardiff Met