Just because you’ve moved away from Mum and Dad’s homemade meals doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice healthy foods. I buy fruit and veg each week and other foods every couple of weeks. Some weeks I spend as little as £8 on a top-up shop – impressive, right?! Here’s my Fresher’s Guide to Shopping.
I am a massive lover of fruit and so my breakfast is always made up of whatever I’ve got in the flat that morning. Here are my main suggestions for fruit that lasts well and doesn’t have to take up valuable fridge space:
Berries are usually more expensive but I generally buy my fruit and veg from Lidl because it’s a lot cheaper and it all lasts really well – especially the strawberries!
Veg wise I try and buy what will last the longest and can be used in the most meals:
Peppers are a good veg to buy because they can go into lots of dinners – especially pasta dishes (staple student food!) and if you’re feeling adventurous you can have a go at making stuffed peppers.
These keep for a long time if you keep them in the fridge, handy for lots of meals or for a healthy uni snack (it’s your challenge to eat raw carrot sticks as quietly as possible in a lecture).
I don’t buy white potatoes anymore because sweet potatoes provide much more nutrition and they add more taste to cooking. Plus the sweet potatoes from Lidl are HUGE and super cheap! Top tip – make your own sweet potato ‘chips’ by chopping up sweet potato, adding a little oil or spray substitute and some smoked paprika – delicious!
I tend to buy my broccoli and cauliflower frozen (thank you Tesco for making this possible) because they don’t keep very long and go off quickly. There’s a slight difference in the taste but not if you’re using a sauce or putting it into a dish.
There are a few things always found in my cupboards that can sometimes change up your meals a bit:
Add it to a pasta dish, on your veggies, or to a stir-fry.
This might be my own personal obsession but I’d have to go home every weekend for my Mum’s roast if I didn’t have gravy at uni.
Handy to make a wrap to take to uni, to make fajitas, or one of my favourite meals – the cheap and healthy homemade pizza!
A wrap, tomato paste, a little cheese and whatever veggies you’ve got in the kitchen
Other food tips:
If you aren’t going to eat the whole loaf of bread before it starts to go mouldy then share a loaf with a flat/house mate and buy it alternate weeks, or freeze half of it when you buy it. You won’t want to be chucking food out – it’s such a waste!
Unless you’re a massive milk drinker I’d suggest trying longer life milks or milk alternatives (like almond milk) because they last a lot longer and won’t go to waste. The 5 days on the side of my almond milk is the biggest lie I’ve ever been told… I won’t own up to how long I’ve made it last!
I’m vegetarian which is rather handy with saving money on meat, but I do buy Quorn when it’s on sale (although it’s still usually cheaper than meat when it’s not on sale) and beans and pulses, although those last a long time so I don’t have to purchase them often.
Finally here are my three top supermarket trip tips:
- Don’t go shopping hungry
- Make a list before you go and only let yourself buy reduced food if it’s not on the list
- Try and plan your meals for the next week so you don’t buy food that might go to waste or do small shops more often.