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How easy is it to eat well at university?

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It’s the age-old stereotype: go to university, live off baked beans for three years. And for many people, this is probably very close to the truth.

Living on a student budget can mean that some sacrifices have to be made, and generally good food appears to come top of the list. It’s easy to when you can get a Tesco’s frozen pizza for just 60p. Something that you can just stick in the oven at the end of the day while you catch up on your neglected TV viewing. 

This also negotiates the fact that most students come to university without any significant culinary skills. The temptation to survive on ready meals whilst your student cookbook decomposes on the shelf is almost always overriding. Not to mention the amount of times you will eat half a loaf of bread in a feeble attempt to put off a hangover. 

But not getting your five a day will inevitably leave you feeling physically and mentally drained, which in turn will cause you to turn to that other student staple: the energy drink. Whether you’re downing it with vodka in a club or alongside deadlines in the library, these high-sugar and caffeine drinks will predictably leave you feeling far worse as you find yourself battling through a demoralising energy slump.

The truth of the matter is that eating well at university doesn’t have to be that hard. Yes, you won’t be eating crab linguine every week, but a bit of simple planning can really set you up on the way back to nutritious glory.

So, start by creating a shopping list that has all the basic essentials you need. You can then negotiate the fresh fruit and vegetables; it’s much easier to slip them into meals when you’ve pre-planned what you’re going to be eating. Planning ahead will also ensure you don’t get drawn into the sodium-filled easy meal section of the supermarket. As for the war of the hangover, lean bacon, low fat sausages, wholegrain bread and poached eggs will settle any uneasy tummies without bloating your arteries.

Although it is a daunting prospect at first, getting in the vitamins and nutrients that you need will ultimately make you feel and look a whole lot better. You’ll find you have more energy and are more alert in lectures, and you’ll generally be a happier more positive person for it. It will also save you money in the long run, as you won’t be running to the corner shop for pick-me-up sweets to get you through the day. 

To get yourself started, why not check out some of TNS's healthy student recipes below? 

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