Eating Right

It’s around the third week back to University that the downward eating spiral begins. Our once optimistic fridges now sit bleak and empty with nothing but empty milk and juice cartons serving as a reminder of what used to be. It can be around this time when there’s absolutely nothing for dinner except a can of tinned tomatoes (which have been sitting inside that cupboard for how long?!) that you find yourself cursing that bright idea you had to leave home and live closer to Univeristy.

With busy schedules, deadlines and revision it can become a bit of a routine to buy ready made meals or to simply reach for your mobile and dial Dominoes – which of course you promise yourself you’ll work off at the gym the next day, although deep down you know you’ll never get round to it.

The trick is not to get yourself into the situation where you have nothing whatsoever in your flat that can’t be whipped up into a quick, easy and nutritional meal. Stocking up on things like pasta sauce and making use of your freezer, not just for ice cream, but also for the likes of frozen vegetables and chicken breasts can be a real lifesaver.

A tried and tested method to eating well at Univeristy is to make a plan at the start of the week of what meals you’ll have – that way you remain on budget and won’t end up letting fresh ingredients go to waste. It’s also worth every so often planning meals that you can make in bulk, for example if you cook a large pot of chilli one night you can easily make it last by either freezing it for another emergency meal or alternatively having it for lunch the next day with a baked potato.

It’s sometimes easy to forget that it can be just as simple and quick to create nutritional meals at home as it is to pop a fat-filled ready meal into themicrowave. For example, this homemade Stir Fry Chicken and Vegetable recipe is a perfect alternative to Supernoodles, and is a hundred times more filling and satisfying. If you pre-chop your vegetables then you can easily have this simple and delicious dish cooked up and on your table in less than twenty minutes. It might not be cheaper than 69p but it will make you feel a whole lot better!


Serves 4-6

250g dried medium egg noodles

1 tbsp groundnut or olive oil

2 skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips

4 spring onions, trimmed and sliced

Small knob ginger (you can also buy this in one of those pre-made pots to keep in your fridge)

200g beansprouts

1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks

125g baby sweetcorn, halved lengthways

150g mangetout, finely sliced lengthways

For the sauce

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp oyster sauce

2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce


Mix the sauces together and set aside. Cook the noodles according to pack instructions, drain and set aside. Put a large wok or frying pan over a high heat. When hot, add the oil and chicken and stir-fry for 8 minutes, until golden and cooked through. Add the spring onions, ginger, beansprouts, carrot, baby corn and mangetout. Stir-fry for a further 1 minute. Add the noodles and sauce to the wok and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, until well mixed. Serve hot. (Recipe by Angela Boggiano)

Thanks to the Internet you can get away with never even buying a cookbook! Sites like, and are all great resources for finding an array of budget meals that might suit your fancy. They are also helpful for inspiring different ways to cook up whatever ingredients you might have lying about your cupboard and fridge.

However, one nifty gadget that is worth investing in for Univeristy is a handheld blender. It’s the perfect way to make use of any old ingredients such as herbs (blitz these and then freeze them, it’ll save you buying them new again every time), vegetables and fruits, which you can quickly turn into homemade sauces, tasty soups and smoothies. It won’t be long until you are getting into it and starting your recipe book!

Homemade soups are a fantastic healthy meal, which you can easily store and save for later. If you’re feeling kind and making a batch for your flat mates then you don’t have to stress about it costing you all a fortune either. For example this butternut soup recipe is nutritious, filling and when served with warm crusty bread, is the perfect meal to heat you and your friends up after a long day of studying (well in theory!).


Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil

1 oz butter

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

900g butternut, peeled and sliced

900ml (1½ pints) chicken stock

1 ½ tsp Garam Masala


Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan, add the onion, garlic and the Garam Massala powder then gently sauté in a large pot. When the onion has softened after about 5 minutes, add the butternut and stock and stir well. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 25 minutes or until the butternut is soft. Blend the soup with a hand-held blender or in a food processor. Season to taste, (and if you feel fancy add a dollop of crème fresh on top) then serve with warm crusty bread. (Recipe from

Eating right needn’t be a massive chore and when combined with exercise it can make you feel happier and a lot more energized.  So next time you feel tempted to order a takeaway, have a scan through some food websites for what you can conjure up at home yourself, you might be surprised by what you find.


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