Are you going to live on your own for the first time? Awesome! Some things will most likely be quite different from what you’re used to, but you’ll figure it out. Developing essential life skills is as important as working on academic skills – it makes studying easier and you’ll definitely profit from it for the rest of your life.
How to eat healthy and student-budget friendly?
It’s not that difficult! And as a bonus, eating healthy is also healthy for the environment. Try out some of these suggestions by Merete Hagen Helland, associate professor in Food and Health at the University of Stavanger:
How to … grocery shopping:
- Plan your weekly menu, make a shopping list with what you need, and stick to this list. How to stick to it?
- Never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry, you’ll most likely buy things you might not necessarily need.
- Don’t get tempted by the marketing tricks of supermarkets. Staple foods, such as rice or flour, are often ‘hidden’ in the back.
- Buying big packs can be cheaper. Make big portions, keep leftovers for lunch the day after, or freeze them for later. You can also buy and cook plenty of food together with your friends, take home what you need for the rest of the week (it can often be kept 3-5 days in a fridge), and warm it up when you’re hungry.
- Buy vegetables when they’re in season. They’re cheaper and often regional, which is good for the environment as well. Check if there’s a farmers’ market in your city. This is often the best place to get locally produced food.
- Supermarkets usually have weekly discounts or discounts on expiring products. Being expired does not necessarily mean that the product has turned bad, and if you freeze it, you can most likely keep it even longer.
- Frozen food, such as vegetables or fish, can be a good choice too. Frozen vegetables in winter are a healthy alternative to vegetables not in season, frozen fish filets are often cheaper than fresh fish – and you can defrost exactly the amount you need. Keep the filets in your fridge overnight to defrost them to maintain good quality.
How to … eat healthy:
Important ingredients of a healthy diet are a lot of vegetables, fruit, berries, whole grain products, and fish. Try to eat only small amounts of meat and try to use as little salt and sugar as possible. This also means that it’s better to cook from scratch instead of using ultra-processed food, such as burgers, sausages, or ready meals. These food products do not only contain a lot of sugar, salt, fat, and additives having a negative influence on your body, they’re also quite expensive. To eat healthy, you can
- Eat oatmeal and whole grain bread (= high in fiber). You can bake whole grain bread yourself. When letting the dough rise for a longer time, you only need a small amount of yeast. Baking several breads at the same time will also save some electricity costs 😊 Another positive side-effect: Your homemade bread contains less salt than bread you can buy in a supermarket – and nothing beats the smell of freshly baked bread at home!
- Substitute chocolate and all this yummy but unfortunately not healthy stuff with, for example, unsalted and unsweetened nuts or pieces of fruit and vegetables.
- Use spices to lift the taste of your food, you don’t need salt for this.
- Make fruits and/or vegetables a part of every meal. If you find it difficult, think about what kind of vegetables you would like first when planning your meal and add the side dishes after.
- Drink water when you’re thirsty and avoid sugared drinks.
- Prepare stews where all the ingredients cook together to avoid using a lot of frying fat. You don’t need meat for a good stew. Vegetables and legumes – for instance chickpeas, lentils, peas, or beans – are an excellent alternative! Legumes are more than a substitute for meat. They’re pretty affordable and can be used in many different dishes. Give them a try!