Big Changes to food and dietary habits
There’s many big changes that come into play when starting university: living in a different city, new groups of friends, but one change we don’t really think about is our food and dietary habits. And surprisingly, it can have a HUGE effect on our student lives.
My Mum, as most Mum’s do, played a huge part in encouraging my love of food whilst growing up. She taught me how to cook from a young age and introduced me to different world cuisines, as well as providing me with the facilities to learn to cook in. I’m very fortunate to have been given these skills as a tot, but I know many students cannot cook or simply, find cooking a chore.
Losing the help of Mum when you’re at University can lead to malnutrition, through poor dietary habits and a lack of nutrients. In 2016, a study found that 1/3 couldn’t even boil an egg, with 48% being unable to put together a simply spaghetti Bolognese.
Putting together a simple meal is super easy!!
There are many student friendly recipe books, YouTube tutorials and even on-the-go apps to teach you some tips (and some here at MetMUnch, of course 😃).
I grew up very much in a meat and two veg family, which I often found laborious and repetitive. Independence with my food choice allowed me to find my own rhythm with my food preferences. Since starting at Manchester Met, I make sure I go meat free at least 2 or 3 days a week. Increasing your veggie uptake can not only be great for your health, but is a sustainable way of living.
Living sustainably is probably something you hadn’t even considered since becoming a student, and not surprisingly, students are the worst at it. With over buying, over cooking and serial snacking, we throw away a huge seven billion tonnes of food away each year, much of which can be eaten.
For students, wasting food is also a huge waste of money, but by following a few simple tips, you could save a lot of pennies in your pockets.
Remember, the freezer is your friend, where keeping fresh fruit and veg, alongside meat, bread and leftover meals will reduce any waste without compromising on taste and nutrient contents (be sure NOT to reheat cooked meat though, keep that in the fridge to eat cold). Communal cooks are also great if you have some friends who want to share some meals and split up the cooking tasks (and the washing up).
As a nutrition student, I thought that I would have cooking healthy for one MASTERED, but surprisingly, my diet took a big hit. I gained independence with my choice of foods and allowed myself to try new foods, but this was also as bad as it was good. The availability of fast food was hard to resist, and slowly tempted me in after nights out, for lazy lunches and when I run out of food and simply could not be bothered to shop.
It made me CRAVE the home cooking and nutrient rich roasts made by my Mum. I’ve slowly learnt to curb these cravings and health up my habits (but no, I still haven’t mastered the singular measure of pasta either).