♫♪'Chiquitita' - ABBA ♫♪
When I set off for uni 4 years ago, I thought I'd be super healthy, living off salads and drinking green juice out of those hipster milk bottles.
Alas, it wasn't to be and Instead I gradually gained two stone in the first year almost overnight.
I honestly had idea how it happened. I went to regular fitness classes, but still managed to pile on the lbs. That's when I realised that it was my diet and reckless spending - they went hand-in-hand.
These days, I spend about £20-25 on shopping and make that last for roughly 15 days (I know, that sounds impossible, but it's not!)
Now I'm in my final year (and am 3 stone lighter!), I want to share with you some radical changes I made with my eating habits:
1. PLAN YOUR MEALS - Take 5-10 minutes every week to plan your meals (ingredients/method/utensils). This means you know what you'll need to buy the next time you go shopping and are less likely to go waste time (and money) cruising down every aisle.
2. SHOP BEFORE CLOSING TIME - I've found that a lot of the fresh food like fruit, veg, bread and cooked meat is heavily discounted around 1 hour - 30 mins before supermarkets close. They don't want food waste, so they often relabel them and sell them for a fraction of the price. You can get a bag of roast chicken drumsticks reduces from £2 to 50p and a loaf of crusty bread from £1.70 to 40p. #bargain
3. INSTAGRAM INSPIRATION - I know, it's cringe, but I found searching tags like "#eatclean", "#veggie", and "#healthyfood" are really useful for finding easy recipes.
Also following healthy foodies like Deliciously Ella, The Body Coach, Lena Haas, Nutrition Stripped, Naturally Meghan, Soy Division, Superfood Siobhan, Flourishing Health, is great because they share their beautiful, healthy recipes for free on their sites/blogs! Some of them are influential fitness/diet experts, so you know you can take their word for it.
4. HOST A SUPERCLUB - I loooooooove doing this!
You and your mates can take it in turn to host a casual dinner party. Everyone brings a homemade dish/pudding and a drink. There's nothing better than eating food and good company, right?
This way, you'll get to sample good you've probably never tried before, swap recipes and just have a merry time.
If you want to take it a step further, you can even host your own 'Come Dine With Me'. Rotate around your friend's flats every week and rate each others cooking skills (not too harshly!). That's basically a free meal every week...
5. LEAVE YOUR CARD AT HOME - This sounds bonkers, but when you leave your credit/debit card at home and take cash, you're less likely to overspend and buy stuff that's not on your list. This stuff includes last minute chocolate, sweets and magazines that are stocked by the tills on purpose.
6. FREEZE YOUR FRUIT AND VEG - On average, how much food and money do you waste throwing wilted veg out because you didn't use it in time. Well, a good way to make fresh produce last longer is to chop it up and freeze it before the use-by date. This way, you have at least another month to use it up.
Buying frozen fruit like frozen mango and mixed summer berries can often work out cheaper than fresh fruit. Plus they are great in smoothies and keep them chilled without watering it down.
7. MEAT-FREE MONDAYS - This has honestly revolutionised my attitudes towards vegan and veggie foods. I am a full-carnivore, but taking one day out of the week to experiment with fruit/veg/pulses and other sources of protein has done me wonders.
I am now cooking with more fish and seafood, as well as pulses and tofu, which I thought I'd hate.
8. COOK IN BULK - We are all busy and often opt for the ready-meal/oven food, because standing over a stove can be tiresome and dull. But how about cooking meals in bulk on a Sunday, storing meals in cute tupperware and them not having to cook for a whole week?
This works really well during exam season. You're still eating a healthy, hearty meal, but without the daily kitchen aggro.
9. SLOW COOKING - This goes hand-in-hand with tip no. 8 because you can easily get 3-5 meals out of this... Introducing the slooooooooooooooow cooker!
This thing is bloody brilliant.
Just chop up your veg/meat, pour in water/stock/herbs and let the slow cooker do its thang.
Go away for a few hours and when you come back, you'll have a perfect stew/casserole that your Grandma would be proud of.
Even though you did absolutely nothing, feel free to take all the credit.
10. BYO - "Bring Your Own". I do this all the time at uni and it's saved me so much money! Not only do I bring my own flask to the uni cafes (this is also creating less paper cup litter), I often bring my own tea bag (Twinings Lemon & Ginger, is my favourite).
This means, I'm only paying for hot water and nothing else. I also get double the amount of tea because my flask is bigger than the average paper cup.
Thanks for reading! I hope you found some new ways to save money and eat well for less! Let me know if you do anything I haven't mentioned. I'd love to try new ideas. :)