So week 3 of University comes to a close, it’s been pretty hectic! Still trying to adjust to all of this commuting business and having work to do 100% of the time. But it’s great, it’s so nice to have a focus and one that I enjoy. It’s been utterly brilliant meeting so many new people on a daily basis, and from so many cultural backgrounds. Everyday there is something new, nothing is predictable here, now this isn’t always a good thing. I have wasted many minutes waiting for delayed trains and having sweaty people shoved against me on the tube. Who doesn’t love a sweaty armpit to the face on a morning….. (Note to self bring perfume and a few bottles of antibacterial gel next time).
I am now part of the ‘Westminster Dragons’ cheerleading team, which is so much fun! The team are so open and friendly. Now this isn’t shaking pom poms around and screaming anything that rhymes with ‘go team’, it’s an athletic team and it’s possibly the best workout I’ve done in along time. Exciting prospects here! Being in challenging environments is so character enhancing, I can’t recommend it enough. If you have ever had an inkling of wanting to do something, do it! Even if it terrifies you. I flipped myself backwards onto a squishy matt, and my brain convinced me I was going to land on hard floor and break my neck like something our of Final Destination…. but I put the fear aside. Learning to control ones fear is a handy life skill. It can open up a vast array of opportunities! I’ll do a post about fear and anxiety management soon for all us people who spend 95% of their lives worrying about everything and anything.
So the main point of my post today is about eating while at University. I have seen so many posts about students living off pot noodles and pasta because ‘it’s all they can afford’. This just isn’t true! If you truly care about your diet (why wouldn’t you?) then you can afford to spent a little bit of time preparing food and doing a bit of cooking. It’s actually really therapeutic, if you are feeling stressed about your work load, missing home or you’ve just had a bit of a bad day, focusing on cooking can be a great way to take your mind off things. So, a few tips!
- Cook in bulk! Instead of making one meal, make 3 or 4. Things like curry, soups, casseroles and stews keep well in the fridge and you can even freeze them. I’ll pop some recipe ideas nearer the end of the post.
- Don’t overbuy. Fruit and veg doesn’t last long so don’t just buy bags of the stuff because it’s on offer or reduced then let it perish in the fridge a week later.
- Think ahead, plan your meals before you go shopping. Just buy what you need, and don’t go shopping when you are hungry (or hungover), I know how difficult those frozen pizzas are when you are desperate for carbs.
- Write a food diary. It’s a great way to evaluate what you are eating and where you may be going wrong.
- Try new things, don’t just stick to the same foods day on end. Try and cook something different, try a new vegetable or grain, or even cook things in a different way.
- Buy loose fruit and veg, you will be amazed at how much cheaper it is. It’s about 15p for two loose carrots, and you are helping the environment by lowering landfill masses. Win win!
So, what to cook? First of all if you have a Lidl or Aldi near you, grab the bulk of your shopping there. They are fantastic for fresh foods and meat. I know meat can be pricey, but think about that is more important… A few drinks at the pub or eating wholesome foods and fuelling your body correctly. If you are a vegetarian or just don’t want to spend the money on meat here are some alternatives: Quorn, Quinoa, Chick Peas or Lentils. All can be swapped for meat in meals and are cheap to buy. I eat a lot of Quinoa, it’s my little obsession.
Quick and Easy Curry
Packet of Quorn (chicken Style Pieces) or 2/3 chicken breasts, 2 red onions, fresh tomatoes, aubergine (optional, great for bulking foods), 2 green chillies, 1 green and 1 red/yellow pepper, mushrooms, 1 tinned tomatoes and curry paste (either homemade with your own spices or you can purchase cheap ones from stores).
Fry your onions, chillies and curry paste until onions are clear, then add the meat/quorn. When cooked through add your peppers and aubergine, you can add some tomato paste here to create an easy mixture. I always add more spices and chilli here (I use Paprika, Turmeric, Chilli Flakes, fresh ginger and garlic). You can also add your mushrooms. Finally add your tinned tomatoes and simmer your curry for about 30mins, the longer you cook the richer the curry will be. Don’t let it boil however, keep it on a low heat. Serve with wholegrain rice. You can keep this curry in the fridge for roughly a week if you make the veggie option or 3/4 days with the chicken.
Play around with ingredients, find combinations that work for you! All of this will roughly cost you about £3 per portion…. Bargain!
I will create a proper ‘Recipe’ section soon… Once I become technical enough that I know what i’m doing….
More to come in part 2 of this post! Any questions feel free to comment below 🙂