A mini freshers food survival guide.
I'm about to go into my final year of uni and I thought I'd compile a couple foodie tips to help the newbies out there. Most of these are pretty obvious, but I'm bored and I'm putting off starting my dissertation.
TIP 1: Come prepared for Freshers week.
Freshers week differs from university to university, but my first freshers week was 10 days long 6pm to 5am every night. So naturally cooking a delicious meal wasn't a top priority for me. There was just no time. Bring a few ready meals for the first few nights and that'll sort you right out. More time for beer pong.
TIP 2: Try to shop once a week.
If you're worried about the pennies, it's best to do one big shop a week. Nothing wrong with a few late night kebabs and cheesy chips in between but one shop a week enables you to keep track of your spending.
TIP 3: Cook big or go home.
It's hard to cook for 1 person, so over the years I've found it easiest to cook a big portion for 2 then freeze whatever you don't eat for another night.
TIP 4: Freezing is encouraged.
You're a student, not a cordon bleu cook. There's nothing wrong with freezing your food. Make sure to pick up some food and freezer bags, I think they're only a £1 or so.
TIP 5: The reduced section will become your holy grail.
Aint nothin' wrong with the reduced section. All supermarkets have one. Grab yourself a bargain and be prepared to elbow all the old biddies out the way.
TIP 6: Give the union shop a miss.
I know this can't be applied to every university, but for me the union shop is overpriced and has little variety. Take the time to hop along to the supermarket to save on the pennies.
TIP 7: Joey doesn't share food.
I've never had this problem as my housemates have always been awesome but I'm sure there are people out there who have experienced The Food Stealers. If a frank conversation doesn't cut it, maybe these bags will do?
TIP 8: Freshers Flu.
It's inevitable. You're going to get freshers flu. 8 weeks of the worst chesty cough and cold. Luckily, there are some food cures out there to rescue you from your fresher slump:
Oranges, strawberries, broccoli, peppers - Fruits and vegetables that are high in Vitamin C can give your immune system a small boost when you're feeling run down.
Soups - Hot liquids are a god-send when you're feeling rough as they soothe sore throats and help in rehydration. Minimal effort in cooking required and super cheap. Also, apparently there is scientific evidence to suggest that chicken soup has anti-inflammatory effects.
Bananas - Easy on the stomach so if you're not feeling up to eating a whole meal a banana will do.
Ice lollies - This is a good one for hangovers too. Hydrating and refreshingly cool while the sugar can give you an immediate pick me up if you're feeling groggy.
Honey - Honey has antimicrobial properties that help fight infections so chuck some into your Lemsip or tea for an extra boost to relieve a sore throat.
Water - It might seem obvious but drinking lots and lots of water can aid headaches and flush away any nasties. The key to feeling better is hydration.
TIP 9: Easy peasy meals for the inexperienced.
University is pretty much where I learnt to cook. Nothing fancy just the basics, alongside a few epic fails. Here's a couple of ideas to get you thinking of what to cook:
Omelettes - How about cheese & ham or spinach & tomatoes?
Jacket potatoes - Top with tuna & sweetcorn or baked beans & cheese
Fajitas - Have a peak at my uber easy recipe here.
Spaghetti Bolognese - This is probably the first 'proper' meal everyone makes. Super quick and easily freezable.
Beans on toast - Absolute classic. A good one if you've only got half an hour spare for lunch.
TIP 10: Enjoy it while you can.
I'm trying to make this sound as less cringe-worthy as possible. Enjoy every minute of uni because it'll be over in a flash and you'll have to be a scary adult with taxes and bills and job applications and wahhh I don't want to grow up.
p.s. You'll appreciate coming home to a well cooked meal.
Molly, 23, London.
A tiny food pornographer, with a minor addiction to burgers and sushi. Following a dairy-free diet not by choice, but forever choosing to eat cheese and chocolate.