When you first begin food shopping for yourself at university it can be a daunting experience. I mean, it’s not really something that most people prepare for is it? How many times did you go food shopping with your parents before you moved out? And even if you did, how much notice were you really taking of what was going on?
Saving money and staying healthy can sometimes feel like a really difficult balance, but don’t lose hope, there are ways of achieving a balance. Meal planning can really help, deciding what you want to eat each day for the week ahead, allows you to plan your budget, reduce the stress of working out what to eat every day, and also stops you wasting food. You could try using the meal planner here http://thehealthyhangover.com/2015/03/how-to-save-money-on-your-student-food-shop/ or even this really cute one from Wilko https://bit.ly/2I5emtv it’s even got a magnet on the back so you can keep it on the fridge! Whichever one you decide on it will definitely help you to be more organised when doing your food shop.
Try to think about what meals you can make that use some of the same ingredients, or how you could do some meal preparation and freeze some portions for future use. By doing this you can make sure that you use all the ingredients that you buy, rather than use a small amount of something, and then throw away what’s left a few days later. Make those little plastic containers that go from freezer to microwave one of your best kitchen essentials, and you won’t look back! (Always available in £1 shops!)
You could even club together with friends, and make a big casserole, curry, or chilli, these can be made with relatively cheap ingredients, and then shared between a group of you, or take it in turns to do the cooking. That also cuts down the amount of times you have to actually cook!
There are loads of great websites and bloggers that love to show you their meal prep ideas, so you don’t need to look that far to get started with better budgeting and healthier eating! Try this one https://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/19-healthy-lunch-meal-prep-ideas/ for some yummy meals, or this one for some great lunch ideas http://theeverygirl.com/20-lunches-you-can-meal-prep-on-sunday/
Other things you could consider are, using a slow cooker for delicious but effortless one pot meals, get loyalty cards for grocery stores, and use the money off vouchers that you accumulate as a result. Get to know when the shops reduce their stock, so that you can shop for the bargains as they appear, you might need to elbow a few people to grab the best bits, but that’s all in a day’s work when you are a seasoned thrifty food shopper!
(Feature image: @unfattening)