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Pocketmags Digital Magazines

The university FOOD CHALLENGE

Regularly cooking for yourself for the first time can be daunting. To take away the temptation for a takeaway, we asked recipe consultant Phil Mundy for his money-saving tips, quick fixes and ideas for five easy budget meals

STRESS, DRINKING AND READY MEALS all contribute to that well-known phenomenon: the fresher’s stone. Leaving home and going to college or university may be an exciting time, but it’s frequently associated with piling on the pounds, says registered dietitian Juliette Kellow. One study showed weight gain in the first year could be between 14 to 28lb. ‘Studying and partying hard, often combined with few or no cooking skills, can mean many students rely on ready meals, fatty and sugary snacks, and takeaways,’ says Juliette. ‘Lots of socialising in the first term often goes hand-in-hand with drinking large amounts of alcohol, grabbing a burger or kebab on the way home, and having a fry-up the next morning. All this means students often take in more calories than they burn up and finish their first term at college with that extra stone.’

Teach yourself to cook

A little cookery knowledge can mean less pressure on your health, purse and waistline. Recipe consultant Phil Mundy says uni days are easier if you know how to knock out a quick meal. To save money, hit the local market just before closing and grab whatever bargains you can find at the fruit and veg stall, he says. Also stock up on cheap pulses, spices and interesting ingredients at the local Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern stores. Last, make the freezer a friend. When a bowl of cereal or a toastie won’t do, says Phil, ‘Throw a pan on the hob, add some frozen veg, frozen chopped chilli and ginger, instant noodles and stock to make a filling broth. My flatmates made little use of the freezer except for storing ice and vodka, so I used to batch-cook pasta sauces and soups to keep a ready supply. To stop everyone else helping themselves, I’d label everything I cooked as tofu chilli or tofu bolognese. In the days before tofu became trendy, at least, that really used to work!’

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About Healthy Food Guide

Our October issue has everything you need for a good night’s sleep to improve your health and wellbeing. Our nutritionist pinpoints the best foods for zzzz, and sleep experts help you get your mind and body in the right place. Plus there’s a £1,000 bed set to be won! Cooking on a budget? We’ve got easy recipes for students (and emotional advice for parents left behind) and new cheap & cheerful – and healthy – meals from Jamie Oliver. It’s your number one spot for latest health advice, too, with an update on blood pressure.