Students find it tough to allocate time for everything in their lives. Certain elements of daily life are deemed more important than others; cooking dinner from scratch is not ranked high on the list. With lectures, assignments, extra-curricular activities and socialising, students often tend to grab something quick to eat.
“I rarely eat frozen convenience food, but when I do it’s because I am too lazy to cook”, says student Ruth Aravena. Almost 60% of students interviewed said they simply didn’t have the time to begin chopping, washing and boiling vegetables when they came home in the evening. Naturally, preparation of fresh food takes a little bit longer than firing a pizza in the oven, but think of the benefits of the extra nutrients and vitamins in fresh produce.
When asked, 82% agreed that healthy meals, home-cooked using fresh produce, were achievable within the confinements of a student budget. Many students tend to worry about the price of fresh produce, but often it can work out just as cheap as frozen equivalents.
Tesco, Lidl and Aldi along with other competitors offer large quantities of healthy food well within a student budget. An average portion of spaghetti bolognaise can cost less than €2, certainly less than a frozen burger and chips. So get your Italian juices flowing and start tuning in to Gino D’Acampo for some tips.
“I am not the best cook, but I do try”, says Alyson Henry. Chicken stir-fry with vegetables was deemed one of the most popular student dishes and is certainly considered an extremely tasty and healthy option. Not only is stir-frying low in fat, but vitamin C, iron and calcium can be gained from fresh vegetables.
Many of the students interviewed considered themselves healthy and frozen convenience food was consumed an average of two days a week. But not every student has the same eating habits. Many students are extremely unhealthy due to complete lack of motivation. They can’t motivate themselves to put in that extra effort for dinner. What about devising a rota for culinary duties throughout the week? One person prepares all the ingredients while the other cooks, that way the workload is shared evenly and no-one has to spend hours slaving over a hot stove.
Students need to remember that achieving dietary requirements is important for concentration levels and allround good health. This can only be guaranteed via the consumption of fresh produce. The average amount spent per week on food shopping came in at €30-€40, more than enough for a variety of nourishing and wholesome ingredients. Students are advised to keep an eye on upcoming specials often advertised in the papers, and don’t be afraid to shop around for the best deals on your weekly shop.
Frozen convenience foods often tend to be high in salt. To avoid a high sodium intake that can lead to high blood pressure, increase your intake of fresh food. So why not take a trip down the colourful fruit and vegetable aisle this week and bypass the frozen section? Once you cook fresh, you’ll never turn back.