The British Dietetic Association-cut out takeaways to beat the bulge and the overdraft

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Article publication date: 28 March 2008



(2008), "The British Dietetic Association-cut out takeaways to beat the bulge and the overdraft", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 38 No. 2.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

The British Dietetic Association-cut out takeaways to beat the bulge and the overdraft

Article Type: Food facts From: Nutrition

With nearly 400,000 new students just started at university, many moving away from home for the first time, dietitians at the British Dietetic Association are advising freshers to cut down on the chocolate, chips and fast foods if they want a bulge in the wallet and not on the stomach. Surveys show that today's students often rely heavily on processed, convenience ready meals and takeaways such as kebabs, burgers and chips. These can be fine now and then, but with impending student loans, course fees and living expenses squeezing the food budget, living off them will really push up costs. Usually it is much better value to cook some simple recipes, such as pastas or casseroles, especially where meat or fish can be made to go further by combining them with less expensive pulses and vegetables. So as the academic year starts, the BDA has put together a few simple ideas to help students eat well without breaking the bank.

  • Try to plan your meals in advance, making a list of what you need to buy and sticking to it.

  • Base meals on starchy foods such as breakfast cereals, oats, pasta, noodles, rice and couscous especially whole grain forms. The latter release energy slowly, to keep the brain working at its best and provide B vitamins and zinc for healthy skin. They will last a long time if stored carefully so buy in bulk. Own brand products are usually just as nutritious as premium brands.

  • Beans, lentils and pulses are cheap and nutritious and are an ideal replacement for some or all of the meat in casseroles, soups and salads. When fridge space is limited lentils and pulses, which are available in tins, are ideal for the store cupboard.

  • Oily fish are rich in omega-3 fats and can be used fresh or canned. Fish, such as sardines, pilchards or mackerel are ideal in sandwiches, on toast or pasta, in baked potatoes or salads. Try flaking smoked mackerel fillets (really cheap) and add to cooked pasta or boiled potatoes add some plain yogurt and mix well and serve with a vegetable like frozen peas or broccoli which can cook at the same time.

  • Blended vegetable or rapeseed oil is a good value alternative to olive oil for cooking or dressing salads.

  • Buying fresh fruit and vegetables in season from local markets or greengrocers can be cheaper and can go a lot further than ready made meals. The supermarket is not always the cheapest place to shop but often reduced goods at the end of the day can be a bargain. Do not forget frozen, canned and dried fruit and vegetables count towards the recommended five-a-day. Frozen vegetables can be less expensive and just as nutritious, and can often be cooked in less than 5min. Dried fruit, nuts, seeds or a banana are great as snacks.

  • Many tasty dishes such as soups, curries, pasta meals, bean chilli, fish or cottage pie and stir-fries are easy to make. They can give you a repertoire of healthy food choices that are more nutritious and cheaper than canteen pie and chips. You can often cook in bulk and freeze portions, defrosting and reheating individual portions when you need them.

  • Look for a cheap and cheerful student cookbook or recipes on the internet. Sharing cooking and shopping with friends or flat-mates can also be economical and makes cooking more fun, relaxing and less of a chore.

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