5 Things I Hated About Food As Student (With a Solution)
Maintaining a healthy diet at university is essential to do well in your studies. It improves cognitive function and reduces fatigue.
Yet, without much experience in nutrition, cooking or developing healthy habits, achieving this is often harder than it should be. At least, this was the case for me during my time at University of Bath.
18 year-old me had a lot to learn about nutrition and about finding the right food at uni. Here are 5 relatable examples of this:
1) Pasta Pesto; the Default Dish for Students
Although this was not particularly my case -in theory I knew how to cook-, I had many friends that lived off microwave meals, takeaways and pastries, with the occasional pasta and pesto dish when they were feeling adventurous. Truly a champion’s diet.
In all seriousness, even though youth can be forgiving health-wise, unhealthy eating patterns can lead to personal and academic failure. Furthermore, it is a golden ticket to catching every illness roaming around campus (and trust me, there are lots).
In fact, many students don’t know what a balanced meal looks like, and have even less of a clue how to cook it. I’m sure your grandma meant well when she gave you Jamie Oliver’s 15-minute meals but let’s face it: you’ll never use it.
2) Buying Good Food Options Is Expensive
A healthy and balanced diet is not only ‘hard’ to follow, but it can be expensive. ‘Expensive’ is the last word a broke student wants to hear (but don’t worry, you are not alone according to the Guardian).
Money is always tight, particularly when you’re waiting on your student loan; and food, unlike booze, is a commodity you can save money on.
I still remember that after getting my allowance, I would go out and buy a nice salad and a sirloin or tuna steak. It was a rare lavish treat. One that I always ended up regretting as the money ran out, and I went back to surviving off the classic pasta and pesto.
That being said, I did enjoy spending part of my allowance on eating out. Two for Tuesdays was quintessential to my student life; but most of my frustration didn’t come from the delicious (although incredibly unhealthy) pizza that I got though for dinner (and next day breakfast!). It came from all the times I was forced to buy something to eat on-the-go.
3) The Nuisances of Eating on-the-Go
Commuting is a big part of uni life. Going to lectures, moving from classroom to classroom, going home for a couple of hours, trekking back to lectures, you know the drill. When I look back, I realise that I inadvertently did a lot of steps on a daily basis – shame that I didn’t have my FitBit at the time to congratulate me!
This constant movement meant that I was required to eat on-the-go; either because I was late to lectures and had to have breakfast at the bus stop or because all my classes were during lunch time.
As you know (or you will learn) eating on-the-go is a pain. Not only because the options are limited, but because most of the time the options are overpriced, unhealthy or inconvenient. In the end, even I got tired of eating junk food.
4) The Impossible Task of Eating Vegan and Gluten-Free Meals
Though I complain about having limited options, it was far worse for my vegan friends. There were very few vegan sandwiches available at the SU shop, and the alternative was always something along the lines of a deep fried veggie samosa. Needless to say, it didn’t look tasty.
Beyond the limited options at the shop, there was always the possibility of splashing out on pasta or Chinese at the uni canteen. A viable option for those who didn’t care about money or health, but a dead end if you were gluten intolerant. Then you really were screwed.
Yet, vegan and gluten-free food choices were not the only limited options at uni; so were healthier, high-protein meals. The University of Bath had one of the best sports programs in the UK, but only one place where you could enjoy, clean, healthy and nutritious meals.
This meant that if you cared even the tiniest bit about diet, or are intolerant to certain foods, meal prep was pretty much the only way to go.
5) Queue, Queues, and More Queues!
The final food nightmare at uni: the lunch time queues. They were horrible, even longer than Brexit negotiations. It’s as if the bell rang and the whole university conveyed at the SU shop at the same time. By the time you got to the front of the queue, you were already late for your next lecture, the shelves were empty and you ended up having to choose between a tuna salad and a sad egg & cress sandwich. Awesome.
But even worse than the SU shop was the canteen. You may think that you’re in for a nice sit-down meal, but oh no, this wasn’t be possible at lunch time. After spending an eternity in the queue, you would inevitably find the canteen completely full, with no tables available.
Finally, a Solution!
I’m sure that you’ve been able to relate to at least one (if not more) of the previous points. Perhaps you’ve found yourself laughing, or even crying. I’m not one to judge. Yet, the reason I’ve written this article it is to share with you what I think is the solution to all of these problems: complete foods/meal replacements.
Meal replacements are nutritionally complete products that make a healthy, convenient and affordable meals a reality. While they might seem like a concept straight out of a sci-fi book, they actually exist. They are meals designed to provide you with all the essential nutrients that your body needs, according to the current scientific understanding.
And in all honesty, while I LOVE food, meal replacements would have saved me many headaches (and pounds) when I was a student.
Why Are Meal Replacements Ideal for Students?
In short, because they solve all of the issues mentioned above and more:
- They are super affordable. With under £3 per meal for most brands, you will easily be able to afford meal replacements on a student budget.
- They provide healthy, balanced and complete meal solutions. No more crappy carbs or diets oozing with saturated-fat. Meal replacements make sure that you have all the nutrients your body needs for each meal, and no more.
- No need to cook. Just shake and go. It couldn’t be easier.
- Easy to consume on the go. You can opt for shakes, bars or ready-to-drink meal replacements. As such, you can take them virtually anywhere with you, and enjoy them at any time.
- Adaptable to your dietary requirements: vegan, lactose-free, gluten-free… While finding foods to fit your dietary needs may be hard, meal replacements solve this entirely by being vegan, lactose-free, gluten-free and non-GMO meals!
- They can help you with your dietary goals (weight loss, gain etc). Given that meal replacements are completely transparent in terms of the amount of calories, protein, carbs and fats they contain, it’s really easy to use them to lose weight or gain weight. In my case, I have used Feed. SPORT to fuel my gym workouts and help with my gains.
- Minimal food waste and environmental impact. As students, we want to make sure we are doing our part to help the world improve. We all care about waste, recycling and reducing our carbon emissions. Meal replacements cause zero food waste and minimal rubbish. They are arguably one of the most environmentally friendly commercial food options.
Oh, and they deliver to your doorstep and offer free delivery. No need to go shopping and carry your heavy reusable bags all around town! Convenient, affordable, nutritious and environmentally friendly, what more do we want as a students?
Why Feed. Is a Great Meal Replacement
Feed. is an awesome meal replacement brand because it has the tastiest shakes and one of the biggest product ranges on the market, so not a chance to get bored! And all this for under a few quid per meal.
All Feed. products are vegan, GMO-free, lactose-free and gluten-free. They follow the dietary guidelines set by the European and UK authorities.
Besides having some of the best meal replacement shakes in the UK, they also have goal-oriented products.
For instance, Feed. SPORT is great for anyone involved in uni sports clubs or aiming to gain some muscle mass.
On the opposite side of the scale, if you are looking to lose weight, the LIGHT range offers meal replacement shakes and bars that can help you with this.
On the other hand, if you are someone who values convenience, you can also find the ready-to-drink meals that will suit you best.
Find Your Feed.
Feed. has such a crazy range that here are few pointers to help you choose the ideal Feed. meal for you:
Feed. Sport: Great for those with very active lifestyle, involved in uni sport clubs and fitness goals. Banana, Chocolate Hazelnut or Green Vegetables; your choice!
Feed. Original: The ideal choice for daily consumption and keeping an eye on the budget. Great for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Use the RTDs or the bars if you are looking to have your meals while commuting.
Feed. Light: Best for those that don’t need that many calories or are looking to lose some weight. Use the bars to snack while studying on the library or to fuel yourself between lectures.
Feed. Organic: These are the premium shakes for those who are committed to support organic agriculture, with a small twist: they are developed by the Michelin starred chef Thierry Marx. Good for you and good for the environment.
For more, read my extensive Feed. review.
Editor’s Note: This article was written in collaboration with Feed.