Hello and welcome to our first blog of the new academic year! We hope you have been enjoying all the Freshers’ events and are starting to get to know your fellow residents. This week we are focusing on food, with a guest blog from 3rd year student Augusta who shares how she plans and budgets for her meals, and some tips from the university catering and retail team on how to enjoy the food and drink on campus without breaking the bank.
To start with, make or download a free meal planner with four sections per day (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Just try searching online for ‘weekly meal planner template’. Then follow these steps:
1. Plan your week.
Figure out which days you will be eating meals at home and which days/times you will be eating out or on campus. My tip is to leave one or two meals blank for unplanned outings.
2. Select your recipes.
Check what food/ingredients you have left over from the previous week so as not to waste it. For example when I have left over leeks from a stir fry I use them for my Cheddar and leek risotto the next week. Choose and prepare dishes that can easily be frozen and reheated later (when you are in a rush or don’t have time to go food shopping) as well as some that are practical for on-campus lunches (i.e can fit in a container and can be eaten cold because you might not want to wait in line for the microwaves).
3. Don’t be too ambitious.
Choose recipes that you know you can prepare with the kitchen utensils that you have, that are healthy, tasty and don’t require too much washing up. You can find loads of student-friendly ideas in cookbooks (Jamie Oliver, Bosh!, etc.) and online (BBC Food, Tasty, Food network, etc.). Also, ask the people around you what they cook. You will be pleasantly surprised that some of them have really good ideas that don’t require a tin opener or a ready meal.
4. Write a shopping list:
Make a clear list with exactly what you need for the week (no more) and some extra snacks and fruit to keep you going during the day. I write a list in the order of how the supermarket is laid out. This way I don’t go back and forth in the aisles.
Why having a weekly meal plan is good:
- It avoids any unnecessary spending and therefore allows you to save money for something more exciting.
- It keeps you structured and in control of what you eat
- Allows you to spend more time discovering new dishes and flavours and avoids you eating the same thing again and again.
- It will help you maintain a balanced diet which will help you avoid getting ill and give you the energy to get through all your daily and nightly activities.
By following this routine I spend around £13-20 per week on a food shop and most weeks I cook for more than just myself. I mostly buy fresh veggies and fruit; as for my meat I normally go for sausages or chicken which I divide into portions for 1-2 people and then freeze. I always have a supply of my favourite biscuits and plenty of chocolate. A final point is that this is not a diet plan; this is simply a way to make the most of your budget whilst still enjoying your food.
Thank you to Augusta for sharing these great ideas. Our Catering and Retail Team also has 4 foodie tips for Freshers’ and beyond:
1.Get to know your campus cafes and shops
From hearty and healthy breakfasts, to lunch on the go or with friends and everything in between, we have lots of cafes and shops on the Streatham and St Luke’s campuses. Not only that, but our Market Place shops will give you everything you need for your shopping, from lunch or dinner essentials, toiletries, delicious fresh bread and pastries to fruit and veg, without having to head into town. Find out about the best places to eat and drink on campus and #eatdrinkexeter
2.Stay fuelled and live your best coffee life
Keeping you going throughout your study day is what we’re all about and our coffee shops provide creative environments to recharge and socialise. We’ve recently launched our new hot drinks brand, Barisca Coffee Co. which is unique to the University and we’d love you to join us on our coffee journey… #bariscalife
3.Get involved and get foodie freebies
Everyone loves a foodie freebie, so we’ll be running lots of taster events throughout the Autumn term. See the latest updates on our Facebook page or see the list of events on the offers and events page.
We’ll also be giving away prizes throughout the year, starting with plenty of competitions for Freshers’ week and beyond. Get social with us to be in with the chance of winning and give yourself a great start to Exeter life.
4.Learn to cook and be cooked for
Self-catering students – enhance those culinary skills with the Cookery School event on 8th October, organised by the Residence Life and Catering teams. Or why not take a break from cooking for yourself with a meal package card. Eat in the catered halls with friends and enjoy 7 meals for just £26.50. And the best bit – no washing up!
So there are plenty of tips to get you started as you settle into the university life in Exeter. Have a great week!