Food That Requires Little Thought; Going to University May Be the First Time You Fend for Yourself. Victoria Kennedy and Caroline Corcoran Offer the Ingredients for a Healthy Student Diet

By Kennedy, Victoria; Corcoran, Caroline | The Evening Standard (London, England), August 26, 2003 | Go to article overview

Food That Requires Little Thought; Going to University May Be the First Time You Fend for Yourself. Victoria Kennedy and Caroline Corcoran Offer the Ingredients for a Healthy Student Diet


Kennedy, Victoria, Corcoran, Caroline, The Evening Standard (London, England)


Byline: VICTORIA KENNEDY;CAROLINE CORCORAN

YOU have a shiny new saucepan and a cookbook that your mum gave you as a leaving present. Now what? Thousands of students will arrive at university next month with just a spaghetti bolognese recipe to their names. But, with a little effort, it is easier than you think to eat healthily on a tight budget.

Foods such as bread, potatoes and pasta are all cheap, easy to cook and will fill you up. And, although we all know the jokes about students living off baked beans on toast, easy-to-make dishes like these are surprisingly good for you.

Amanda Wynne, a registered dietician with the British Dietetic Association, says: "A simple meal like ham, cheese and baked beans on toast will give you the dairy, pulses and carbohydrates that you need.

"You can also buy vegetables very cheaply, especially at the end of the day when shops mark down prices. Buy some cabbage, carrots and onions, chop them up, put them in a pan, and stir in some tomato sauce. Eat this with some pitta bread to get your carbohydrates and you have a simple and healthy meal."

It is important to make sure you get all the vitamins you need to keep your immune system up. Nutritionists recommend that you eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, but even just three will make a difference.

If chopping up vegetables sounds too much like hard work, try drinking cartons of fruit juice or eating snackpacks of dried apricots or raisins.

Bananas also make great snacks. They have slowrelease energy, a low fat content and cost very little.

Anaemia is common in young people, especially girls, so getting plenty of iron is essential. Red meat is the best source of iron but fortified breakfast cereals also contain plenty of vitamins.

If you are worried you are not getting the nutrients you need, you should consider taking a multivitamin supplement.

Catherine Collins, chief dietician at St George's Hospital in Tooting, says: "Don't buy products that just focus on one vitamin and promise you glossy hair or wonderful nails. If you do want to take supplements, take one multivitamin and mineral. Look on the label to see if they have between 80 and 120 per cent of your recommended daily allowance (RDA). …

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