The Student Friendly Food Guide
For students on a budget staying on top of your food situation can be hard. Charlotte Lloyd has rounded up some of the most convenient and easiest options to get you through first semester.
As Uni students, we all know the struggles that can come from trying to budget. Whether this is for food, rent or even just keeping a social life, it can be hard to find the perfect balance between spending money on things you really need, and, overdoing it by spending a bit too much.
One of the hardest things for most students, and people in general, is finding what works best for you based on your budget. Everyone’s life differs and this can be why it is so hard. ‘Just go to your friends for advice’ many would say, but what works for them doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you. I have personally spent hours flipping through cookbooks, picking out meals for the week, only to spend money on the ingredients for one time use only, which then go on to sit at the back of the cupboard.
Then there are the times we don’t cook, instead opting for takeout, which ends up being marginally more expensive in the long run. This cycle is not viable for me and certainly not viable for students in similar predicaments. Below are some possible solutions and outcomes which help us get the most out of our meals while maintaining and thriving in every other aspect of our lives.
Free Food Friday at UNSA
One of the much-loved traditions at UON is the Free Food Friday at UNSA, which is hosted in partnership with OzHarvest, Australia’s leading food rescue organisation.
Countless local restaurants, supermarkets, cafes, airports, and hotels have leftover food and one of the main goals of OzHarvest is to rescue this food and deliver it to charities and not-for-profit groups. UNSA offers this service every Friday from 9 am at their office on Callaghan Campus. Most of the food is fruits and vegetables, however, this does vary with frozen meats, bread, and pre-packaged food. The recommendation is to get in early, as Free Food Friday is well known so much of it is gone within 15 minutes.
Lots of students show their faces from 8.30, queuing to get their pick of the food. So head on down to UNSA office bright and early and start your Friday off in the very best way possible, nourishing your body with zero cost. Commencing on Friday, February 12th, and goes until mid-semester break on April 9th.
One of the only ways, and sometimes easiest ways, students get by is simply by meal preparation. For me this worked for a while, and is great for that student who is always on the run and doesn’t have time to cook meals day after day. On a day of the week that suits best, when you have time, cooking in bulk and freezing for the week is easily achievable.
While this doesn’t work for everyone, having your meals prepped, planned, and thought out before you walk in the door late at night, and having it ready with a quick zap in the microwave can be a relief. Prepping your meals in advance can also be used in conjunction with an exercise plan, as it helps to keep you on track, healthy, and accountable.
And no more opting for takeout because it’s too late and there’s nothing in the cupboard, which often becomes a common excuse (based on personal experience). Let’s be honest, most post-takeout feelings end with guilt and regret. This, not only stemming from what you just ate but spending money on food that isn’t cheap and if you’d only been a little more prepared it wouldn’t have happened. So spend that day off Uni, or work, looking at meals you can cook, freeze and will help you avoid those feelings of regret.
This being the option that works best for me might mean I’m a little biased on this one, but the ease and convenience of this option is what makes it a top tier option for me. Obviously, the ability of such an option depends on how much you’re willing to spend, how many people you’re cooking for, and what type of food you like. But despite all this, for me this option has been my saving grace.
I found that as a student, if it was left up to me, I would result in not cooking at all, or as I mentioned before, opting for a more convenient, less healthy, and regrettable option. By using Hello Fresh as a student it means I don’t waste food because everything sent is the amount you need; no more and no less. Food waste used to be one of my biggest problems.
‘Hello Fresh‘ has the ability to cater to your needs, whether it be in serves, preferences, or even the delivery day. The possibilities are endless. Not literally endless, but you catch my drift. There are countless menu preferences such as classic, family-friendly, veggie, calorie smart, gluten-free, and even quickest recipes. It is not necessarily the most inexpensive option, for those focusing on convenience and practicality, this is the option for you.
Fellow students know how hard it can be to juggle a social life, making sure we have food on the table, and, keeping on top of our studies. Living out of home can be super hard and isn’t often talked about. From buying too much food, to having nothing in the fridge or cupboards. Whether it be through taking full advantage of what the Uni has to offer, or making sure that at the start of the week you know your meals from start to finish, back to front.
There are a number of viable options for students. However, when weighing these options remember the ultimate goal is being able to sustain a healthy lifestyle and nourishing our bodies in the most budget-friendly ways we can.
Feature Image: Madelyn Gardiner, Yak Media Designer