The typical student lifestyle isn’t exactly conducive to weight loss is it? Students have a reputation for being partial to a few beers, which is terrible for the waistline and a great source of completely empty calories. The stereotypical student menu also seems to feature mainly beans on toast and cheesy pasta, with Pot Noodles and junk food being high on the list of cupboard staples.
Well, it doesn’t have to be this way, and if you want to try and lose some weight while at college or university, it can be done without too much extra effort. The notion that healthy food is expensive is a fallacy, and the main supermarkets are really trying to up their game with offers on fresh fruit and veg that mean you are able to stock up on filling, nutritious foods and not survive on rubbish. For example, Morrison’s took the lead in summer 2011 and began running price promotions that offered certain fresh fruit and veg products for just 49p each – much, much cheaper than a packet of Super Noodles!
Losing weight when all around you are stuffing their face with junk food can seem like an impossible task but there are a few tips which will give you a head start, and not only will you lose weight, but the healthy, nutritious foods that you’ll be filling up on will make you feel much healthier as well!
Why not save money and time by getting together with your housemates if you’re in shared accommodation, and doing the shopping online between you? That way you can do a bigger shop, which often saves money. You can also see exactly how much you’re spending as you go, take advantage of online only deals and get all the best offers in one place. You can order larger amounts of fresh fruit and veg, buy two (and three) for one offers on healthy ranges and split them between you, and generally use the service to your advantage. Not forgetting the fact that you get it all delivered to your door!
Markets are Your Friend!
If you’ve never shopped in markets before, now is the time to start. Most towns will have a weekly market, and if you know how to work them you can get some great bargains of the kind of foods that will be fantastic for weight loss – fresh meat and fish, or fruit and vegetables. The trick is to hang around until late afternoon when the offers come out on the fruit stalls, and you’ll be inundated with punnets of strawberries, ten oranges for a pound and more. Fresh fish and meat traders have to get rid of their produce before the end of the day, too, so there are some amazing bargains to be had. Opt for fresh, plain chicken, fish and lean cuts of meat and avoid pies, burgers and sausages. They will be cheap but not so good for your diet.
Don’t be Afraid of Carbs
It’s a terrible cliché that students live on pasta, but don’t scoff at the humble bag of tagliatelle as you can come up with great, low fat meals on a budget and with very little effort. Don’t bother paying out for expensive pasta sauces as they are often loaded with fat and additives. If you like a tomato based sauce, it’s far easier and cheaper to make your own with a tin of chopped tomatoes, herbs, some garlic, onion and other veggies if you like them. Mushrooms are always good with a pasta sauce. If you want to add some protein, try some tinned tuna for a cheap and tasty option – or prawns can be nice in pasta too. Meat can be more expensive but have you tried jazzing up a can of ready-made low fat chicken in white sauce from a supermarket with some tarragon and other herbs, adding a few chopped mushrooms and pouring over a (small) portion of cooked pasta? You could share that with a friend and have a delicious, low fat, filling meal for around a pound per person. As long as you keep your portion sizes down, pasta is just fine for losing weight on a student budget so don’t let the carbohydrate police stop you enjoying it!
Beans, legumes, pulses, in all their forms these are perfect weight loss food. Cheap and nutritious, they will fill you up and won’t pack on the calories. Anything from the humble baked beans on toast option to a veggie chilli (substitute meat for a can of kidney beans and a can of pinto or mixed beans, mix with a can of tomatoes, garlic, onions, mushrooms and pepper, add herbs and spices and simmer it all together for a lower-than-low fat chilli that will keep you full for ages. Serve it with a small portion of rice and you can be a slim, saintly student!