The Weekly Read: How to shop healthily on a college life budget
It's pretty difficult to be sure you're getting your nutrients when you're living the college life.
When your last tenner vanishes, your first priority isn't exactly whether you're going to eat healthy, but whether you're going to eat at all.
But let those days be part of your misty past, and allow me to guide you towards a horizon of broccoli-loving, purse-friendly, healthy shopping tips.
It might sound like a dream, but let me tell you, it’s all true.
1. Make a list
It sounds like 'that thing' your mum used to do when you went on the weekly food shop, but a list will prod you back on track if you stray towards the sweet counter, and it helps you make sure you don't forget something integral (like tea).
If you've a clear idea of just what you need to buy – and a vague ballpark of how much it will all cost – it will save you from that last-minute impulse purchase when you're wavering by the till.
2. Bulk buying is your best friend
Bulk buy staples like rice, pasta, meat, oats, frozen vegetables – or anything you can freeze and will eventually use.
Don't bother with the mythical 'deals'; usually, you weren't planning on getting that two-for-one doughnut anyway, and it'll probably end up half-eaten in the bin.
3. Don't shop while hungry
One thing I can guarantee: heading into brightly lit supermarket aisles with even a little bit of a hunger is like willingly offering yourself to the wolves.
Shops are laid out specifically to target you. The trolley full of biscuits and cake might delight you for a day, but the sugar rush is inevitably followed by its cousin, the less-saccharine being in debt to your parents. And nobody enjoys that.
4. Stock up on fruit and veg
It might not be what you crave with every fibre of your soul when you're hungry, but it will do pretty well for the rest of the week.
Fruit makes for handy snacks between lectures; bananas come with their own natural wrapper, after all. And if you want to avoid putting on the pounds, you're going to need to start adding veg to every meal.
5. Buy in season
I'm not suggesting you study Irish food ripening seasons, but we all have a good enough rule-of-thumb knowledge that's easy to abide by.
Strawberries will be pricey in December, but cheaper in July. Banana prices will stay stable as we can't grow them here. Potatoes are relatively cheap for a longer period of time.
Find out what's fresh and include them on your shopping list. I can guarantee you'll gain and lose pounds in all the right ways