Lectures, tutorials, extracurricular activities, part time jobs and juggling free time spent with friends and family, the life of a university student can be hectic!
With so many demands on your time, it’s often a challenge to eat healthily. Between the lack of time and a tight budget, students typically reach for convenient, easy-to-cook meals which may have low nutritional value.
But with such a full schedule, it’s actually even more important for you to have a healthy lifestyle. Eating clean is one lifestyle choice you can make to be healthier. To help you out, here is our guide for uni students who want to eat clean without breaking the bank.
1. Decide on your food budget
To save money on food expenses, it's important to first know how much money you have to spend on food. Budgeting involves knowing how much money you have and what you spend that money on.
lf you've never budgeted before, track your spending over one week. Note down and categorise every expense. At the end of the week, tally it up to find out where your money goes. It may surprise you how muchyou actually spend on food per week!
2. Plan out your weekly meals in advance
Once you have your food budget, the next step is to plan out your meals in advance. This allows you to stretch your dollars and not get distracted when grocery shopping. Having a weekly meal plan also means that you can do food prep in batches, which cuts down cooking time during busy weeknights.
3. Add more green to your diet
Make the decision to increase the amount of fresh ingredients and produce in your meals. Fresh greens are often affordably priced compared to proteins so doubling up on your portion of vegetables is a good way to eat well without spending too much.
If making regular trips to the supermarket is too much hassle, you can also get frozen vegetables that are just as healthy as fresh ones. Another alternative is canned items such as our Ayam Brand™ Whole Kernel Corn and Processed Peas. They give you the goodness of veggies with the convenience and shelf life of canning.
4. Make smart choices when grocery shopping
Eating clean is about making smart food choices and it all begins with what you buy in the supermarket. As a student, the convenience to ease and budget-friendly price of canned food cannot be beaten. Being on a clean diet doesn’t mean completely avoiding canned goods!
There are plenty of healthy options that are canned. Some examples include beans, coconut milk and canned fish such as tuna and sardines. For example, our Ayam Brand™ Sardines In Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a great source of protein and omega 3 fats and it has zero trans fat — perfect for eating clean. Another great choice is our Ayam Brand™ Tuna Chunks in Water, a lean protein that is low in fat. You can also try our Ayam Brand™ Baked Beans Light. They're low in fat, high in fibre, and contain less sodium and sugar.
5. Complex carbs are your best friend
When eating clean, complex carbohydrates such as brown rice and whole-grain pasta are good choices. Compared to refined carbs (white rice, white bread), complex carbs keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer.
In terms of price, they are often not much more expensive so buying them will not ruin your food budget. Besides, items such as brown rice and whole-grain pasta have a longer shelf life so you can stock up on them if they’re on sale!
6. Cut down on sugar
The amount of sugar in soft drinks is astounding! Did you know that one serving of soft drink (375ml) has 40g of sugar in it? Chugging down soft drinks not only hurts your wallet but also puts you at risk for diabetes in the future. Cutting down on sugar by cutting out soft drinks from your diet is an easy way to eat clean on a budget.
Instead of soda, go for barley instead! Did you know that barley is an excellent source of fiber, which helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood? Make your own homemade barley drink with our Ayam Brand™ White Pearl Barley.
7. Save your leftovers
Cut down on food waste and save money by saving your leftovers. Preparing more than one portion can cut down the effort and time needed to cook your meals; simply cool down the food before packing them into reusable containers and placing them in the fridge. If you’re not planning to use the leftovers for the next day’s lunch, freeze them instead so that they can last longer.
Ayam Brand™ products can be found at all leading supermarkets and hypermarts.