Food&Drink Writer Izzy Frost discusses the effects of university life on our eating routine, giving advice on how to adapt your diet
We will all remember the initial excitement of coming to university and having the liberating realisation that you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want, alongside the revolution of eating your chicken nuggets straight off the tray you cooked them on to save on washing up. But what happens to your eating habits when the novelty of this wears off?
For most, next comes the daunting concept of having to come up with enough meal ideas to last you for the foreseeable future. Although, of course, everyone has a different level of experience of cooking for themselves, forming eating habits that fit around the busy schedule of a student lifestyle can be extremely intimidating. Using University of Birmingham’s Meal Plan scheme rather than catered accommodation for first year students is equally as nerve-wracking for some I’m sure.
In my first year, however, I was excited to be in self-catered halls, as without any set mealtime I was able to have all the freedom with my schedule that I wanted. Although being in self-catered accommodation might throw some people in at the deep end of ‘adulting’ life, I think it can be one of the best ways to ease yourself into the world of budgeting, and to develop an appreciation for shops like Home Bargains.
From my experience, one of the factors that impacts many students eating habits at university the most is the nightlife. We all know the satisfaction of those longed-for cheesy chips at the end of a night out, and of finding the perfect hangover breakfast. Although the mix-up of eating times that comes with a night out can be stressful for some, it is simply another facet of the independence that university brings. The key is to find that balance between eating your fruit and veg, and giving in to the child in you by eating potato smileys for breakfast.
To anyone who finds it difficult adapting their eating habits to fit around university life, my advice would firstly be to try as much of the culinary scene around Birmingham as you can – you’ll easily gain lots of ideas for things you could re-create for yourself. There is so much to try, and if you need inspiration, the Food&Drink section of Redbrick is the perfect place to start. Secondly, whatever meals fit in with your daily routine, try to incorporate your 5-a-day – it turns out that this is a cliché for a reason!