Bites by Becs: Top tips for Staying Healthy
Friday, 13 April 2018
Becca Sandwith; Brookes Ambassador and third year nutrition student.
Being a student myself, I understand how it can be hard to always follow a healthy lifestyle, especially with the end of term fast approaching. You may think the late nights, irregular routines and tight budgets are restricting you; however, I am going to give you some of my tips on how you can stay healthy.
At the start of each week, work out how much money to keep aside for going out with your friends and how much you can spend on food
Pick your supermarket wisely
Oxford supermarkets are limited and the cheaper chains are located further out of the city - however, take any opportunity you can to get to Aldi or Lidl and stock up on all the good deals!
Keep an eye out for deals
This doesn’t mean take advantage of every ‘buy one get one free’ on crisps and chocolate! Look out for offers on products such as fish, meats and dry goods
Frozen fruits and veg
Many of us will use the excuse of “I can’t buy salad, fruits and vegetables because a) they take up too much space on my shelf in the fridge, and b) they go off too quickly”. This simple swap will help - head to the frozen aisle in the supermarket and you’ll find heaps of your favourite fruit and veg. I tend to buy frozen spinach, kale and mixed berries. You can also find packets of banana, strawberries and mango that are perfect for smoothies
Look out for reductions
If you head into the supermarkets at the end of the day or just have a look at the reduced shelf when you’re in there, you’ll find plenty of fresh foods with reduced labels on. Take advantage of these whenever you can!
Freeze meat and fish
At the beginning of each semester I will buy a large packet of chicken breasts and individually place them in freezer bags and freeze them. This way every morning or evening I can take out a piece for dinner each day. Whenever large pieces of salmon are on offer, I will buy one, slice it into individual fillets and again freeze them individually. This makes eating well very convenient
Avoid Pot Noodles and Ready Meals
Although they may seem cheap and convenient, they lack nutrition and are usually high in salt and saturated fat
Following on from the previous point, you will be getting more value for money buying and cooking bulk meals. When I am cooking my dinner, I usually cook double so that I have something to take to Uni for my lunch the following day. Similarly, cooking a whole chicken is cheaper than it might seem and will last for a couple of days. As chicken is so versatile, it’s always good to have some cooked chicken in the fridge. Making large meals with your flatmates will also be more cost effective
Supermarket own brand
Choosing a supermarket own brand over a branded version will save you plenty of money. Most of the time they taste exactly the same as the branded version so remember this one!
Keep healthy snacks around
To resist the temptation of heading to the shop for a chocolate bar every day, stock up on healthy snacks. Some of my favourites are rice/corn cakes and peanut butter, a handful of nuts, hummus and pitta bread or carrot sticks, a bowl of natural Greek yoghurt and berries, popcorn or nut based snack bars. Watch out for the sugar content in snack bars!
Stocking up on staples
Stocking up on foods such as wholegrain rice, whole-wheat pasta, oats, tins of chopped tomatoes, herbs, spices, tins of beans/chickpeas means you will always have some basic foods to make a healthy meal. If you buy a loaf of wholegrain bread, instead of letting it go off every week, freeze it. This works the same for things like wraps and pitta bread. Bread will toast exactly the same if it comes out of the freezer, so always having some in the freezer will save you some money
Drink plenty of water
Keep a water bottle in your bag wherever you go. Keeping hydrated is so important, aim for 2 litres a day
Keep active - take advantage of open spaces
I hear many students say “Oh but I can’t afford a gym membership”. Working out and keeping active doesn’t have to cost you money –find a friend that enjoys running and go out for a run together. You can also head down to the park and do some circuits in the park with friends
Walk as much as possible
Walk to the shops and walk to your lectures. It is recommended that we walk approximately 10,000 steps a day so keep an eye on your phone or fitness tracker if you have one and aim to walk as much as possible
Make the most of Brookes' gyms
Brookes offer a great price for student membership – if the majority of your lectures are on campus, packing your gym kit in your bag will help motivate you to go when you’ve finished your lectures. Working out with friends will make exercising a lot more fun so book onto classes and arrange times to meet and go together
Get enough sleep
As hard as it might be at Uni, aim for 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Sleep has a huge impact on your health. If you have had a late night, try and have a nap in the afternoon to boost your energy levels
Finally, having a balanced lifestyle is so important, especially at University. There is no reason for not being able to go out and enjoy the student life as well as keeping active and healthy. Although you are at Uni for your degree (at least most of us are!!), the Uni experience is all about making friends and memories. Make the most of joining societies and sports teams
If you would like to have a look at Brookes Gym please visit us at Oxford Brookes University Centre for Sport in Headington or Harcourt Hill.
You can find Becca on Instagram