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Healthy Eating on a Budget

Ella Linskens, BA Arabic

Coupled with the stress of first year and adjusting to university getting takeaways and eating out become all the more appealing. This not only is the more expensive way to go, it is also almost always unhealthier. The best advice I can give you to avoiding that at university is taking advantage of the magical organic food co-op in the JCR, which opens its doors every Tuesday and Wednesday to sell organic foods. As an active member and volunteer of the food co-op, I can proudly say it’s one of my favorite things in the world.

There are a large variety of dried goods on offer, such as beans, chickpeas, rice, oats and muesli, as well as other necessities such as honey and canned tomatoes. These products don’t break the bank, and yet give you the dried staples that make whipping together a meal all the easier. If you manage to soak your dried chickpeas (add some baking soda to aid the process) and blend it with some olive oil, lemon and tahini (if you’re fancy) you can make some first class hummus for a fifth of the price you’d get it in the store.

It get’s better – the food co-op also makes available the“world’s best snack” (quoted from Mel, this newspaper’s editor) for less than a pound. Grab yourself a bag of popcorn kernels, and pop them at home in the pan. This is both cheaper and healthier than buying addictive filled processed junk foods.

Other healthy food available at SOAS is provided by Hare Krishna, who show up around lunch time every day to provide vegetarian food for free. We suggest making a small donation in thanks. Something a bit further away, but definitely worth the walk, is the Waitrose in Bloomsbury. Most groceries here are overpriced, but with a myWaitrose card, one can get a free coffee!

A market I took advantage as a fresher in Dinwiddy was Chapel Market (find it on Chapel Road, a close walk from Dinwiddy). There are stands here that offer fruits and vegetables for much cheaper than at the large supermarket chains. Best of all, you can find blueberries and raspberries here for a pound!

Some habitual changes you can implement include doing things as simple as sharing meals with flatmates (and if crazy enough making a cooking roster). This saves money, and avoids the depressing moment of eating dinner alone. To avoid eating chips after a long day in the library, make more than you need when you have time to cook and store your leftovers. Lastly and most importantly, enjoy food and the cooking process! For me it became a welcome relief to studying.

Good luck and happy healthy eating!

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