6 hacks for healthy eating at university
Need a nutritious meal but only got minutes? From microwave risotto to courgette spaghetti, here’s how to whip up something healthy that’s still delicious…
1. Turn your microwave into a steamer
Microwaves are for more than ready meals and warming last night’s pizza. They’re surprisingly good at cooking food without boiling out the nutrients. Think of it like a superfast steamer, cooking food by heating the molecules within.
Microwaves are built for speed, but they can cook unevenly. Cut raw veg into small equal size pieces for consistent steaming.
Not sure how long to microwave your veg for? Carrots take about 3-4 minutes on full power. If in doubt, cook the veg for 2 minutes and check for tenderness. Blast it for a little longer if needed.Get the Sistema Microwave Steamer
2. Grab a smoothie to go
Uni life is busy. Dashing from one lecture to the other. Fitting in coursework. Meeting friends. It’s a whirlwind.
But it doesn’t mean you have to skip your 5-a-day. The Kenwood Blend Xtract 3-in-1 blender comes with three different jugs – including one with a travel lid, so you can blend your smoothie in the morning and take it with you.
There’s also a 1-litre goblet – so you can blend big batches of soup and store them in the fridge – and a smaller mill for chopping nuts, herbs and coffee beans.
3. Cheat with microwave risotto
Risotto doesn’t mean slaving over a hot pan. Have a go at this quick and easy recipe for microwave butternut squash risotto. It even counts as 1 of your 5-a-day:
- 250g risotto rice
- 700ml hot vegetable stock
- 1 medium butternut squash
- Grated parmesan
- Sage leaves, roughly chopped
- Pop the rice in the bowl, add 500ml of veggie stock and cover with cling film. Microwave on high for 5 minutes.
- Peel and cut the butternut squash into medium size chunks. Stir the rice then add the squash and rest of the stock.
- Re-cover with cling film. Microwave for another 15 minutes, stirring halfway, until almost all the stock is absorbed, and the rice and squash are tender.
- Let the risotto sitfor 2 minutes, then stir in the parmesan and sage. Serve topped with more grated cheese. Delish!
4. Bulk up curries and bolognese dishes
Not every curry needs to be a take-away. They’re easy to make and can be packed with healthy pulses – like chickpeas that are cheap to buy and packed with protein and fibre. You can also chuck in lots of veg of course.
Give spag bol a healthy twist by adding carrots and celery. It’s not only good for you, but truly authentic – even Italian chefs do it.
5. Swap superfoods for cheaper alternatives
Fed up of bloggers banging on about the wonders of kale, goji berries and coconut water? Try these less expensive foods that are often overlooked:
- Broccoli. It may not be as ‘hip’ as kale but it’s packed with similar goodness – like calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin A and fibre.
- Raspberries. The humble raspberry is full of nutrients like vitamin C and fibre – perfect for adding to smoothies.
- Water. Coconut water may be the latest buzz drink, but plain old tap water is the ultimate superfood. Add a pinch of salt and a dash of fruit juice for a post-workout boost.
6. Visit supermarkets at closing time
Call in at closing time and grab yourself a bargain. Marked down meat and veg may be close to its ‘use by’ date but pop it in the freezer or blend it into soups and it’ll last a whole lot longer. And cost you half the price.