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We all know students have a tight budget and don’t have time to spend hours cooking. But they need nutritious meals to keep them healthy and for optimal brain function.

Try one or more of the following tips to increase your nutritional intake:

  • Try to always combine proteins, carbohydrates, vegetables and fat with each meal – this will ensure that you consume a variety of nutrients daily.
  • Cook in bulk (for 3 – 4 people) and freeze the meals in separate microwaveable / ovenproof dishes – next time you only have to defrost and heat the healthy homemade meal.
  • If you don’t want to freeze the food – prepare enough food to also have at lunch the next day.
  • Cook with friends – start a dinner club where each person gets one night of the week where they have to cook a meal for everyone in the dinner club. This means that everyone will only have to cook once a week (or less) and will still receive healthy and nutritious meals the whole week. You can work on a budget: R200 per night for 4 people (R50 per person) – Example: buy a roast chicken (already cooked), bag of vegetables (to steam in the microwave), potatoes (boil with skin on stove or in microwave) and a salad. Voila
  • Have some frozen vegetables in the freezer – it only takes a few minutes to steam in the microwave and can go with any dish: some leftover meat of the previous day, a piece of fish cooked in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • Don’t forget about sandwiches, wraps or pitas every now and again when your time is limited – use whole wheat options and make sure to add protein (like tuna, eggs or leftover meat) and some lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes. (bread / wraps and pitas freeze well).

We often snack during the day or when we have to study – it doesn’t matter what time of the day you eat, as long as you make sure the snacks are healthy:

  • Nuts / seeds / biltong – Buy in bulk and portion immediately into smaller plastic bags, otherwise we tend to over eat. Make sure to have a small packet in your bag when you leave for class – if you develop cravings or become hungry you have a healthy alternative and will decrease the chance of buying chocolate / chips / pies, etc.
  • Have yogurt and fruit in your fridge at eye level – research shows that we tend to eat what is visible
  • In the summer you can freeze the fruit and make sorbet – blend together (mango can be eaten without blending it)
  • Have vegetables, (that is edible raw) in your fridge and cut into strips once a week (like cucumber, carrots, peppers, Rosa tomatoes). The vegetables can be served with low fat cottage cheese, mixed with 1tbsp. sweet chili sauce, hummus or even an avocado dip.

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be time consuming, boring or expensive!