One of the biggest advantages of living away from home is being able to eat what you want, not what your parents tell you to eat. And no, I’m not talking about having Pot Noodles all day, every day!
It’s a great opportunity to try out a meat-free diet and to see if it works for you. Here are my tips for how to make following a vegetarian diet at uni as easy as possible.
If being 100% vegetarian isn’t practical, just pick and choose what you want to cut out
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be all or nothing when it comes to eating a vegetarian diet. It doesn’t matter if you cut out beef but still eat chicken, or if you decide to have fish twice a week – it’s important to do what’s right for you, your health, and your wallet.
It doesn’t have to cost a fortune
Good sources of protein like chickpeas and kidney beans can be bought for as little as 30p a tin, depending on the brand and the supermarket.
Recipe books are a worthwhile investment
It’s great that there are thousands of vegetarian recipes on the internet, but often it’s hard to know where to start looking. Recipe books save you time while also giving you lots of choice. Some are purely focused around one ingredient, such as sweet potatoes, or are aimed specifically at students on a budget.
You don’t have to cook something fresh every night
If you cook more than one portion, you can put the leftovers in the fridge for dinner the next day, or pop them in the freezer for a later date. This also makes it easier to follow a recipe that serves more than 1 person because you then don’t have to divide the ingredient quantities.
Make a weekly meal plan
It’s well worth spending 15 minutes every weekend deciding what you’re going to eat for dinner that week, especially if you’ve got a busy schedule. Juggling everything at uni can be difficult, so having a meal plan gives you one less thing to think about.
Write a weekly shopping list and try your best to stick to it
If you know you only need two potatoes for the coming week, only buy two! Maybe in the long run that huge bag of potatoes will save you a few pence, but it’s not worth it if you’re unlikely to eat them all before they go off.
If you’re struggling for ideas, just think about how your favourite meals can be made vegetarian-friendly
You can make your favourite curry by simply replacing the chicken with paneer (a soft Indian cheese) and maybe adding chickpeas for extra protein.
With a bit of organisation and savviness, following a vegetarian diet can be simple and affordable on a student budget and schedule. These tips are just a loose guide – finding what works for you personally is the most important thing!