Student Diets; The Truth

by A Guest

Students are known for being less than discerning when it comes to food. Of course this is not usually down to some weird preference but more the limited finances which are hardly conducive to a more appealing diet. There are a number of snacks and meals out there which are synonymous with this young group of individuals.

Beans on Toast

Beans and toast are one of the most iconic items amongst UK academia. The main draw is their ease of preparation coupled with the fact that it comes loosely under the envelope of cooking. It’s a quick and simple dish which requires no home economic skills whatsoever. Often looked down on with contempt, they are a relatively nutritious option, high in fibre with little fat. However they are generally saturated in sugar and sodium with side effects which give way to somewhat anti social tendencies.

Doner Kebab

Image credit; malyousif

One of the worst choices in terms of the student diet is the doner kebab. Although these are generally consumed after a heavy night on the town drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, they are undoubtedly a favourite. The suspicious cuts of meat and questionable fillings were found on various studies to be excessively high in fats and salts and on most occasions contained more than 1000 calories in just one portion.

In 2006, The Foods Standards Agency found that 18.5 % of kebab takeaways in the UK provided a serious threat to the public’s health. Other studies have discovered that one kebab contained 140g of fat (twice the daily recommended for a woman) and the calorific content which was equivalent to one wine glass of cooking oil!


Image credit; Seth. W

Another popular choice, especially over the last twenty years, is the ubiquitous pizza. Usually found going mouldy in a dirty fridge or at the back of a sofa in a student hovel, they require no preparation other than dialling a number and opening a box. Undeniably tasty, they are hard to refuse with a plethora of delicious and enticing toppings, it’s no wonder they have formed a stable diet amongst the next generation of future higher earners. Pizza has had the misfortune of being classified amongst the other fast foods but this may not be entirely fair. Yes it’s fast but some studies have shown that pizzas are actually quite the nutritious meal.

Unlike other student favourites, Pizzas are an exception to the rule. It’s a little known fact that the tomato content of the sauce provides a powerful antioxidant called lycopene which is a major cancer deterrent. A study undertaken in Italy of over 8000 participants found that those who ate pizza one to two times per week were less likely to contract mouth or colon cancer. The dough itself was also found to have an antioxidant effect when cooked at high temperatures. Unlike other fast foods, you have more of a choice of toppings and more often than not these toppings will consist of an array of vegetables which further boost the health properties. In this sense it could be argued that pizza is actually a healthy meal option and should not be considered in the same light as other fast foods.

Nutritious and Cost Effective

The main objective for the ideal student diet would be meals that are nutritious and cost effective but equally appealing. The lure of pot noodles should be avoided in favour of baked potatoes and rice. Anyone can shove a potato in an oven or microwave and add a wide range of healthy garnishes which will please the taste buds as well as saving money.

Some students are actually at university to study and as such would benefit from meals high in vitamin B such as eggs, spinach and fish. As well as potatoes and tomatoes mentioned above. Cheap fish options such as sardines and tuna are easily accessible and make excellent fillings for baked potatoes. Munching on walnuts increase your fatty acid intake which works by increasing the blood circulation to the brain. Lots of pasta (again very cheap to stock up on) provides the carbohydrates which turn to glucose providing the energy for your memory and general alertness.

Follow this pattern and you can’t go wrong! If you are feeling inspired to really make a change, save the Eatwell Plate for the ultimate balance.

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This post has been provided by Sarah, a ;nutritionally conscious mother of two university students. Sarah currently works over at Ladbrokes Bingo.

This post was written by A Guest

This post was written by a guest. If you have high quality, useful information to share with students, send us an email or click Write For Us to learn more. And in case you're wondering - yes, you can promote yourself in this fancy author box.

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