This week at Know You More we are talking all about motivation! And with it coming round to the winter months, it’s getting increasingly harder to pick salads over pizzas, to pick fruit over chocolate and muesli over bacon..

Our lovely guest blogger Alex Staff advises us on how to eat a bit healthier at University.

A famine or a feast

The experience of going to Uni is always completely different and unique to everyone who goes, but there is something I think everyone agrees on. In first year, one of two things happens: 1) you get overexcited with the possibility of eating pizza for every meal and put on weight, or 2) you panic without your mum’s cooking, live off poppadoms and mango chutney and waste away. Neither is good, and unfortunately I fell into the first category. I was never a bad cook; I used to make dinner sometimes at home and knew how to cook a few dishes but it wasn’t the actual cooking that I struggled with, but the preparation and having the right food in.

Rather than having the structures of eating at home with set dinner times that fit in a number of people, there’s an incredible sense of freedom when you go to Uni. Similarly to your attendance, your flatmates (unlike your mother) will not care if you choose to live off Pringles. There are no restrictions and you can eat whatever and whenever you want.

While this is ultimately a good thing as you are forced to be independent and ‘grow up’, for a lot of people the well-intended brand new cooking gear just sit unused in the cupboard (apart from when you run out of bowls and are left with a saucepan for your cereal).

When adding an egg to super noodles is fine dining..

Plan your meals

Even if you’re one of the lucky ones who can eat whatever you want without putting on weight, eating unhealthily is never a good thing as it affects the way you feel, your energy levels and your general wellbeing. Plus, eating out and eating takeaways constantly is expensive.

Possibly the hardest part about cooking for one is the planning required to make sure you don’t buy ingredients that end up going off before you can use them. By planning your meals at the beginning of the week and picking ingredients that go off as late as possible you can do one big food shop rather than having to go to the shop every day (both expensive and annoying). Teach yourself how to cook a few meals without having to use a recipe and learn what foods you like; generally, so long as you like the ingredients you’re using and cook it properly you can’t go too wrong. Don’t worry about not following recipes or going wrong – it’s all part of the process and if you cook with friends and you can split the cost of the ingredients. If you learn to enjoy cooking it won’t be a chore.

Feeling inspired to cook? Let us know your favourite student recipe's!