Living in London by oneself is not easy. For students, besides devoting to study, one also has the responsibility to take care of his or her own life. Cooking as well as grocery shopping, to be fair, is the most important yet challenging part of that.
Quick-frozen food is fast, convenient, cheap and they come in handy when you are in a real rush, but eating that too often is to sacrifice one’s healthy life because quick-frozen food is less nutritious and contains more sugar, sodium and carbs.
To avoid unhealthy habits and eat cheap and fresh using minimum time, grocery shopping strategies needs to be developed. There are a few things to bear in mind.
First of all, choose vegetables that can either eat raw or cooked.
This gives you better versatility. Taking my own grocery haul as an example, I use bell peppers, lettuce and tomatoes to make either a healthy salad in ten minutes or cooked them in separate dishes, sometimes with meat.
Secondly, living alone doesn’t mean you cannot buy anything in a bigger package.
Bigger package is always cheaper and it is not as terrifying as it seems for people living alone. Dealing with it smartly, it won’t go expired and it won’t take a lot of time. The pork belly box in the picture above looks big, and yes, it is. Six-hundred gram of pork is indeed a lot effort, let alone the time it takes to defrost and everything. However, if you do sub-packaging and/or cook it all at once, you can enjoy both the cheaper price and conveniency.
Once purchasing it home and before putting it into the freezer, slice them up or cut them into cubes, and use plastic wrap to separate them in shares. It takes less time to defrost one share and it save you the trouble to slice it up every time you cook. On the other hand, you can simply just cook them all however the way your like and reheat a share per meal. There are many ways to save time and money and eat healthy. You will just have to think about it.
Thirdly, always remember to put yogurt, fruit or juice on your shopping list.
I don’t always have three meals a day. A late morning brunch is actually more reasonable for students with due dates. But the controversy this creates that when shall I have dinner? It’s really difficult to make it later than 4 pm, but a 4 pm dinner means one will have to arrange a midnight snack. Therefore, yogurt, fruit or juice at afternoon tea time is the perfect solution for us students.
Attached is the price of my grocery items (shown in the photo above) for about half a week. In total, it costs £14.42.
Green Grapes 500g £1.95
Chicken Thigh 300g £1.85
Bell Pepper*3 £1
Mushrooms 300g 90p
Pork belly 600g £3.75
Carrots loose*2 27p
Savoy cabbage 70p
Iceberg lettuce 250g 80p
Naked Mixed Juice 750mL £2.5
Other essential items (price estimated)
Eggs (a dozen) £2 Milk (2 pints) £1 Bread sliced 75p- £1.5
All in all, £20 to £25 per week in supermarkets can pretty much give you a healthy and easy life.