Being a student can be tough: endless deadlines, not being able afford the heating bill, sharing the freezer…. I’m sure we’ve all had (or will have) that argument of “OMG WHY THE F**K ARE YOUR POTATO WAFFLES ON MY SHELF OMFG YOU SELFISH B…”. Ya know the one. And for those who aren’t students… we may have more freezer room but sometimes, we don’t even know what’s in there, let alone utilise the space. Is that a playdoh shaped cow on the lamb joint?
Reality is, whilst freezing is your best friend when it comes to preserving foods, realistically what student has more than 1 shelf to themselves, which pretty much holds an ice cube tray and a bag of peas. What family has it nicely organised with foods they actually eat, rather than storing every nights leftovers in there for the past month, only for them to be forgot about until you rediscover them 6 months later? Nope. So today, I thought I’d give you some tips on how to savvy shop, prevent your food from dying within a day and to save you a few arguments over that fridge freezer that your landlord says is totally acceptable for a house of 12.
Nope, not your 4 pack of Strongbow Dark Fruits, but tinned food is actually okay you know? Tinned food has a bit of a bad name for itself really, associated with primary school fayres and fishing through your grandmas cupboards for something to eat. But honestly, tinned is where it’s at. If you know how to work with it, then its your best friend.
I honestly recommend purchasing Jack Monroe’s ‘Tin Can Cook’ (not an affiliate link) for some recipe info – all her meals cost pennies per portion and there is some super balanced and yummy ideas going on.
Your must have tins:
Just add water!
Water is a magical thing really. Keeps us hydrated, gives us a good wash.. it also makes up the majority of our food. I know! Crazy right? There’s actually so many store foods that you can make a pretty decent meal out of by simply rehydrating and sometimes reheating that tiny lil packet. You can use them as a foundation or a side to any dish to give it a little bit of extra life or to simply, save time in the kitchen.
My top picks:
Of course, I’m sure we all stored dried ingredients in our cupboard, but just a reminder – they’re brill. Cheap as chips (well, cheaper to be far), they’re a staple for pretty much every meal.. and have a sell by date of pretty much forever.
So, as you know, here’s your staples:
May I add, don’t forget about the microwavable versions! They don’t last as long but you can get all sorts of crazy flavour combos.. I mean peri peri and reggae style rice? Yes please!
Now the jars are great for food that adds all those lil zingy bits to a meal. Extra flavour and texture, even a bit of heat. Food is jars is often preserved in things such as vinegar, salt and sugar, so be sure to see exactly what you’re eating and how good it is for you, but as we know, treats every now and again are good for the soul. Perfect on toast or as the topping to a tray bake, jars have lots to offer, as well as being dirt cheap compared to the fresh equivalents.
Jars on the top of my shelf:
Now guys, here me out on this… we don’t always need fresh milk to get on with our lives. Now milk is probably top of the kitchen battle list. “You drank MY milk!?”. “Who forgot to chuck out the lumpy yellow slime”. “For gods sake HAROLD you forgot to pick up milk AGAIN?!”. Now now guys, lets give you a solution.
Don’t turn your nose up at dried milk. It’s a Dietitian’s best friend and we prescribe everyone the stuff. Its a perfect addition to add to your porridge, drinks or even sauces to get your milky resolution. Simply, add water! If this isn’t your thing, then UHT is a lifesaver! For the last few years of being a student (or busy and away from home) then I’d always leave UHT in the cupboards. Takes ages before it goes off, can get it in both animal and plant varieties AND it’s actually cheaper than the fresh stuff. Money saving win there!
So I hope you’ve enjoyed my tips on how to get a pretty balanced diet and full store cupboard without having to rely on your freezer (and preventing a few arguments I hope).
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Emma is a pre-registration Dietitian and Registered Associate Nutritionist based in Cheshire, England. Emma works in community healthcare and writes freelance alongside her work: topics including Dietetic life, nutrition, mental health and lifestyle. Emma also writes and photographs recipes for the platform, as well as being the author of the ‘Mummy and Me’ series for SR Nutrition. Emma’s Food Stories is PR friendly brand.