Sustainable Eating Tips for Student Rental Accommodation: Nourishing Yourself while Away from Home
Eating sustainably as a student living in rental accommodation may sound costly and time-consuming but there are ways to make it easy, affordable and actually fun. It starts with making more considered choices when it comes to the food items you add to your basket, adding delicious, nutritious recipes to your repertoire and adopting better habits to avoid food waste. You’ll be thinking it’s a piece of cake in no time! Here are six tips on how you can eat more sustainably as a student.
Get to know how to read food labels and understand the environmental impact of your food choices
Start by checking the sustainability ratings of your favourite products. You can find these clearly labelled on the packaging of food items, from dried pasta to frozen peas. The higher the rating, the more sustainable the product is. Food labels will also give you information about how the product impacts the environment. Look for products that are produced organically, locally and without added preservatives and artificial flavours.
Shop local and buy seasonal produce
Seasonal produce is not only the healthiest and most sustainable way to eat, it’s also the cheapest. Generally, the further food has to travel, the more energy it takes to deliver to your table. You can avoid this by going in search of local produce, either at farmer’s markets or looking for UK-grown labels on food packaging in supermarkets. The less time food spends in transit, the fresher, more nutritious and flavoursome it will be.
What’s more, eating seasonally and cooking with local produce, can also help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with food production. It can also support the local economy, including farmers and independent food businesses while teaching people the value of both food and farming by bringing us back to the basics of food production.
Buy in bulk and store in reusable containers
Put off by kilo bags of rice and sacks of potatoes? Don’t be. Buying in bulk can save you money and it can help to reduce single-use packaging that often comes with individual-sized portions.
One smart way to store food is to invest in containers you can keep in your student digs. Search for clear containers for storing cereals, rice, grains or dried beans. Or reuse jam jars, resealable yoghurt and dip pots to keep dried spices, nuts or leftovers that you can use the next day. Having reusable containers on hand will save you money in the long run, while reducing the amount of single-use plastic you bring into your student accommodation.
Use a meal plan that minimises waste
A meal plan might sound like organised fun but adding this structure to your dinner time can be fun. Plus, meal planning will help you to minimise food waste as you can make recipes that use ingredients you already have, rather than buying a load of extra components.
If you want to be really resourceful, use leftovers to make new dishes and be creative with your recipes. That way you can try to incorporate more ingredients. You can also freeze your leftovers or have them for lunch the next day.
Look for sustainable restaurants near your student accommodation
If you want to eat out while keeping a clear conscience, why not book your next dinner at a sustainable restaurant? There are plenty of them nowadays and they’re easy to find on apps such as the Good Fish Guide, British Street Food, Seasons, The Ethical Company Organisation Ethical Shopping App, Riverford Organic Veg, Wise up on Waste, Noshplanet, and Green Egg Shopper. You can also find restaurants close to your student rental accommodation that source their ingredients locally and promote sustainable practices.
Grow your own herbs for cheap, organic ingredients at home
Use outdoor space or even a window ledge in your student accommodation, to grow your own herbs. A pot of basil, mint, or parsley, is cheap to pick up from a garden centre or large supermarket and they’re easy to look after providing you plant them somewhere with plenty of sunshine. The best part of growing your own herbs is the amazing flavour they will add when you sprinkle a few leaves into a dish. Sprinkle basil leaves into a simple tomato pasta sauce, and tear mint into couscous – they’re versatile enough to go with anything!
If you’re naturally green-fingered, you could even consider expanding your herb collection to growing vegetables. Cress, pea shoots, kale, baby beetroot, edible flowers and even tomatoes are relatively easy to manage if you have some green space, a window ledge or a balcony at your student accommodation.
Eating sustainably if you’re living in student accommodation doesn’t have to be difficult or costly or a chore. It can save you money while being fun and easy! Particularly if you team up with your flatmates or friends to make it a sociable activity. Being conscious boils down to making smart choices, looking out for local businesses, reducing waste and single-use plastic and having fun in the kitchen. Armed with these tips, you’ll be able to make small steps towards helping the environment, while saving money and time. So what are you waiting for? Add these small changes into your routine today and make eating more sustainably as a student living in rental accommodation a piece of cake.
Posted on August 1, 2023