Wednesday, August 15The Voice of London

Become the next food shopping guru

The last few final assessments, long hours in the library, it is getting darker and darker by the day. The grand finale of Semester 1 is finally here! And so is Christmas… which for the most of us also means tighter budgets. As this year the celebration might be extra pricey, here are some tips to keep in mind when food shopping.

Image: theminimillionaire.com

1.SHOP SMART

Sure, shopping at Waitrose or Whole Foods can bring some pretentious urban aesthetic to one’s Instagram feed, but when a small bottle of spring water infused with three stalks of asparagus retails for the minimum hourly rate, you need to stop fooling yourself and head to the nearest Aldi or Lidl. Another tip is to check out the local area to spot if there are any small fruit and veg vendors, where you can grab almost 2kg of bananas for a pound.

Image: Kate Kulniece

2.BYE-BYE TO BRANDS a.k.a. check the lower shelves

For most people choose the easy option and scan only the eye level shelves, retailers strategically place the most profitable products there. Why pay almost £4 for a packet of cereal when you can get an ASDA dupe for half the price? What shoppers also do not realise is that vibrant packaging comprises a large proportion of the price.

Image: Kate Kulniece

3.DITCH THE ‘INFUSED’, ‘HAND-CRAFTED’ AND ‘ALKALIZING’

It is delightful to learn that more people are jumping on the health wagon, yet at the same time it is amusing seeing people purchasing food items that are ridiculously expensive. Indeed, nutritious food is a worthwhile investment that can solve numerous health problems. However, do not go on spending money you do not have on products that contain the trendy keywords – ‘superfood’, ‘micro’, ‘boosting’ – and do some research prior shopping. You will be confounded to discover that for the most part, the ‘detoxifying superfood’ cult is ill-founded, and some more-conventional products, in fact, perform better than the glorified acai or goji berries.

Image: Kate Kulniece

*Fun fact: only 14% of those who purchase gluten-free produce are actually affected by celiac disease. So, unless your stomach gets upset if you accidentally ingest something wheat, barley or rye-dense, keep munching on that carbolicious-so-delicious loaf of baguette.

4.REDUCE WITH ‘REDUCED’

Unless starving to death or in an urgent need to soak up the excess booze from last night, visit your local grocery store at the end of the day. This is when the bright sticker gun is pulled out from the dark corners and yellow stickers like arrows are shot at food items which sell-by date is approaching its final hour. And we all know that the not-so-bad-looking bag of potatoes can live an extra day.

Image: Kate Kulniece

5.BATCH-COOKING IS FOR THE FITNESS FREAKS

There is nothing seemingly wrong with batch cooking – it can save you time and energy; neither of which us students have at this stage. But unless you are a gym-goer with strenuous goals to achieve, stop fooling yourself.

Two or three meals in, you will come to realise that the rice has become mushy, chicken – dry, veggies – miserable and sauce has got some mysterious lumps. And before you know it, you will be running to the local Tesco for a ready-made meal.

6.STRAIGHT TO THE REAL DEAL

Going out for a fancy meal can be a bliss for your tastebuds. For the wallet? Not so much.

Image: Kate Kulniece

I am pretty sure I am not the only one to end up with a dozen cheesy dough balls, enough tomato bruschettas to feed a family of five and a jar of olives, all before the main dish has been delivered. Not only I am left with food that will end up as waste, but with a bill my budget was not prepared for.

7.GET YOUR 8H (OR MORE)

This might sound like a joke to most of us because #sleepisfortheweak. But starting the assignment in advance rather than the night before not only will save the very last of your nerves but also some of your very last pennies.

Studies show that people who do not get enough 1-to-1 quality time with their bed can become extra hungry the next day, and extra hunger most of the time results in extra money spent on unhealthy sugary and fatty food.

Words: Kate Kulniece | Subbing: Milica Cosic

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