8 Budget-friendly Cooking Tips for Gen Y

Cereal for dinner and cold pizza for breakfast are not the only culinary options when you move out of home for the first time. Here are 8 clever – and cost-effective – shopping, eating and cooking tips for Gen Y. 

Gen Y live hard and play even harder – often whilst studying intensely in between it all! Therefore they need a lot of stamina, even more sleep, and a diet full of nutritious food and minerals.

Living out of home but low on inspiration for healthy living? Gen Y nutritionist and founder of The Nutrionists, Rosie Mansfield, shares her expert advice to keeping your lifestyle (relatively) clean and respectable - with a few supplement tips and hangover cures thrown in for good measure!

1. Change your lifestyle

Often, burning the candles at both ends is a lifestyle fuelled by takeaway food and yesterday's leftovers, notes Rosie. “Gen Y enjoy a wonderful attitude that the world is their oyster and they can achieve whatever they set their minds to,” she says. “However, all this is impossible in a body that can’t keep up. I believe it is my role to educate Gen Y on how to nourish their bodies to live a long journey of smashing goals.”

2. Three meals, made easy

* The four minute breakfast - Four minute boiled eggs and whole grain bread with Vegemite soldiers, are a simple, three-ingredient option.

* The two minute lunch - Add a bag of spinach with a hot deli chicken and a punnet of cherry tomatoes.

* The ten minute dinner - Chop all those leftover vegetables tumbling around in the bottom of the fridge finely and mix with two cups of vegetable stock in a deep saucepan. Bring to the boil and let simmer for two minutes. Voilà! Vegetable soup to make mum proud!

3. Get educated

“Hopping online is probably the easiest way to educate yourself on the subject of nutrition", says Rosie. “The trouble is that there is a very large vortex of information - some you should digest with a pinch of pink salt!” she cautions. “So this is where visiting a local professional nutritionist can come in handy, to sieve fad from fact.” If this is not in your budget, check out Rosie’s online nutritional 'adventures' for some cost-effective advice and guidance.

4. Cut the cost

“It’s a well-known fact that eating healthy can cost a lot sometimes,” Rosie concedes. “So a very easy trick is to research the foods you 100 per cent should go healthy on and prioritise paying a little more for them.” Rosie’s top tip is to invest in – or go organic on – the foods you grab often and eat a lot of, like apples, nuts, yoghurt, pasta, etc. Not sure what's what by way of budgeting? Keep abreast of competitive prices with watchdogs such as The Grocery Cop.

5. Your weekly shopping list

Still not sure where to start? Here is Rosie’s essential, budget-friendly, shopping list!

  • Eggs: Cheap and versatile for omelettes, a quick protein hit when boiled, or a fully fuelled breakfast.
  • Bag of spinach: This can be added to all protein to increase vitamins and iron levels. Chuck it in a bowl with some fetta, tuna and tomatoes, or include in a wrap with some salmon.
  • Pot of natural yoghurt: When low in sugar, this is a great and cheap way to get a filling snack when mixed with protein powder and a few raw nuts.
  • Frozen bananas: “Add these to smoothies or simply blend to make a late night, natural ice-cream alternative,” says Rosie.
  • Muesli: When low GI, this is another affordable breakfast option or snack to graze on.
  • Mixed beans: A tin of these won't break the bank and when rinsed, can make the perfect topping for toast, or a low-fat snack when topped with a squeeze of lemon and black pepper.
  • Wholegrain bread: Affordable and versatile for two-minute toasties and fresh sandwiches.
  • Hummus: Keep it in the fridge with some chopped veggie sticks to snack on in between meals or during long study sessions.
  • Vegetable stock: “This should always be in the freezer for those times you have some lonely old vegetables looking to be reinvented in a soup,” suggests Rosie.
  • Brown rice: The ultimate low-GI, filling dinner. Just chuck in a can of tuna, some avocado and egg, and you’re good to go.

6. Hangover be gone

Feeling worse for wear? “Wake up and crack a fresh coconut to hydrate and replenish electrolytes to rebalance the body!” urges Rosie. Then go back to sleep if your day allows!

7. Pill popping

When your diet lacks, get your supplements in pill form:

  • Vitamin B-complex is essential for a nervous system that is running full-throttle, 24/7.
  • Green powders are also excellent for getting a quick daily dose of nourishment, “especially if you know you won't find time during the rest of the day”, says Rosie.
  • Magnesium powder is great for mental health and rejuvenation, so it proves irreplaceable during exam and study swats.

8. Get moving with a flat mate

Food is only one part of the health kick-up-the-butt you may need. There is also fitness. “If your excuse is you're ‘not sporty’, your mission is to sign up to test a new sport every week,” suggests Rosie. This can prove challenging – and hilariously fun - when approached with a friend. Every council offers free options – but if strapping on your sneakers is not your idea of a good time, get your dancing shoes out and try some hip hop classes!

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