What I am not going to do this month

Starting Monday the 22nd, I will not be spending money on snacks.

Ask anyone that knows me, and they will tell you I have a constant supply of food. My food cupboard at university is filled to the brim with random foods, sauces, condiments and spices, and my friends always laugh at me for having a full cupboard of stuff to eat. However, I do not stop there. I am a hungry, hungry human being, and for this I always bring snacks to class, which of course, I buy at the student shop (aka the most expensive place you could ever buy snacks) before my lecture. This has become a daily habit for me, and one that I am intending to break.

Scientifically, it takes 21 days to break a habit. After this time, the image of whatever your habit is ‘dissolves’ in your brain, as in you don’t think about it as a routine anymore. 21 days sounds easy enough, as we break our weeks into weekends and weekdays, however, weekdays are my problem. I was taught at an early age to not go food shopping on an empty stomach as you simply buy unnecessary things, and in first year of uni this proved very difficult for me. I have been struggling to eat, and not in a sense of I’m scared of eating, but I just don’t want to. Initially I thought my addiction to cheap food was the easiest way to go, as chips and turkey dinosaurs take you a long way at uni, however, its not the case health-wise.

Because of this, I have gained some weight. Not actual weight, but you can now tell I am a lot pudgier than I was before I started uni. I can’t blame it all on my poor eating habits as I am aware there are other factors such as stress, but I can blame the majority of my weight gain on eating unhealthy food.

Something to mention also, you never realise how quickly fruit goes off until you buy it yourself. I feel like when my mum used to buy fruit in the house it would last ages and then she would have a go at me and my brother for not eating it and it going mouldy, but now I understand the frustration. Fruit is quite expensive for how little you get. Potatoes at ASDA cost you £1.30 for 2.5 kilograms. It says they have a ‘3 day typical life’ period, but its obvious they last longer. I can tell you that I have never eaten 2.5 kilos of potatoes in two days, and as much I am a slav and love my potatoes, it just doesn’t happen. However, a 400g punnet of strawberries costs £2.50, with a ‘2 day typical life’ and they usually go mouldy within the first, even if you keep them in the fridge. I also think this is one of my problems, I love fruit, but I know that I’m just not going to eat all of it in a day. It discourages me to buy fruit when it is so expensive and goes off so quickly, which is also perhaps something that supermarkets should think about.

Anyway, moving onto what I’m actually giving up. I spend too much money on snacks, and I really don’t need to. So instead of buying snacks, I will be meal prepping instead and having that to eat in lectures and when I ‘can’t be bothered’. Sometimes I really can’t be bothered to cook, but if I cook myself a big meal on a Sunday night and know I won’t eat it all, it’s a lot easier to package up and not have to worry about lunch the next day, and just keep on going. I don’t chuck my food out anyway, I usually put it in lunch boxes and in the fridge and forget about it until I next open the fridge and realise it needs binning by then. I want to stop this malicious cycle and start cooking for myself again, as I have no problems in doing it when I’m home from uni. This will also give me some ‘me time’ which is useful and also relaxing (until I burn something to the pan or something explodes in the oven.)

For me, snacks are my biggest weakness. Pack of own-brand biscuits for 30p? Why not? Chilli Sensations for £1 instead of £1.99? Incredible offer. But since I’ve started pretty much replacing normal meals for snacks during the day, that’s when I realised I need to stop. Since starting on Monday, I’ve only spent money on actual cooking food products, except a pack of Krispy Kreme donuts I bought for a friend and I. I didn’t even realise I had done it until I came home and started eating them rather than making myself dinner, which just goes to prove that I don’t give it a second thought anymore.

A reason for cutting unhealthy snacks out of my diet is also due to the amount of money I spend. I’m trying to save some money for ‘just in case’ situations (you never know when they come up), or simply to do a bit of travelling when I get bored of uni. I know myself, and I know I’d much rather a weekend in Prague than a bag of sweet and salty popcorn. Therefore, I have limited myself to a £50 budget a week, which I believe is doable. I spend around £25 a week on fresh food- so meat, fruit and veg. The other 25 goes on the occasional night out or clothes. The rest goes into my savings!

I hope that this small and (hopefully!) foolproof plan will get me to where I want to be, and I will travel at the start of 2019!

So, to finish things off, if you could give up something for the next month, what would it be?

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