Meal Prep: Swotvac 2017 Edition

It can be hard to find time to eat well during swotvac, but it is so important.

Luckily, the Unimelb Adventures team is here to make sure that you get H1s in health and organisation this swotvac and exam period!

All our suggestions are student budget friendly and super simple.

Breakfast

Find something that works for you to kickstart your day!

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Source: Giphy
  • On-the-go: Two slices of bread with your two favourite spreads (e.g. PB + J), cup of milk, and a piece of fruit. At home, you can take two slices of multigrain bread with your two chosen spreads of the day, cut the sandwich in half, pack it in a sandwich bag, drink your cup of soy milk, quickly grab some fruit, and eat it on the way to uni.
  • When you’ll be studying for a long time: Muesli – there are many healthy options available in the supermarket. Just put some granola muesli on top of some greek yoghurt for a breakfast that will keep you full for hours while you study.
  • Winter warmer: Porridge. Microwaves are a lifesaver, aren’t they? So grab yourself instant porridge that you can heat up in the microwave for about 2 minutes, and get yourself some fruit! If you are in a hurry, put your cooked porridge in a disposable cup. Don’t forget to bring a spoon!

Lunch

Options to get you through that deadly 3:30-itis…

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Source: Giphy
  • When you only want to cook once: Falafel burgers with half a bag of pre-packaged lettuce and tzatziki dip. The recipe says it makes 6, but it makes more like 10. You can freeze them and they last forever. Make a batch every two weeks and legit eat them every day during exams – tried and tested. If you’re not vegan you can replace the flax eggs with real eggs. Add some chilli too. If you can’t find dried chickpeas, just drain some canned ones really well. You can also swap the zaatar with any kind of dried herb mix, but if you can find zaatar it is very good!
  • Your new go-to lunch: Rice, veggies and can of tuna/selected protein! Make the rice on the weekend, or the night before a big study day. Scoop 1 cup of rice into a tupperware container, fill it up with frozen veggies (carrots, cauliflower, broccoli), and bring a can of tuna or add your desired protein. If you are feeling extra fancy, you can cook yourself scrambled eggs or a hard boiled egg with this quick meal.
  • To eat at home: If you’re at home, eggs on toast is always good. You can add avocado, spinach, mushrooms or tomato for some vegetables, and some feta for extra flavour.
  • Eat anywhere: Wraps! You can make a big salad at the start of the week and fill your wrap with it every day. You can also buy some cans of tuna/salmon, chicken or whatever you fancy to put in with the salad as well.
  • A classic: Potato salad. Boil some potatoes until they are soft, cut into blocks, add some butter, and mix with cheese, store-bought leafy salad mix, bacon and anything else you like.
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Source: Giphy

Snacks

To keep your energy levels up while you’re working hard!

  • Fruit salads are great healthy snacks to fuel your brain. You can prepare your own at home or if you’re really strapped for time, purchase one from uni, the station, or the supermarket (there’s usually a section near the front with small fruit salads!).
  • Sliced apples with peanut/almond butter – very nutritious, and yummy too!
  • Cut up carrot and celery with hummus, or just bring carrot/celery.
  • Crackers with peanut butter/vegemite, kinda making yourself a cracker sandwich. There are plenty of things you can make with just a piece of cracker as your base. For instance, salad leaves with smoked salmon. Be creative!
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Source: Giphy

Dinner

Suggestions that will keep you studying however deep into the night you need to go…

  • Comfort food: Soup is great to have when it’s cold – cook a big pot and then have it a few nights of the week. Dahl is also a one pot meal and something you can store easily, but it is way more filling!
  • Prep like a pro: Make up a big batch of pasta sauce that you can eat all week. Start off with an onion and garlic and you can’t go wrong. You can use a can of tomatoes, whatever other veggies you have in the fridge (carrot and zucchini are good), some bacon or feta cheese for protein, and throw some spinach in at the end. You can use wholemeal pasta if you want to feel extra healthy.
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Source: Giphy
  • Feeling fancy: If you’re in the market for a huge restaurant-style dinner and can afford the luxury of a slow cooker (20 bucks from K-Mart), grab yourself some meat (off-cuts usually work the best, and are super cheap) and veggies, put it in with a can of diced tomatoes and complete! Restaurant-worthy meals for the whole week. Enjoy them on their own or with the rice/pasta of your choosing.
  • An old favourite: Pasta bake! Boil some macaroni until soft, place in a large baking tray, add milk and cheese, bake in the oven.

Beverages

And lastly, the drinks…

  • You can add some cut-up fruit to your water bottle to give it some pizzazz.
  • If you’re at home, endless cups of tea are a proven way (in our experience, anyway!) of getting those essays written and those notes memorised. Alternatively, bring your tea with you to uni in a thermos.
  • A hot chocolate or chai latte can be a relaxing way to take a quick break from studying. Remember to bring your keep cup with you!
  • But we all know coffee might become the beverage of choice for a lot of you… Luckily, we’ve got a guide for that too.
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Source: Giphy

10 Superfoods to Boost Your Brain

Disclaimer: Even though Ruby is wonderful and smart she is not a qualified nutritionist or a medical professional. The information in this piece is meant as a guide only, and you should consult a doctor or nutritionist if you are looking to alter your diet in any way!

 

If you’re anything like me, your brain is in need of a serious boost. This post is the first of a ‘Boost Your Brain series’ – stay tuned for more posts sharing tips so you can perform at your best!

 

At this point in the semester, you’re probably behind on lectures, and swamped with assignments and MSTs. Because of this, as well as time constraints and various stresses, you’re also probably hungry and/or broke. Am I right?

Unfortunately I cannot fix your financial situation, or grant you those H1s. But semester isn’t over yet! It’s not too late to give your brain the boost it needs to help you get through the next marathon.

Need help with memory, mood, or energy (or all three)? Today is your lucky day!

1. Seaweed

Definitely your first stop for a memory boost.
It’s a common misconception that fish produce omega 3 fatty acids. Do you know where the fish get it from? Algae, seaweed and phytoplankton. So, the most efficient way of packing those good fats into your diet is to go straight to the source!

How to eat?

• Straight from the packet (dried, crunchy seaweed)
• Seaweed sushi
• Seaweed salad (wakame)
• Spirulina powder (put in your smoothies)
• Sprinkle it on ramen/noodles, salads, or soups (dried)
2. Chia and flax seeds

Amongst the healthiest seeds on the planet.
They’re high in memory boosting omega 3s, and are tasty and easy to use. They can help slow the absorption of sugars and cholesterols, while giving your brain those good fats needed for efficient functioning.

How to eat?

• Chia pudding (so easy and so good!)
• Blend them into smoothies
• Sprinkle on museli or cereal
• Use flaxseeds as an egg replacement in recipes
• Bake them into bread, muffins, or muesli bars
3. Walnuts

These bad boys are packed full of healthy fats.
They contain omega 6 fatty acids which are not only said to improve your working memory, but also improve your cardiovascular health, which is crucial for getting that blood flow to the brain. It’s recommended that you have about a handful per day.

How to eat it?

• Straight from the jar
• Blended into a smoothie
• On your muesli or cereal
• On top of salads
• Bake into bread, muffins, or muesli bars
4. Blueberries

Berry good for you.
Berries, especially blueberries, contain antioxidants (flavonoids). These compounds help protect your brains from damage, and improve communication between neurons, therefore boosting memory and cognitive function. As well as this, they also contain omega 3 fatty acids.

How to eat them?

• Straight from the packet
• Berry smoothies
• Blend up frozen to make sorbet (don’t even need to add sugar!)
• On your muesli or cereal
• Bake into muffins or muesli bars
5. Dark leafy greens

Popeye had the right idea.
My favourites of these are baby spinach and kale. They are packed full of vitamins, such as C, E, and K, which help improve your brain and cognitive functioning, as well as your overall health.

How to eat them?

• Salads or salad sandwiches/bagels
• Cooked into lasagnes, pasta sauces, or soups
• Throw them into stir fries
• Blended into smoothies
• Bake them into chips (eg. kale chips)
• On top of pizzas (cooked or fresh)
6. Avocado
Probably the best food of all time.
High in vitamins and healthy monounsaturated fats, this fruit is fantastic for your circulation; which means it also helps promote good blood flow to the brain.

How to eat?

• Smashed onto toast or in sandwiches/bagels
• Make guacamole to dip in corn chips or veggies
• On top of baked potatoes with sea salt
• Blend with garlic and lemon for a pasta sauce
• Avocado chocolate mousse
• Avocado fries
• Replace for butter in cakes

7. Broccoli

Both nutritious, and delicious!
High in choline, and vitamin K, this vegetable helps promote the growth of new brain cells and neural connections as well as boost memory and overall cognitive functioning.

How to eat?
• In stir fries and soups
• On top of pizza
• Bake them into broccoli chips
• Raw, dipped in guacamole
• As the base of a pasta sauce, with oil (or avocado!) and garlic

8. Dark chocolate (70% and above)

Because everyone needed an excuse to eat more chocolate…
As in blueberries, the compounds in dark chocolate, flavonoids, have the ability to boost memory and problem solving skills by improving neural connections and protecting the brain against damage.

How to eat?

• Ummm… more like how not to eat?

9. Turmeric

Peppery, warm and comforting.
This potent little spice is said to have effects on the growth of neural stem cells. This means that it can help promote the growth and protection of neural pathways, and help keep your brain active and sharp!

How to use?

• Toss it into roast vegetables
• Add it to rice to give it flavour
• Add to soups and stir fries
• Blend it into smoothies
• Combine with almond, soy, or coconut milk for a Golden Latte

10. Rosemary

For remembrance, of course.
This one isn’t just an old wives tale. Scientists have found that smelling rosemary during study time can help increase your memory by up to 75%.

How to use?

• Smell fresh sprigs of it
• Use on top of baked potatoes or other vegetables
• On top of poached fruits
• Rosemary, olive oil and sea salt popcorn

Happy snacking!

– Ruby

3 Foolproof Student Recipes

Turlough is currently undertaking her second year of the Bachelor of Science and plans to major in Bioengineering Systems.

With exams fast approaching, the uni student is more in need of proper sustenance than ever before. Eating a wholesome diet is crucial to keeping your brain functioning at its best. Often, however, the last thing you want to do after a long day of class is tackle the arduous task of preparing a meal. The following three recipes are simple and healthy, letting you avoid scurvy without burning down your house or breaking the bank! All of these dishes can be refrigerated and stored to be eaten throughout the week. They all contain fewer than 10 ingredients and are so simple that even a culinary novice will be able to enjoy a delicious and cost-effective meal!

 

Bruschetta

A nutritious and tantalising dish, this bruschetta can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It requires only a toaster and is easy to take to uni on the days when you don’t want to buy lunch.

Ingredients:

  • Bread (try and opt for wholegrain for added health benefit)
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • Basil
  • 1 avocado (optional)
  • 1 chili (optional)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  1. Remove seeds from the chili and chop into small pieces.
  2. Dice the tomatoes, onion, avocado and basil and put in a bowl with the chili.
  3. Add olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Toast bread.
  5. Put tomato mixture on toast and voila! Just like that you have a meal simply brimming with vitamin C, antioxidants and other goodies to keep you nourished.

 

Source: Turlough Crowe

Baby cos and haloumi salad

Makes 4 servings

This salad is an easy way to get your fill of leafy greens. Containing broccolini, which is a great source of vitamins A, C and K, it is fantastic brain food! Feeling in need of some more protein? Add some oily fish or an egg to keep you going during those long hours preparing for end of semester assessment.

Ingredients:

  • 2 baby cos lettuce heads
  • 300 grams haloumi, sliced in 5mm thick pieces
  • 6-8 small onions with skin on, cut in half
  • 1/2 large purple garlic husk
  • 2-3 broccolini bunches, with stems sliced and heads broken into small pieces
  • 4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Olive oil for oiling the pan
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. Toss the onions and garlic in olive oil, then place them in an oven proof dish. Place the dish in a moderate oven, and roast the onions and garlic for 25 minutes or until just caramelising. Set aside.
  2. Wash and separate the lettuce and spread onto four plates.
  3. Using a non-stick pan coated in olive oil, fry the haloumi until just golden on both sides. Set aside.
  4. Keep the pan drippings and throw in the broccolini. Cook the broccolini stems until bright green and still crunchy.When nearly cooked, add the broccolini heads and toss for one minute to brighten the colour. Remove broccolini from pan and set aside.
  5. Re-coat the pan with oil. Add apple cider vinegar, the peeled garlic and all drippings, gently warm.
  6. Arrange the ingredients for the salad on plates, placing  the peeled roasted onions around the lettuce, then the haloumi, broccolini and, finally, pour the warm garlic dressing over the top. Add pepper and serve.

 

Source: Turlough Crowe

Vegan chocolate quinoa fudge

Don’t let the words ‘vegan’ and ‘quinoa’ scare you away! This fudge can be enjoyed by even the most carnivorous of eaters. It’s a great way to satisfy those sweet cravings while still providing fibre for a healthy digestive system, and also some essential vitamins and minerals, including iron.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup toasted quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon ice-cold water
  1. In a food processor, blend all ingredients except the water.
  2. As the ingredients start coming together, slowly, very slowly add the ice water until the dough just comes together. Do not add more water.
  3. Take the dough out of the processor and knead until all crumbs join the ball, then place into a baking paper-lined square pan.
  4. Put the fudge in the freezer for two hours or overnight. Take out of the freezer, cut into small pieces and enjoy!

– Turlough

Melbourne University Food Co-op

Sonia is currently a second year Arts student with a double major of Media and Communications and Psychology. In her spare time, she loves watching Friends and Parks and Recreation.

 

Source: personal
Source: author’s own

Hungry for lunch, but have no more than $8 in your pocket? We’ve found the place for you! The Melbourne Uni Food Co-op will have you covered. Looking for in-between class snacks? Three almond slices will only set you back $2.20!

They tick all the boxes for dietary requirements, as all menu options are vegan, with gluten free options available.

Whats for lunch?

The Co-op offers both hot and cold options as well as savoury and sweet. Examples include: Rice Burger Rolls, Tofu and Pumpkin Pie and Salad plates. Baked goods on offer include Chocolate Brownie and Muesli Slice. The Co-op won’t leave you going thirsty either. They have a range of different house brewed chai’s available, as well as organic juice.

Source: personal
Source: author’s own

My own dining experience

 

Source: personal
Source: author’s own

I went later in the afternoon, hoping to try a hot or cold plate but they had run out, which means the Co-op must be quite popular. Instead I tried the Vegan Pizza. All the meat eaters out there may automatically be skeptical of this. I have to admit, as a big fan of pizza, I was a little too. But wow, was I wrong! The pizza was up there with some of the best I’ve had. Even the base itself was that good, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Topped with vegetables and a range of herbs, these flavours worked well together to compensate for what non- vegan pizza usually has. The best thing about it was didn’t leave me as thirsty as normal pizza would, and it’s probably a heck of a lot healthier too. Well done Co-op!!

If you wish to also cook with organic goodies at home, the Co-op offers Veggie Boxes which can be ordered and picked up directly from the store. Other goods on sale include chocolate, nuts, spices and dried fruits. If you would like to learn about vegan cooking techniques or dumpster diving, workshops are available in exchange for a gold coin donation.

Source: personal
Source: author’s own

At this point, you’re probably thinking, this sounds great! So, where are they and when are they open? The Co-op is located on the first floor of Union House; open Monday to Friday throughout semester. If you’re interested you can also volunteer as well. Volunteering allows you to work towards providing environmentally ethical options which are also incredibly cheap too. You’ve really got nothing to lose checking out the Co-op. If you would like to find out more, head to their Facebook page here and give them a like while you’re at it.

(link: www.facebook.com/yourfoodcoop).

– Sonia.


 

Setting up a student kitchen

Moving out involves a heap of expenses, and setting up a kitchen is one of them. The following is what you really should buy to avoid making yourself ill. This isn’t Julia Child’s kitchen, but rather what you need to make some standard student meals; pasta, toast, sandwiches – that kind of thing.

  1. Saucepans

This kind of goes without saying, but you will need saucepans. Avoid saucepans that are light and thin – these won’t last and will burn your food. I cannot stress enough how much you don’t want bad saucepans. Do you like the taste of disappointment? No? Then look for a heavy base and a secure handle. Get a few sizes (3 is a good start), including one big enough for soup. Saucepans can get very expensive, so set aside a price you’re comfortable with, and find the best quality in that range.

  1. Chopping Boards

You’ll need a minimum of two, preferably in different colours. Use one for meat and another for vegetables to avoid giving yourself food poisoning, and make sure you wash them thoroughly. You don’t need anything really fancy, but flimsy boards won’t last, especially if you have a dishwasher (looking at you, IKEA chopping boards). A thick plastic board is a good compromise. $10-25.

  1. Knives

Good knives get really pricey, but last a long time if cared for properly. You can really spend as much as you want to, but bad knives are pointless (see what I did there?) and dangerous. Don’t waste your money. It’s worth spending a bit more and getting a mid-range knife block with a sharpener. Alternatively, you could consider buying a small number of higher quality knives that can cope with meat and vegetables for now.

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Image: giphy.com
  1. One decent fry pan

Like saucepans, you’re looking for a heavy base so that your food won’t stick. Fry pans are great for student staples; pasta sauces, omelettes, pancakes, stir fry (which is better in a wok, but a good pan is fine). Up to $30 is fine.

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Image: mycitygossip.com
  1. Utensils

Your everyday utensils (knives and forks) can come from an op-shop or that set your mum doesn’t really like anymore. You can get a set of cooking utensils for $2 at a few places (supermarkets, IKEA etc) but be wary as cheap plastic often starts to melt and wear as you’re cooking. It’s worth spending just a little bit more and getting something better. At a minimum, want a good stirring implement (like a wooden spoon), a ladle, tongs, and a spatula if you like to bake. $10-$15.

  1. At least one oven tray

Oven trays are magic. Roast veggies, chicken, pizza, scones, biscuits, – whatever. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – let’s face it, it’ll probably have baking paper on it anyway. $10-$20

  1. Colander

Our colander is called Colin. I am not joking. $5-$15

  1. Measuring cups

$2 is fine, but if you want to spend $20, there are many novelty varieties available.

  1. Mixing bowl

If you can afford a nice one, go for it. A thick mixing bowl will last ages, but there’s also this set of two from IKEA for $7 and they’re fine.

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Image: gifstumblr.com
  1. Kettle, Microwave, Toaster

Sure, you could buy the fancy kettle with different heat settings, but the $10 kettle will still make a cup of tea.

Kitchen funds leftover? Consider buying some of these.

The following aren’t strictly essential, but will be useful.

  1. Rice cooker

The benefit of a rice cooker is really about convenience. Rice isn’t hard to cook but it is easier to let a machine cook it for you. $20-$50

  1. Slow cooker

I love my slow cooker. You literally just put all the ingredients in, and 6 hours later it’s food. You can use cheaper cuts of meat, your food tastes better and it’s ridiculously easy. Just stir it every couple of hours and let the machine do all the work. Magic. $30-$80.

  1. Stick mix/blender

A cheap stick mixer won’t set you back much and can be used for a bunch of different things – smoothies, dip, blending soup etc. You don’t really need one, but you will use one if you have it. $40-$100, depending on attachments and quality.

  1. Roasting tray

A roasting tray allows you to plan ahead by making a whole roast chicken, for example, and using the leftovers throughout the week. $30ish

  1. Muffin tray

For muffins, or cupcakes, or mini quiches. A cheap one won’t cost much at all, but it’s not really an essential item. Unless you really like muffins. $10

  1. Cake tin

Supermarket cake is sad. Make your own. Add sprinkles. $20.

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Image: anigif.com
  1. Beaters

If you like to bake, I recommend a knock-off kitchenaid, but you can pick up a set of simple beaters very cheaply. Just take note of the size of the beaters – anything too small won’t be terribly effective. Cake for everyone! $15-$40 for handheld beaters, $80-$150 for a stand.

  1. Oven dish

Lasagne. Pie. Pasta bake. Pudding. You won’t starve without one of these, but they are pretty handy. A good pyrex dish will last years and you really only need one.

And there you go! The most versatile kitchen basics to get you started. Have a look at this piece from Joey about what to actually do with all your new equipment.

– Jacky

Six Tips for Eating Well on a Student Budget

Joey finished her Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and History in 2013, and is currently in her final year of her Masters in Creative Writing, Publishing and Editing. 

It doesn’t take long for the thrill of living out of home to wear off—eating nothing but pan-fried haloumi and condensed milk eventually takes its toll on your health and your bank account. I’m no Michelle Bridges, but I’ve learnt a few fresh-as skillz for eating healthier after many failed dinners and budget nightmares:

  1. Plan your meals ahead

I usually go shopping on a Sunday night and try to buy all my meals through to Wednesday lunch, but you can choose a grocery night that works for you. I will say, however, that Coles Radio do a fantastic Sunday sesh that does wonders for a well-structured shop.

If you’re not used to budgeting and buying ahead, I’ve found $5 a serving is a reasonable price—so if you spend $15 on a meal, ideally it should stretch across two dinners and a lunch, or serve you and two housemates. The key to this is making a meal that keeps and can be made in bulk—stay away from foie gras and crème brulee and instead embrace pasta, soup and other things that can be kept in containers. If you can eat it while doing the Nutbush, it’s probably a dish that keeps well.

Life doesn’t always work out that easily —sometimes you’ve got to seize the day and splurge on Mersey Valley Original Vintage Crumbly Cheddar—but if you at least try to stick to $5 a serve you’ll end up saving money somewhere along the line.

Buying your groceries ahead of time also means you won’t drag yourself home on a Thursday, see your empty fridge and then order a 3 Large Traditional Pizza with 2 Garlic Breads and a 1.5 Litre Coke for $33.95 from Dominoes. I mean, that could be something they offer, I wouldn’t know.

  1. Google stuff

 Get yourself excited about your meals by cooking whatever the hell you want to cook. Ya like chickpeas? Google ‘healthy chickpea recipe’ and see if there’s anything that tickles your fancy. Are noodles your bag, baby? I’m not even kidding: google ‘healthy noodle recipe’ and pick one that sounds good.

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Image: http://i.imgur.com/TmYTu.gif

Here are some websites with easy, relatively healthy recipes I found in a five minute Google sesh:

www.damndelicious.net

http://greatist.com/health/cheap-healthy-lunch-dinner-entree-recipes

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/recipes

http://www.cookinglight.com/food/quick-healthy-recipes

http://www.eatingwell.com/

And yes, most of these have a shitty clickbait element but there are also some good recipes in there you can use as a base and adapt at will.

  1. Stock up on your basics

 Here are some items I’ve never once regretted having in my cupboard:

  • Chicken stock
  • Garlic
  • Lemons/limes
  • Fish sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Flour
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar/rice wine vinegar/red wine vinegar
  • Pasta/noodles
  • Parmesan
  • Yoghurt

Here are some items I have regretted having in my cupboard:

  • Nut butter

If you have these guys in your cupboard at all times, you can just grab some greens and a chicken breast from Safeway and damn, you got yourself a stir-fry!

  1. Know your prices

 I’m not an economist. I don’t know much about market prices or… vegetable econometrics, but I have a simple yet effective method of calculating value for money: I look at the price of a product and ask myself, ‘How many carrots could I buy for that?’

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Image: http://www.pleated-jeans.com/

I mean, I don’t even like carrots that much, but they’re cheap. You can buy a bag of ten for, like, a dollar. So if I pick up a head of broccoli and it’s like $3, that’s like…. Thirty carrots. Like I said, I’m not an economist… but this method does help to give a reference point.

For example, CHEESE IS SO FREAKIN’ EXPENSIVE. OH MY GOD. I WASN’T TOLD. HOW DID I NOT KNOW? And I cannot morally buy an avocado if it’s over three dollars, because honestly, that is some Grade A Level bullshit. Use a reference point for good value, adjust your shopping accordingly and buy up big when something is on special. And yes, I sound like a middle-aged housewife who just bought a Thermomix but I’m doing it for the good of your bank account and vitamin levels.

  1. Stick to the fresh food section

It sounds simple, but walk into your local supermarket and go straight for the fresh food and deli sections—if you’re buying the majority of your food there, you’re doing well. Ideally, you want to only be venturing out for essential basics like flour, shampoo, and Old El Paso Crispy Chicken Spice Coating.

If you find the majority of your trolley is from the freezer section, you could branch out, as freezer meals/pre-packaged stuff is more expensive (see Nobel-Prize winning Carrot Rule above). And while frozen garlic chicken balls feel good when you’re eating them, the less pre-packaged meals you eat, the more your skin will glow like Ceres, goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility, and motherly relationships.

  1. Learn substitutions/additions/subtractions

If you find a recipe that lists the final ingredient as ‘Sriracha (optional)’ then for the love of God don’t waste your money buying sriracha. Can’t afford that extra chicken breast for your pasta? Just double the vegies and forgo the chicken. Quinoa hardcore tastes like nothing, but it’ll sit in your cupboard through an atomic bomb blast and is a great, healthy filler in a whole heap of dishes. Basically, for each ingredient of a recipe ask yourself:

  1. Will the dish taste like feet without this?
  2. Is there something cheaper I can use that will also allow the dish to not taste of feet?

If you answer ‘no’ then ‘yes’ to the questions above, go bananas and unleash your inner improve Masterchef.

Image: http://static2.businessinsider.com

So go forth, my friends—gorge yourself on carrots and try not to die of scurvy.

– Joey

Top 7 Asian eateries around campus for under $10

John X. is currently a third-year biomedicine student at the University of Melbourne. John graduates this year and aspires to study post-graduate medicine (Doctor of Medicine, MD) there.

Asian food. Some say it’s cheap, some say it’s yummy, and some say it gives them a taste of home. Regardless, most of us are poor university students looking for some cheap feeds around campus. Here I’ll take you through my top 7 asian eateries around/near campus for under $10 and tell you why.

7. Uni square cafe

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If you’re hauling long study hours at the Law Library, Giblin Eunson or The Spot student lounges, this cafe is convenient for a quick bite to fuel your hungry brains before burying your head in the textbooks again. They offer the standard asian dishes, most being under $10, with a small handful being an extra $1 dearer. You can find this cafe a short way up Pelham st, in the direction of Swanston st.

6. Saigon noodle bar

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If you feel like noodle box fresh from the wok, then this is the place. You can choose from a pre-selected range of dishes, or you can mix and match to your own liking. They also serve broth-based dishes too. Be mindful that there’s no eating in so you’ll have to take your meal elsewhere. You can find this bar outside Union House, between the Commonwealth ATMs and The Tree.

5. Norsiah’s kitchen

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A cafeteria style restaurant for Singaporean, Malaysian and Indonesian cuisines during lunch times, you pay for a bowl of rice, with your choice of side dishes. You can get 2 servings of meat and 1 serving of vegetables for $7; 1 serving of meat and 1 serving of vegetables for $6.50; extra bowl of rice for $1, half a bowl for $0.50; extra meat for $2, extra vegetables for $1. You can also order straight from the menu. You can find this place on Swanston Street, opposite Lincoln Square and its tram stop.

4. NL house

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Craving mi goreng or nasi goreng? Char kuay teow or curry laksa? If you have a thirst for spices, then NL house really knows how to hit the spot. I’ll be honest, I lied in that this place isn’t under $10 – dishes range from $11-$13, unless you want the mini snack boxes ranging from $6-$8. But apart from the premium price, I just had to mention this place for the quality of food and service. You can find this house on the corner of Grattan Street and Cardigan Street, towards Lygon Street.

3. Egg sake bistro

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If you haven’t heard of Egg, then you’ve been living under a rock. This underground place is swarming with hungry students every lunch time. It has a cafeteria section in the centre where you can get a standard don buri (bowl of rice with a side dish of your choice) for $7, or a bento box (bowl of rice with 2 side dishes of your choice) for $8. Alternatively, if you want to beat the queue you can order from a different range of dishes (including udon noodles) at the left entrance, or grab some reasonably priced sushi towards the right entrance. They also have a Choya bar in front of the sushi store for coffee or alcoholic drinks. You can find this place underground at Union House.

2. Oriental house

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Similar to Norsiah’s kitchen, but for the Chinese cuisine. You can get a large bowl (about 1000cc)  for $7.5, or a smaller box (about 500cc) for $6.5. The portions for the large bowl is huge, and you get even larger portions if you tell the staff that you’re eating in. You get a choice of 2 side dishes with the large, and a choice of 1 side dish with the small. They also have 3 dim sims for about $2.50. It gets busy during lunch time, but you can get through the line quite quickly and may be lucky enough to find a seat if you’re eating in. You can find this place at Union House, between Pronto’s Pizza and the East entrance.

1. Don Tojo

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Although it may not look like much from the outside, this Japanese restaurant wins my heart for value. Dishes range from as cheap as $6.3 to $9.0, portions are good and dishes are made fresh. Need I say more? It’s a little walk from campus, but you can find this hidden gem on Cardigan Street between NL house and the university’s own Health Service clinic.

– John

EDITOR’S NOTE: if prices quoted in this article have changed, please let us know via our Facebook page. All the images in this article are the author’s own.

Wednesday Farmer’s Market

Attention food lovers of Melbourne University, we now have a weekly Farmer’s market filled with delicious food, cute packaging and FREE SAMPLES!

To save you the hassle of navigating your way through the crowds, Sonia and I have chosen our top 4 favourite stalls at the Market (if we’ve missed your favourite, tell us below!).

Continue reading Wednesday Farmer’s Market

The Ultimate Vegan’s Guide to Melbourne Uni

Are you a new vegan student on campus? Worried about living off salads and having to do animal dissections in your biology classes?

Worry not! As a Masters student who has completed her undergrad and worked here at Unimelb, I can say with years of experience that Melbourne is one of the most vegan-friendly universities in Victoria, if not the whole of Australia!

I’ve been vegan all throughout my studies at the University and am very acquainted with all Unimelb has to offer for us vegans so I thought I’d compile this handy guide to help the rest of you along the way!

Continue reading The Ultimate Vegan’s Guide to Melbourne Uni