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Top Takeaway Alternatives for Students

15 Jun 2018
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Without wanting to sound like your parents, we’re big believers in a good home-cooked meal, and there’s no better time to hone your culinary skills than when you’re at uni. Your brain’s already switched on from all that learning, right?

Cooking for yourself – and for others – has a whole load of benefits, which we won’t go on about now (if you’re interested, here they are in a nutshell: cooking is proven to reduce stress, is loads cheaper and healthier than processed or takeaway food, and is the perfect social activity to bond with your flatmates over). So, next time you’re in the mood for something indulgent, put down the kebab-shop menu, wash your hands, and get into the kitchen.

Here are four healthier, cheaper, and more exciting alternatives to a chicken tikka masala:

1. Come Dine with Me

Nothing brings an apartment full of students together like a bit of healthy competition. Regardless of your skill level, a DIY come-dine-with-me party is great fun. Invite a few friends round and make them your favourite dish. If you’re feeling brave, get them to anonymously rate the evening. Have fun with scoring categories – food and atmosphere are the usual point-scorers, but the quality of the chat, the cheesiness of the playlist, and not burning the pudding are all skills worth grading too.

Next time, get one of your guests to host, until you’ve all had a go and been judged. To heat up the contest, agree in advance what the winner gets or what the loser forfeits. Hosting a dinner party sounds daunting, but it’s ten times more fun than tapping “order” on your takeaway app, and you might discover an undercover chef in the room next door.

2. Recipe Box Subscription

You already subscribe to Netflix and Spotify to get all your favourite films and music on demand, so why not get a regular delivery of ingredients to (literally) spice up your recipe repertoire? There’s plenty of choice depending on whether you’re on a budget, looking for convenience, or just want to try something new.

Boxes like Gousto and Hello Fresh are pricey – working out at around £10 per meal for two – but they include everything you’ll need for multiple meals, including easy-to-follow recipes and fresh ingredients. With these, you’ll learn to cook something new, and there’s no weighing, measuring, or even walking to the shops.

If you like the sound of that but are on a tighter budget, how about a spices subscription? The Spicery is our favourite, starting from £2.95 for a monthly box packed full of exotic flavours. You’ll need to buy the fresh ingredients yourself, but the step-by-step recipe cards will help you cook up a feast. Most boxes contain aromatic spice-blends for a spread of mains and sides that are sure to impress your friends. Inspiration for the recipes comes from around the world, and the dishes aren’t ones you’d find on your average menu.

3. #MealPrep

Become a Pinterest dream with weekly meal prep. Sound like more hassle than it’s worth? Trust us, it’s not. Pick a quiet night of the week, cook big pots of your favourite staple meals, and split them into tupperware containers – chilli, curry, pasta sauce, and soup all work well. Once they’ve cooled, you can store them in the fridge for a few days and have your meals for the week sorted, or freeze them for up to three months. Soup has the shortest shelf-life of the above, so plan to eat that first.

You’ll be able to easily reheat them in a pan or in the microwave next time you don’t have time to cook, so it’ll be even easier than choosing, ordering, and waiting for a takeaway.

Top tip: Make sure to label your containers before freezing them – unless you enjoy the luck of the draw, that is.

4. Host a BBQ

The UK’s unpredictable – and usually wet – weather means that when the sun pokes through, everyone gets outside. And what better way to enjoy the sunshine than by hosting a barbecue? Take a group shopping trip and stock up on meat, fish, and veggie options. And don’t forget potatoes, salads, and sauces, because no good barbecue is complete without a range of tasty sides! Try to plan ahead and shop for your party the day before the sun comes out – instant barbecues, chicken wings, and skewers will fly off the shelves once the smell of summer starts drifting from garden to garden.

With a barbecue, you can bring the whole group together, have everyone choose their own food, and even get them to cook it themselves. Remember that although barbecues get really hot, things might not cook as evenly as in the oven. Make sure you check that the food is cooked through before serving, or you’ll quickly lose any brownie points you scored by organising the party in the first place.

Have we convinced to you save pennies and give up on takeaways every once in a while? Fusion kitchens and dining spaces love nothing more than a good cook-off. Take a look at our locations to see what facilities are available with our different room-types. For city guides, advice, and tips on living your best student life, visit our blog or follow us on Facebook.