A fresher’s guide to every single thing you’ll make in your gyp this year

Everything you will *actually* make this term

food Freshers lifestyle

When you think of student life, I’m sure meal-planning is the last thing that comes to mind. How are you supposed to balance work, a social life (ha!) and a healthy lifestyle all at the same time? Sleeping may be something I’m an expert at (I can sleep anywhere, anytime) but cooking? That requires culinary skill AND time (both of which most students lack). So, if you’re a fresher and you’re wondering about what your essay brain food is going to look like, keep on reading. Just keep your expectations a bit low.

A toastie

The salad on the side makes it healthy right?

An absolute classic. Somebody on your floor (who you will remain forever indebted to) will have been kind enough to share the toastie machine that their parents gave them in a futile attempt to make sure they don’t suffer from malnutrition during term.

You will probably eat toasties for lunch every single day, never straying from the classic cheese/ham, cheese/tomato, and ham/cheese combo (let’s face it, what is a toastie without cheese?) until by about Week Five, by which time you won’t even be able to look at a toastie again. You’ll forget about the hallowed toastie maker over the holidays, until term starts again and the vicious toastie cycle continues.

Plain pasta with 20p sauce

Your cupboard may end up looking a little like this.

If you’re one of the lucky ones with a hob in your accommodation in first year (I was not, thanks Tit Hall!), you and your friends will get together at some point and decide that it would be lovely to try and cook something together! Filled with optimism, you imagine the delicious healthy meal you’ll all effortlessly put together.

Turns out, though, none of you really know how to cook anything expect for pasta! One bowl of watery and slightly overcooked pasta with cheap store-bought sauce later, you realise it definitely wasn’t worth the extra £2 you saved from not going to hall – at least they do a good lasagne. A feat you will never quite manage to achieve, mostly due to the fact you’ll never have an oven…

A salad

All the ingredients of a delicious meal…

In an effort to get your life together and become the insta-worthy health queen you know you really are (underneath all the Sainsbury’s value vodka anyway), you decide to make a salad for dinner. Armed with Sainsbury’s best basics produce you make a plain, undressed salad because, let’s be honest, who can be bothered to make a fancy dressing for it? About halfway through your salad, you realise eating purely lettuce, tomato and cucumber for dinner isn’t exactly very filling and really start to wish you’d gone to hall instead. Unsurprisingly, an hour or so later you’re hungry and you end up at Gardies. It happens to the best of us.

Instant noodles

I’ve been informed these are the good flavour.

It’s 9pm and you’ve somehow managed to sleep through dinner (again?!). Hall has stopped serving food, Mainsbury’s is closed and there’s nothing in the fridge – surely there must be something in the back of the cupboard? You return with a solitary packet of instant noodles, and not one of the good flavours either. You eat it sitting on your bedroom floor, wondering whether this is the ‘’real student experience’’ everyone talks about. Spoiler alert: it is.


We may have a bit of a biscuit addiction over here.

Oh dear. It’s really gotten to this point of term hasn’t it? You’re on the verge of an all-nighter. There’s no time to go to hall and you’re all alone in the library basement – except for the emergency pack of biscuits you’ve kept for situations just like this one. Whether it’s a Party Ring, a Jaffa Cake, or even the humble Digestive, these biscuits will keep you company and stave off those hunger pangs until that pesky essay is finally finished (usually around 3am).

All in all, it’s really not the worst dinner you’ll ever have – just don’t tell your Mum about this one. She’ll probably insist you come home and eat a real meal (not that I’m speaking from personal experience).

Unless you’re the Gordon Ramsey of microwave meals (let’s be honest, has anyone made a good looking mug cake?) – just go to hall. At least you won’t have to go to Gardies afterwards…

All images the author’s own