Students swapping fast food for clean eating

Avocado on toast

Students have become more conscientious than their parents and grandparents when it comes to what they eat according to new research conducted by kitchen specialists, Magnet.

A whopping 69% of students said their food choices have been driven by the rise of food trends such as eating ‘clean’ and ‘raw’, with 33% of students now committed to make a ‘conscious effort to eat healthier food’ since the trends emerged. More than one in five (21%) have completely cut out foods that they deem are now ‘too unhealthy’.

Not only are students adapting their diets, many are making the decision to go vegetarian and vegan. In fact, students are six times more likely than parents to have made the meat-free switch. It highlights a student population adopting a more ethical and sustainable approach to food, despite the impact it might be having on those tight student budgets.

When asked how long students spend prepping and cooking their meals, the average was revealed as 30 minutes per day – a far cry from the pot-noodle-slurping stereotype of the average student. Students are actively spending more time in the kitchen, considering their intake of food and are prepared to spend more time and money on healthy, nutritious produce.

Specialist Dietitian Nichola Ludlam-Raine, said: ‘It’s great to hear that students are cooking from scratch rather than relying on takeaways. Eating a nutrient-rich diet consisting of regular meals and an adequate amount of fluid is a must for energy levels and optimal brain function, especially when studying.’

The increase in the time students spend in the kitchen could also be put down to the heavy influence of social media. The rise of food posts on Instagram has gained the photo-sharing app the title of the most influential platform when it comes to what goes students’ trolleys, banishing the ‘student cookbooks’ to the back of the cupboard.

Almost 30% of students cited Instagram as the main influencer, shopping to recreate the mouth-watering dishes posted daily on the social media platform. The popularity of meal flaunting on Instagram can be seen in the frequent use of hashtags such as #foodporn – with over 136 million posts – and #foodie, with 71 million.

When asked what specific ‘health foods’ students stock in their cupboards, the results revealed the following:

  • Turmeric (30%)
  • Chickpeas (36%)
  • Cacao (12%)
  • Dried Seaweed (8%)
  • Energy balls (7%)
  • Wheatgrass (6%)
  • Spirulina (6%)
  • Nutritional Yeast Flakes (6%)

For more information on the research and to see what foods are trending in the student world, visit the Magnet site.

Image: goodween123/

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