At this time of the year many parents will be helping their youngsters to pack up ready for that first week at University. They will have to learn to cook, plan regular meals and of course do that initial shopping on a budget!

I am sure your teenager will not go hungry but print off this list of useful hints and suggestions ~ you never know this could be the best advice you could give them!

So here are some useful guidelines for eating well and shopping Eating Well : • Feast on 5 a day – fresh or frozen fruit or vegetables are packed with antioxidants including vitamin C ~ great for fighting bugs and helpful when handling those stressful deadlines • Boost brain Power ~ enjoy nuts, seeds, oily fish or an omega 3 rich egg each day to maximise brain power and nerve function • Fill up on Fibre – Wholegrain pasta, rice and bread supply essential nutrients, including B vitamins which are energising and help supply the ‘feelgood’ factor.

• Eat breakfast – the best meal of the day. Don’t eat quick –fix sugary snacks which can leave you irritable and anxious.

• Stay Hydrated – keep alert by sipping plain water, juice or herbal teas regularly. Minimise your intake of caffeine!

Student Shopping • Make a plan ~ have an idea before you do out what you want to cook. This saves you buying things you wont eat.

• Shop Twice a week If you buy for too many days ahead you’re bound to skip some of the meals you have planned and then have food left over. Plan 3 –4 day blocks rather than a whole week.

• Scrimp at the start of the week If you eat frugally at the beginning of the week, it’s more likely you can splash out at the end.

• Learn what Things Cost You should learn the prices of things you buy regularly, like pasta, milk, tinned tomatoes or cheese so that alarms bells ring if you find them at a higher price than normal or at a knockdown price.

• Avoid Convenience Foods Ready prepared vegetables or grated cheese are far more expensive than their natural equivalents. Buy unwrapped fruit or vegetables as these tend to be cheaper and you also tend to buy less.

• Bag a Bargain Check out discount stores like Aldi , Lidl and Netto. They consistently come out well in independent tests of products and are much cheaper. Also look out for special offers at the major supermarkets – the regularly run BOGOF deals, Buy One Get One Free and even Buy One Get Two Free. Independent food shops or markets also might have bargains.

What do you think is the ultimate quick fix for hard working time poor students – a Jacket potato with a tasty filling or pasta with tomato sauce?

Popular jacket potato fillings include: sweetcorn with tuna, cheese, coleslaw, baked beans but a little of time in the kitchen could enhance the repertoire.

Tasty alternatives: 1. Fry an onion, a red pepper and add a little grated cheese. 2. Boil some broccoli, add a few walnuts and tinned salmon.

3. Chop a couple of fresh tomatoes and add a tin of sweet corn or cook some frozen peas.

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