Do uni students really live on pasta and beans? An insight into the student diet

Jay-Z and Beyoncé, Ant and Dec, students and pasta. Few duos are as iconic as the aforementioned. But is the stereotypical student diet of pasta and beans really that accurate?

For many students, university is the first time living away from home, and the ability to cook becomes an essential skill. This, combined with a relatively tight budget, leaves students relying on cheap and quick fixes to quench their hunger. Noodles and pasta are just two examples that fall perfectly into this category. But do students really live off these?

“In the evening, I usually cook pasta,” said University of Gloucestershire student Sam Dewey, 20. “However, I’m not always in the mood to cook a proper meal so I’ll just stick a pizza in the oven.”

“For lunch, I often grab a panini from the refectory on campus,” he added. “I’ll then usually have a packet of crisps as a snack when I get home from my lectures, but if I’m feeling healthy I’ll have an apple instead, though sadly I can’t admit to managing five pieces of fruit or veg a day.” Sam isn’t alone in this, with 86% of those surveyed admitting to not having their five a day on a daily basis. The survey found that 40% of people do sometimes get their five a day.

Our findings show that 30% of people average around two portions of fruit and veg, making this the most popular amount. 28% manage to consume three a day, with just 4% failing to eat any portions in an average day.

However, Sam confessed he doesn’t always cook up his three meals a day. “A lot of the time I’m just too busy to cook and it’s easier to just snack or even eat out as opposed to actually cook a meal.”

Sam’s housemate, Elliot Watson, 21, shares a similar insight.

“In the evenings, I almost always cook pasta,” said Elliot. “It’s easy to cook and I never really get bored of it.” It seems he is in good company as pasta topped our charts as the favourite meal for students. 28% of students opted for the Italian favourite, with curry also proving a popular choice, ahead of options like pizza, beans on toast, and chicken and rice.

Elliot also admitted to skipping breakfast regularly. “I often miss breakfast because I hate to admit, I’m quite lazy in that regard,” he said. 32% of those we surveyed revealed that they eat breakfast every day, while only 12% confessed to never eating breakfast.

Living in a student town with popular fast food chains within walking distance, resisting temptation is not so easy. We found that 62% of students eat out at least once a week, with McDonalds the most popular destination. KFC and Subway were also popular amongst students.

“I often eat out about twice a week, usually at places like Nandos, McDonalds, Subway, KFC, the standard fast food places really,” said Sam. “Sometimes when I’m feeling particularly lazy I’ll just order a Chinese takeaway!”

So it seems that pasta is indeed the most popular teatime option amongst students, but it didn’t score as highly as some may have expected. Rather surprisingly, only 4% of students surveyed opted for beans as their go-to dish at meal time, meaning the beans stereotype is little more than that.

Pasta la vista, baby!





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