The following table will give you some broad guide-
lines of the quantities that you need every day:
Starchy foods, e.g.
bread, maize meal,
samp, rice, pasta
Size of a tennis
Dry beans, split peas,
soya mince, lentils
lean meat, eggs
Maas, milk, yoghurt
Have some oil available
for frying food
(veggies, eggs, fish,
chicken, meat, etc.).
Adapted from The South African Guidelines for Healthy
Eating and Food Guide. Available at
Sugary foods like sweets and cool drinks will
give you a quick burst of energy and then leave
you feeling exhausted. They contain no nutrients
to feed the cells of the body, will eat up your
available money and might even make you fat,
but they won’t make you healthy and full.
Each of you will find your own solution to
the problem of eating correctly and eating
enough, but here are some pointers from other
students who have walked this road:
Many universities have support systems for
students who need help in this regard. Wits
has dining halls with reasonably priced meals;
UFS has a bursary scheme called No Student
Hungry; UJ has a feeding programme that
provides meals. Go to the student support
office and ask.
Find a few friends and buy and/or cook to-
gether. It is cheaper to buy 24 tins of fish that
you can share than to buy one at a time, for
If you have storage space, buy the basics at the
beginning of the term: rice, oil, maize meal,
coffee, tea, sugar, dried beans, soup powder, etc.
If there are people selling loose fruit and
vegetables on the pavement in the CBD of
your city, go there to shop rather than using
the chain stores – it’s cheaper.
If you are worried that the CBD may be
dangerous, take a couple of friends along.
Take only cash, stashed in small amounts
in different pockets.
Buy a few tomatoes, a few onions, green
beans, carrots and potatoes. They will last a
few days and cost very little. Add a packet of
meat (sausages, stewing meat, mince), rice or
pap, and you have a meal.
If you have access to a fridge or freezer, cook
some sugar beans or lentils and keep them
cool. They make a good meal when eaten
with bread or rice and a fried onion.
Drink water, tea and coffee, NOT expensive
sugary cool drinks.
If you have never cooked for yourself, try and
team up with someone who has. Watch and
learn; such lessons last a lifetime!
If you have to cook for yourself and you have
no experience, the basics are easy. Buy one solid
cooking pot rather than a number of thin cheap
ones. Slice or chop some onion and fry it in oil.
Add your meat and fry it until it’s browned on
all sides. Add vegetables, cut into chunks. Add
some water, perhaps with a spoonful of soup
powder or stock, and some salt. Close the pot,
turn the heat down and cook for half an hour to
40 minutes. Stir now and then so that it doesn’t
burn. This makes a very good meal.
You could also get a Wonderbag. This looks
like a fancy pillow with a hole in the middle for
your pot. Cook your meal as described above and
once the pot has started to boil put it in the Won-
derbag to cook on its own. If you do that before
you go to class in the morning or even at lunch
time, you will have a cooked meal for supper!
Over time you will become more confident
and start enjoying cooking. There are thousands
of recipes on the internet. Play around with them!