The ingredients for a healthy life at uni

It's time to take lessons into the kitchen
It's time to take lessons into the kitchen
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They’ve sat their exams and received their grades, but that doesn’t mean the lessons are over.

As thousands of teenagers get ready for university and their first break from the family home, it’s time for some more practical tutorials.

The focus has been on academic achievement, but do they know how to separate their whites from their colours and, more importantly, can they cook a nutritious meal?

Barbara Crick, who runs Emsworth Cookery School, says parents have been coming to her for advice and to book their offspring into one-to-one tutorials before they head for university.

She explains: ‘They’ve been doing A levels and focusing on the academic side of things and parents have been making sure they’re teenagers are well-fed. ‘They haven’t necessarily had time for cookery lessons.’

But now it’s time to prepare. Barbara advises making sure they can at least cook themselves an omelette and know how to do a jacket potato with cheese and beans.

‘It’s easy and nutritious so it’s a good start. I remember going to university for the first time, it’s daunting, wandering around the supermarket, knowing you have to choose for yourself.’

She recommends stocking students up with things like mixed herbs, balsamic vinegar and chilli flakes so they can make simple meals more interesting.

In Barbara’s personal classes, she teaches about 10 dishes that can be created on a budget. She uses adaptable ingredients that provide young people with the protein and carbs they need.

The key is to master skills that can be used for a variety of meals. Making a white sauce for lasagne and macaroni cheese and a tomato sauce for lasagne and spaghetti Bolognese is a particularly handy lesson.

‘We also go through food hygiene and freezing things. They want to know things like if they cook something, can they eat it a few days later.’

It’s also important to understand nutrition.

‘They need the nourishment for all those lectures and many students love playing sports, Helping them understand the role of food is a great idea,’ says Barbara.

Emsworth Cookery School is running some group cookery classes in basic nutritious meals, beginning on September 6. For information on these, one-to-one lessons and other classes visit