But, with the latest evidence warning that Covid-19 outbreaks are more likely when students return home over the Christmas break, this academic year will be very different.
As students are being advised to stay on campus, the UK’s leading savings website, VoucherCodes.co.uk, asked recent university students about their cooking habits. It identifies how often they cook for themselves, the meals they are most likely to return home for and how much they save as a result.
With previous uni students travelling home for a cooked meal 32 days of the university year on average, this equates to 20% of the academic year. Overall, they estimate this saved them £21.38 per month or £203 over the course of the year, however, in almost one in five cases (18%), they travelled home for their parents’ grub as often as once a fortnight.
Mum’s Sunday roast is the top meal to travel home for, with half (48%) of ex uni students admitting to taking trips home just to enjoy the familiar taste of home. This is followed by curry (8%) and home baking (7%).
The study also found that men are most likely to return to their parents’ house for a good meal, doing so 40 days during the university year. In contrast, women travel just 28 days, suggesting that male uni students find it harder to fend for themselves whilst studying away from home.
However, with announcements of local lockdowns and campus Covid-19 outbreaks, students in some areas may not be able to travel at all. This is likely to most impact Scottish students, who, on average travel home more often than other areas.
Despite relying on mum and dad for quality grub, the research shows that students tend to cook for themselves just over five days per week on average.
The most common reason for not creating their own meals during the rest of the week is wanting to eat a takeaway instead (64%). This is followed by cooking being too much effort (49%) and preferring ready meals for ease (47%). Shockingly, 6% of men also admitted to stealing food from their flatmates instead, compared to just 2% of women.
The research also suggests that when they do cook for themselves, students opt for a quick and easy meal. Their go-to is a sandwich, with over a quarter (26%) admitting they ate one three to four times per week while at university. Toast came in second, with the famous student staple, flavoured noodles, in third.
Most popular meals eaten 3-4 times a week by students
1 Sandwiches – 26%
2 Toast – 24%
3 Flavoured noodles – 18%
4 Cereal – 18%
5 Toastie – 15%
6 Soup – 13%
7 Beans on toast – 12%
8 Pesto pasta – 12%
9 Pizza – 12%
10 Chicken nuggets – 12%
Aside from the most popular meals, ex-students also admitted to cooking some weird and wonderful meals during their time at university. This includes coco pops with cream cheese, ice cream on toast and Quavers in coffee!
Anita Naik, lifestyle editor at VoucherCodes.co.uk, said: “If you are a student, there are lots of great ways to make sure you get a substantial, tasty meal without breaking the bank. There are plenty of exclusive student deals to be had on our VC Students page that can save you valuable cash during your time at university.”