Law Student Cookbook: (Just) Healthy, Quick and Cheap

Let’s be real, we’ve all been here before: it’s late, you’ve been settling down with some work and you realise you haven’t eaten for hours. So, you grab a packet of Salt & Vinegar chips. Ten minutes of mediocre study go by when you realise you need something to drink and you pick up a V (because seriously, who even needs sleep?). While you’re there, you see a packet of biscuits and you know you really shouldn’t, but you do it anyway, and this turns into your dinner because you are a poor uni student. Twenty minutes later, you feel guilty, unproductive, and unhealthy.

My friend, what if I told you that you could have quick, cheap, healthy and really delicious food that is proven to help concentration? Now hold your collective scoffing at reading the words delicious and healthy in the same sentence, and let your eyes do the judging. You are about to bear witness to gram-worthy, affordable food that you will love to eat as much as your mother will love a change in your diet of ramen for 4 months straight. We cater for all dietary preferences, and the ingredients are anything you would already have in your pantry. Here, you’ll find meals and snacks with varying levels of preparation time, so no matter if you’re late for the bus or you need a legitimate excuse to procrastinate, we’ve got you covered.

Welcome to the UTS LSS Student Wellbeing Committee’s Cookbook. Please enjoy your stay, and bon appétit.

Download (Just) Healthy Quick and Cheap by clicking HERE

By the Student Wellbeing Committee

Julia Wyatt, Katie Ball, James Blackburn, Gen Coffey, Lucy Goodlad and Sheenae LeCornu



My experience of competing in the spartan race.

Towards the end of 2016 I decided I wanted to push myself to its psychical limits but I wasn’t sure how I would go about doing this. So I decided that I would do an obstacle race, one of the most challenging ones as well. The spartan race was the pick, I didn’t quite understand the culture around obstacle racing, it was long distance running whilst completely various obstacles along the course.

I decided that to not die on the course I would actually have to train appropriately for the course. What entails being a spartan? All I knew about Spartans was what Gerald Butler and Brad Pitt had shown me in the movies. Ok, to be fair, I knew that they were the best warriors of their time. So was my training to now look like a warrior’s ?

Nervously, I signed up for the race and joined the forum with other fellow racers. Once a week, some of the elites of the competition would upload training videos, hints and tips of how to ensure we were preparing for certain obstacles (racers don’t know for exact what they will face in terms of obstacles, so previous obstacles are an indication).

My training was well underway, a 10-week intense program of vigorous things that pushed my body to its limits. I didn’t even think I would be ready, how does one even prepare for something like this, it’s difficult to actually prepare for the unknown. Yet I was giving it a go, I watched footage of former races, followed the elites through their training and watched and read the forum.

On the morning of Saturday the 6th of May, I was ready to face the course in the Picton Valleys, the nerves was high, it would either make me or break me (trust me when I say this, by break I mean both physical and mental).

My heat was announced over the PA, there I was standing shoulder to shoulder with my fellow Spartans, the announcer stated that we were Spartan and that we stick together and help each other. We cried our war cry “AAROO” and the sirens went off and so it began.

The first kilometre down I was already covered in mud, soaked in freezing cold water, climbed a fair few hills and gone through a few obstacles, surprisingly enough my fellow competitors were cheering me on. Half way through the course, I have to admit I was dying, it seemed as though this course wasn’t coming to an end. Would I need a stretcher to get home? The sandbag hill came, I had to carry 40kgs sandbag on my back up a 40% incline hill for just over ½ a kilometres and then back down. I was ready to give up, my had cuts from thorn bushes, I was exhausted my body couldn’t push anymore. My brain at this stage could be my best friend or my worst enemy. I told myself I could do it, the weight went on my back and it literally could have pushed me into the ground but it didn’t so I started my climb.

Jess Prakash

A Way out of Binge Eating

Binge eating disorder is one of the recognised eating disorders, and commonly involves feelings of powerlessness and the inability to control one’s eating. Binge eating itself is behaviour that is a major symptom of the former.

Binge eating differs from a one off treat-yourself kind of meal. While it’s completely okay to treat yourself and overeat a little – perhaps for a special occasion, or once in a while after a long day, repeated, regular binge eating is a problem. Not everybody who falls into a pattern of binge eating might find themselves clinically diagnosed with binge eating disorder, but a lack of a diagnosis is certainly no good reason to put your efforts into curbing the habit.

  • Identify why you binge eat

When do you find yourself engaging in binge eating? Do you do so when you are at home, or away from home? Do emotions come into play? Are there any other factors that are common to your experiences binge eating? These are all questions that you need to ask yourself to determine the root cause of why you are struggling. While there are many strategies you can implement to curb your binge eating habits, you will ultimately make the most progress by addressing the factors that cause you to binge eat in the first place.

Treat the illness, not just the symptoms!

  • Identify food that you binge eat, and distance yourself

There are certain foods that you are likely more prone to binge eat. If it’s difficult to identify the same foods that you are constantly going back to, consider the food groups they belong to. Try and identify that you are eating the most of.

It may be helpful to remove those foods that you are prone to binge eating, or at least hide them. Thus, there is a possibility of reducing your binge eating due to an absence of the foods you are typically drawn to.

  • Don’t eat alone

While we aren’t so blessed to be surrounded by friends and family all the time, making the effort to make sure you aren’t alone during mealtimes or in other situations where food is available may help. Humans are social beings, and having friends and family around may boost your awareness of your actions. Eating meals with others are also helpful.

Engaging in conversation during meals may also help to slow your eating. Your body experiences a delay between ingesting food and feeling full. Slowing your eating will give your stomach the chance to tell you that you’ve eaten enough, and this awareness may help combat your eating habits.

  • Eat off a plate

The general idea is to prepare or plate your food before you begin eating. It is much easier to get lost in a packet of chocolate, chips, nuts, or crackers if you’re eating out of the bag. Placing food onto a plate or into a bowl before you begin forces you to visually identify what you are intending to consume.

Placing the rest of the food that you don’t plan to eat back where it belongs – the fridge, the pantry, helps too. By engaging in these behaviours, of portioning out and plating your food before eating, you acknowledge what food and how much food you are planning to eat.

  • Distract yourself; don’t rely on willpower

As much as we’d like to believe that we have control over our actions, habits are hard to break, sometimes, sheer willpower won’t cut it. And that’s completely okay! Not being able to will yourself to stop eating does not mean you are any weaker of a person. It’s just a lot of biological and psychological factors at play that are undercutting your intentions!

Distract yourself instead. Place your mental energy elsewhere when you are thinking about and resisting the urge to eat. Start a conversation with a friend, think about something that needs to be done – laundry, university assignments, working on job applications – whatever else there is to devote your mental energy to.

If the mental redirection isn’t enough, a physical distraction helps too. Leave the house; go for a walk, or a jog. If that’s too hard, do some star-jumps in your room, put on your favourite music and just dance. Engage your mind and body in some other way. Something that has helped me personally is to paint my nails. You can’t eat if your hands are otherwise preoccupied.

Ultimately, while these are all potentially useful strategies to combat binge eating habits, the most useful tip would be #1. Get to the root of why you have developed this habit. People binge eat for many different reasons, reacting either to physical or mental stimuli. Whatever the reasons are, identifying why you have fallen into this habit is the first step to conquering it. Once you know what is driving your behaviour, you can implement steps to change it for the long term.

Not succumbing to binge eating urges today, or this week is awesome, and definitely a milestone, but the real progress starts when you begin addressing what is causing it. Binge eating is a manifestation of some other kind of stress you are probably dealing with. It doesn’t mean that you’re any weaker or lesser of a person. It’s just another challenge to overcome, and something about yourself you can better.

Take the time to listen to your body and understand yourself. And if that’s really hard right now, try these strategies to curb your binge eating, and reach out if you need more help.

Michelle Xu

Easter Binge

DISCLAIMER – As the author of this article I, myself must begin with admitting that I am an addict of chocolate and cannot always practice self-control. However, this Easter, I will be trying my absolute best, so join me, together let’s fight the bludge, binge and overindulgence this Easter.

It is that time wonderful time of the year, where every were you go, you cannot escape the sight of chocolate bunnies or chocolate eggs. Easter is a great time to spend with your families, check up on uni work or just to continue to do more procrastinating. However, Easter is also one of the most common times where we binge eat, especially the chocolate goodie. There problem isn’t the hot-cross buns or the chocolates, it is rather those of us, who are guilty of consuming excessive colossal sized Easter eggs and bunnies.

Chocolate is one of the highest kilojoule or calorie foods, so that is the reason many of us experience the surprise weight gain. However, don’t fret, because this Easter, we have a plan to help prevent the weight gain and binge. So, you will still be able to keep the chocolates without the guilt.


Getting enough sleep is crucial, as it helps our bodies recover and controls our hunger cravings. Not getting enough sleep or not getting good quality sleep, clouds out judgement and we aren’t able to make logical decisions, this makes us prone to making emotional decisions when it comes to food.
Get enough sleep during the Easter break and come Easter Sunday, your cravings will be at bay and you will hopefully be able to enjoy the day with your hunger under control.



This doesn’t mean you wake up at the crack of dawn, to go on a marathon run so you can eat all the chocolates you like, rather it is ensuring you keep moving through out your day. Generally, what happens during Easter lunches and during the long weekend is that, we are sitting and sitting some more, so just try and get moving on the day. It could be as easy as hiding the eggs for hunt, volunteering to be the responsible one accompanying the kiddies on the hunt by walking around with them, of just moving around every hour. Another easy thing to do is just go on a walk, it isn’t too strenuous and achievable, just monitor your daily steps during the long weekend, try setting a goal of getting at least 10,000-12,000 steps, roughly equivalent to 45-60 minutes of walking.
To keep you motivate walking through the day can help you burn anywhere from 300-600 extra calories a day, so get off your posteriors and get moving.

STEP 3 – Protein
Easter is all about eggs, the Cadbury crème eggs kind, right…? WRONG.

It’s also about regular eggs, the hard-boiled ones as well. Try and consume, a healthy nutritious protein back breakfast. Protein packed breakfasts helps keep you feeling fuller for long and will make it less likely for you to binge eat. So, try and eat eggs for breakfast, or an avocado smash toast. Seafood contains protein as well, so eating seafood for lunch will also be beneficial for you.
I will personally be having a veggie omelette and some Greek yoghurt with berries and lunch with be I will be enjoying fish and prawns.

STEP 4 – Hydration

Drinking water helps our body curb cravings and it also helps flush out toxins. So, if you’re feeling bloated after your chocolate bunnies and eggs, drink water. Water will move all the fluid retention and waste out of your body.

STEP 5 – Less is more
Don’t not skip meals, in hope of saving those calories for the chocolate, as this will only make you hungrier and add to the cravings. Rather have smaller portioned meals, that are lighter. Your body will still be getting the adequate amount of fuel that is needs.

STEP 6 – Don’t Deny yourself.
Enjoy those chocolate goodies, but remember step 5, so have a controlled amount. Moderate it, share your chocolates with others (give them those calories), if still have heaps of chocolate left over, hide them for a rainy day.

Have a Happy and Safe Easter Break. Enjoy your chocolates and time off.

Jess Prakash

Make the most of your uni lunch break

For someone attempting to be a “thrifty uni student” I forget to pack lunch about every 3 in 4 days (judging from the lines at Mecca on Harris St. around midday I’m guessing most of you do too!). So this month I’ve taken on a “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em (and eat their delicious food)” attitude, and prepared a quick guide on where to get the tastiest eats around UTS! Whether you’ve got a leisurely hour to spare, half an hour, or are literally sprinting to your next class and need to stuff something into your mouth along the way, there will be something for you!


I’ve got an hour…Mecca Café (646 Harris St. Ultimo)


FYI, in January Mecca changed its name to Soma, despite having all the same food, staff and vibe (why, you ask? I have literally no idea, but will continue to refer to it as Mecca for the rest of my uni degree). The great part about lunching at Mecca is you can get a table for a group of friends, but equally not feel like a loser dining there alone. With friendly staff, a relaxed industrial chic interior, and delicious healthy food it’s tough to beat!


Favorite orders: the (vegan) Kale Caesar salad or the Middle Eastern-style chicken pita. Although last time I was here the smell saffron-spiced shakshuka served with warm pita bread was giving me serious food envy.


I’ve got half an hour…Bo 7 Mon Thanh Tam (Level 3, Market City, 9-13 Hay Street)


In the time it takes to figure out how to pronounce the name of this small Vietnamese restaurant in Market City, they will have served you up some of the best pho you’ve ever had! The actual place is rather devoid of atmosphere but who cares when it’s boasting (probably) one of Sydney’s only MSG-free phos?! With winter coming it is the perfect way to warm up between classes…and the fab price of $9 doesn’t hurt either.


Favorite order: Pho! This one is an 8-hour medium strength broth, native to Vietnam’s south. Healthy and surprisingly filling!


I’ve got ten minutes…Sushi Hub (2/815-825 George St. Haymarket)


You’ve got limited time…you’re about to die of starvation…don’t panic! Just power walk your way up to Sushi Hub on George St. With an abundance of hand-held rolls available, all for around the $3 mark, you’re sure to get a satisfying lunch in on the go! Bonus points if you try one of their brown rice rolls for extra #health purposes.


Favorite order: I’m a sucker for the spicy salmon and avocado roll or the tempura prawn roll. They’ve got a great range of mixed sushi boxes you can grab on the go as well (just hope your tutor is okay with you eating in class!)


Lily O’Keefe

The Importance of Having Things to Look Forward to Throughout the Week, and Our Minds, and Breaking Things Down

There was a time, quite possibly not too long ago, a time where most of our weeks were routine. We almost knew it off by heart, could perform it instinctively and with our eyes shut and or second thoughts.

Routine. Our days were well planned: morning breakfast, school, homework centers (if you went to those) followed by home, and by what we were never fully sure of; was it a belated lunch or an early dinner? I suppose that depended on how hungry one was.

The monotony of our lives at that point in time was quite clear. However, as we progressed into adulthood, one of the most common factors that created the divide between our daily routines and what we would actually prefer to be doing was the succumbing to our responsibilities.

What in retrospect seemed easy, routine, and something we had come to expect from for nearly 13 years (that is from primary to high school) seems to have unequally proportioned our responsibilities, as though we were thrown away from our own planet, onto the planet of everyone else’s.

From this, the most certain result is that we lost the time to do what we would usually do if we needed not to do anything else. That is, a time when our responsibilities did not control our daily lives, to the extent where all we do is fulfil one thing whilst thinking of another, losing the power to break things and compartmentalize accordingly…

Things to Look Forward to

Whilst it is really easy to think about the next assignment, chore, class, work, study, reading, exercise, sleep (the list goes on) and stress over them, it is arguably more difficult to think and plan forward to having a thing which provides that jump in your step.

The trick to this is that we must create and make that thing which allows us to have something to look forward to. It is much easier to dwell on our responsibilities than to make good of them. It is because of this that having this thing is so crucial to general health and wellbeing.

What is this ‘Thing’?

The little trick that the world never told you is that this thing is whatever you create or want it to be. Whatever you make it to be is what it should be – no need for unnecessary complications. A question you may ask to yourself now is “how easy would everything be if that were the case?” and that’s a question that holds significant merit.

Our Mind…

When we think about our schedule for the upcoming week, it is all happening in our minds. Whilst our minds are a great tool, they often are our greatest enemies when it comes to health and wellbeing. Our minds controls us, but we control it. So, when thinking about the next assignment and as you begin to panic for whatever reason, the chances of you exaggerating the possible chain of events which could occur is extremely high, and the importance of being able to break things down like we did in our younger years seems to be all the more important.

Power of Breaking Things Down

When we break things down, we gain a clearer vision of what needs to be done. When we know what needs to be done, stress is minimized, anxiety is more-or-less a forgotten entity, and our days seem a whole lot brighter, and simpler.


As we have progressed with our lives, we all seem to have forgotten things that made our lives the way they were when we were in our younger years: simple. Our days were well planned, and we knew how to do and achieve everything we needed to. However, this is one trait I’d argue most of us have sadly lost. If you are to take one thing away from this blabbering of mine is that the power of being able to break things down and having one thing to look forward to throughout your week will almost certainly make a world of difference.


Thank Your Support Network

I don’t know about you, but I am by nature and experience a very negative person. I am upset by small things, like being late, or missing a train. I worry all the time, and feel an impending sense of doom when I look at my iCalendar, brimming with classes, and work, and other engagements. I feel inadequate when I get rejection emails, and I feel like I am not in control when I look at assignment due dates and the space where the loaf of bread I just binge-ate used to be.

This is a list of negative things that burden my day from the moment I wake. And mostly, I am ashamed to say that I feel this way.

But that’s okay too. We all go through moments like these – we’ve all said or done things or thought things that we aren’t proud of, and we all go through moments of self-doubt, or lose motivation. These are normal things that we have learned to be embarrassed or ashamed about, and that we frankly don’t talk more about.

 And we need to talk more about these things. We need to be able to have a dialogue about what is burdening us.

In my lowest moments, I have a small but close support network of people that I can complain to, or confide in. But coming to that moment of feeling that it’s okay to talk to someone about what you’re going through is difficult.

 At least personally, I have always felt a pressure to achieve, to be ambitious, to do a million things with the same twenty-four hours everybody else has, and come out on top. I attribute this to multiple factors, including my upbringing, and my personal struggles with self-love and self worth.

 My experience isn’t universal to everybody, but it is quite normal to feel for whatever reason, you aren’t ready to confide in someone. It’s also true that not anybody will do. Don’t pick friends that you struggle to communicate with – people that you can’t see eye to eye to, or haven’t been empathetic or good listeners in the past. Pick friends that you trust, that will understand, that will give you the time of day.

 The right friends and family will be ready and willing to support you with whatever problem you come to them with. And no matter how overwhelming and frightening the notion of confiding in somebody about your daily challenges and stress, try to take that leap of faith. More likely than not, that conversation you’re about to have is about to do you a world of good.

There’s also a way to go about finishing those conversations.

 Whenever I reach a point where I accept my need for support from my nearest and dearest, I also feel ashamed and guilty. Once again, this experience isn’t universal to everybody, but it’s not uncommon.

If not during, immediately after a moment where I confide in somebody, I feel that I have burdened them, and that I was somehow unworthy of their patience and kindness – this is especially so for those closest to me that I lean on more than once. Often, it’s the people you love most that you want to burden the least – but these ideas just can’t coexist in reality.

At some point, I realised that this was not a healthy way of dealing with my stress. While I was partially doing the right thing – voicing the thoughts that plagued me in order to stop demonising them and bring myself back to earth – I was also stacking on additional guilt and shame for supposedly burdening my dearest friends with my own negativity.

 The point of opening up to people in your support network is to ground your thoughts and worries. After confiding, you want to feel somewhat relieved, a little less burdened, or just more able to see things with a clearer perspective. To feel the additional shame and guilt of supposedly being a burden or wasting someone’s time does nothing for these outcomes. To end these kinds of conversations with your friends and family with “I’m sorry, I’m such a burden,” or “I’m sorry you have to listen to this,” actually counteracts the benefits you were trying to get out of talking to somebody about your problems. It also reinforces the habit of negative thinking in your mind.

So I changed how I did things a little.

Instead of saying these negative things that reinforced my feelings of shame, of weakness, of being a burden and an annoyance to the people who loved me – I started saying “thank you”.

“Thank you for listening to me.”

“Thank you for giving me this advice.”

“Thank you for being here for me.”

“Thank you for taking the time to listen, it really means a lot to me.”

Thanking somebody is inherently positive – it communicates gratitude – that you acknowledge the difficulty or burdensome nature of something, but instead of dwelling on that negative, you praise and thank someone for their kindness and persistence in what they have done for you.  

This is not a foolproof guide to finding your way out of your daily pressures, worries, sadness, or anxiety. Honestly, this is not a solution to any of your problems at all. I’m a flawed person. I still haven’t got my shit sorted, but this is something small that I do, that might make a difference to you too.

This is just a way to possibly help guide yourself out of a habit of negativity, and also give your support network the appreciation and respect they deserve.

So next time, instead of apologising for your supposedly being a liability or burden, thank that person who held you while you cried, cursed with you as you let out your anger and frustration, or talked you back to earth in a 2AM phone call.

Michelle Xu