This will be a tough Autumn for University Students as they face ever changing feelings of “anxiety, isolation and loneliness” because of COVID-19. The National Union of Students has issued the warning as many universities try move courses online rather than having face-to-face lectures.

It’s not only the studying which is making life challenging. Social events have been cancelled, Fresher’s week activities have gone, and even getting together in a club or bar is proving difficult, if not impossible.

Now it also seems that students are set to miss out on a month’s worth of parents’ roasts thanks to Covid-19.

  • Students spend over a month per academic year travelling home purely for their parents’ home cooked meals on average 
  • This year will look very different as experts tell students to remain on campus due to Covid-19
  • Blagging a meal from their parents saves students an estimated £203 per year
  • A Sunday roast is the most popular meal to travel home for

Students spend over a month per university year (32 days) travelling home just to eat their parents’ homecooked meals, according to new research. But, with the latest SAGE 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,, asked recent university students about their cooking habits.[1]  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[2], 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 this week’s 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, as graduates in Aberdeen were found to travel home most often at a whopping 126 days per year on average. Current Cambridge students are less likely to feel the impact, as the study shows that previous students at the prestigious university travelled home for homecooked meals just nine days of the academic year. 

We have only just heard today that Education Minister Kirsty Williams has made an assurance that the Welsh Government will do everything possible to get University students home for Christmas.This is what Kirsty had to say…..

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

PositionMealsEaten 3-4 times a week
3Flavoured noodles18%
7Beans on toast12%
8Pesto pasta12%
10Chicken nuggets12%

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 – certainly not your everyday meals.

Anita Naik is Lifestyle Editor at she told us…….

“Going to university is a great opportunity for young adults to work on their culinary skills. However, it’s unsurprising to see that so many ex-students admit to heading back to mum and dad for a tasty meal and the comfort of home once in a while – who can blame them?

However, with lockdown restrictions and advice to students to travel home less this year to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, it could be easy for them to rely more heavily on takeaways, a cost that can very quickly add up and leave your bank balance depleted.

Instead, there are lots of great ways to make sure you get a substantial, tasty meal without breaking the bank. Planning ahead is the best way to make sure you buy what you need and are not side-tracked by luxury or impulse items in the supermarket. There are also lots of exclusive student deals to be had on our VC Students page that can save you valuable cash during your time at university.”

It’s a particularly tough time for students at the moment, not only isolated in a relatively strange place, but many not able to make the journey home. This uncertainty only adds to those anxious feelings. If you are in that situation, and feeling particularly homesick, just remember this.

Being homesick is a sign that you have happy, healthy relationships with people back at home. You may miss your family, your friends, your partner, or even just some good old fashioned familiarity.

The problem is, many students simply won’t talk about it, especially amongst first-year students. We can assure you however, even though no one you know is talking about it, many of your classmates are going through the same thing. The secret is not to be too hard on yourself.

Trying to fight homesickness is a really futile exercise. Letting yourself come to terms with, and process your emotions is a great way of dealing with them. Homesickness is a natural part of college experience, it’s important to let work itself out.

There is nothing wrong with having a day to be sad about all that you left behind. But make sure it is one day. Pick yourself up, and share your feelings with family and friends. Remember too there is ALWAYS someone to talk to, and don’t be afraid to do just that.

Call home, speak to a counsellor, get your mates together and open up. You’ll find that once you do there’ll be so many shared feelings and emotions. The old ‘problem shared’ scenario really helps here.

Finally. think about everything you’ve done and the changes you’ve made. Moving from home is a really big deal, so never be afraid to celebrate just how awesome you are. Celebrate your new life every day and let those you love and care about know how you are feeling, they will love knowing they were a part of your incredible journey.

Finally here is a link to the Government’s comprehensive to all things being a Covid 19 Student. GUIDE


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