Cooking for students – healthy eating on a budget

Cooking for students - healthy eating on a budget

Food is one of the main areas of expenditure for those studying away from home, and cooking can be a real challenge for students, but you really don’t want to live on Pot Noodles and Cup-a-Soup for a whole term.  Healthy eating on a budget is more straightforward than you might think – it is quite easy to eat cheaply but still create food that is both nutritious and tasty.  Here’s my brief introduction to cooking for students – follow these few simple guidelines and you’ll find you can shave a significant amount off your weekly food bill.


  1.  Eat lots of vegetables of all different colours.  Root veg are a great option for filling out a stew, chilli or curry – butternut squash, sweet potatoes, carrots etc. all make a delicious alternative to meat.
  2. Use beans and pulses – lentils, chickpeas, cannellini beans and so on are all cheap nourishing ingredients that can easily be jazzed up with a few herbs and spices.
  3. Baked beans may be traditional student fare, but remember that they are simple to prepare, tasty and very good for you.  Beans with a jacket potato make a great quick supper.  Flavour them with chilli or curry powder for a little variety.
  4. When shopping at the supermarket, look out for the supermarket’s own budget brand (Tesco Value, Sainsbury’s Basics etc.) – many of these products are great value for money.
  5. Try and find an Aldi supermarket near you.  They don’t sell many branded products, but they are much cheaper for the basics.  Buy their beans, tinned tomatoes, butter, flour, milk and all your other staples and you’ll save a fortune.  If you need any branded goods then take an occasional trip to one of the larger supermarkets just for these items.
  6. When you’re cooking, make enough for two or three meals and freeze them for when you need a quick ‘ready meal’ one day.  It won’t cost you three times as much to make three meals rather than one, and it’s only a bit of extra chopping!
  7. Frozen veg are often a good option – frozen green beans, for example, are often cheaper, and certainly much nicer and better for you than a pack of wilting, yellow, less-than-fresh ones that have been sitting in the fridge for a fortnight!
  8. Don’t forget the humble egg – a quick omlette or scrambled egg on toast can make a satisfying, nourishing meal in minutes.

Here’s a list of essential items for your storecupboard.  When you’re moving into halls, or into a student house for the first time, stock up on these ingredients so you’re always able to whip up a tasty supper at any time.

Storecupboard foods

Baked beans
Tinned tomatoes
Tinned tuna
Lentils and chickpeas
Chilli powder
Salt + pepper
Stock cubes
Soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce
Tea bags
Oil for frying

For the fridge


Frozen foods

Frozen peas, beans etc.
Pizza – for emergencies!

So, now you have a fully stocked storecupboard it’s time to begin creating your thrifty feasts.  There are so many ways to eat well and healthily while you’re living on a student budget.  We will soon be posting some great recipes for you to try – bookmark us and watch this space for some more useful ideas!


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