Want to cook amazing food on a student budget? It’s possible I promise
No more cheesy pasta for you
Being a student does not mean pot noodles and takeaways every night. Sure, it might be what you do for a good few weeks out of the year when freshers is on and SFE loans have just come in, but money can be tight.
We all know what being a student on a budget is like: Shopping at Lidl bakery, getting meal deals as substitutes for nutrition and, when you’re not doing those things, eating pasta and grated cheese every night of the week. But you will be pleased to know being a student does not mean you are resigned to eating terrible food throughout your uni career.
Luckily, we have compiled some great student meals on a budget that can be adapted for vegetarians too. Plus, head of editorial at Save the Student, Tom Allingham, and student food Instagrammer, Lauren Levya (@the.starving.student), share their tips and tricks for making meals on a budget.
According to Save the Student, on average students spend around £100 a month on groceries and £33 a month on takeaways. Even though it may not seem like a lot when you are buying the food, that £133 a month can be massively reduced.
Tom says: “Look at cooking together with your flatmates or cooking in bulk so you’re cooking the same meal but having several different portions of it.” This can save you a lot of money if you are buying ingredients for one big meal but sharing the costs with your flatmates.
Another option is to follow a meal plan, as Tom says: “Plan your meals in advance, so that you know exactly how much of each ingredient to buy and then nothing goes to waste. But also a great part of that is that you don’t get to 6.00 or 7.00pm in the day and are thinking ‘What should I cook?’, and then you end up getting a ready meal or a takeaway.”
When it comes to buying your food and the ingredients for your planned-out bulk meals, Lauren says: “Don’t avoid supermarket basic brands because they might be cheap or at the bottom shelf – actually, when you put all the flavours together in the big batch dish it is delicious, and you can make a really nice meal.” So basically, stop finding your posh London self in Waitrose and find a friend out of Aldi or Lidl instead.
Cooking great food really does not have to be hard and it certainly doesn’t have to be expensive. See our top six budget recipes below, which are all based off Lidl prices and ingredients:
1. Chicken and bacon (or veggie substitute) pie:
2. (Vegetarian) sausage casserole:
3. Spaghetti bolognese:
4. Spanish tortilla:
5. Plant-based Greek shawarma:
6. Lamb biryani:
We all crack every once in a while, and sometimes a cheap pizza from ICCO or hearty macaroni cheese from Tesco is exactly what your body needs and deserves. But for those evenings sat in your flat kitchen feeling completely uninspired with how to get your life back on track, I hope these recipes help just a small bit in achieving that.