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Easy Cheap Student Meals

Tamires Criscio
Tamires Criscio
  | Edited by Tom Church
Updated 1st April 2021

Are you a student that wants to save money on food? Latest Deals have the best tips to help you make the most of your money and groceries!

What should a university student eat?

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One of the biggest expenses in life is food. Learning how to save money on food as a student will help you to keep saving money for the rest of your life. Everyone likes to eat out and to order takeaways, but these habits are, unfortunately, very expensive. Learning how to cook your own food will save you money, which you can then save or even invest in the future. 

A good budget for a university student is around £100 per month, which gives you £25 per week. This does not include eating out or ordering in. With £25 per week, you will be able to have breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for a week comfortably. 

You will need to be creative to make different meals every week to not get bored and give up on your strict food budget. 

What should a student have for breakfast? Easy Cheap Student Meals for breakfast

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One of the cheapest and most versatile options for breakfast is oats. You can have porridge, overnight oats, pancakes, baked oatmeal, and add oats to your smoothies for more fibre and thickness. 

Another excellent option is eggs. Again, you can have them on toast, fried, poached, scrambled, boiled and much more. You can also make omelettes.

Cereals are also a great option, although sometimes they can have more sugar than you need first thing in the morning. Always look for ones with less sugar and saturated fat. 

A good fruit to have in the mornings to feel full for longer is bananas. You can mix them with your oats, and even eat them on top of toast with peanut butter. 

A way to save money on breakfast is to keep it vegetarian. You can then treat yourself to bacon and sausages for the weekend and avoid buying more expensive products such as avocados. 

Grocery list for breakfast 

  • Oats 
  • Eggs 
  • Cereal 
  • Peanut butter
  • Milk 
  • Bread
  • Bananas 

What should a student have for lunch? Easy Cheap Student Meals for lunch

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For lunch, you will probably be on the go, so having pre-packed options will be crucial for you to save money and avoid spending.

Sandwiches are a great option. They are delicious and can be really healthy if you add the right ingredients. You can make a tuna sandwich or one with shredded chicken breast with mayo. 

Another great option is a jacket potato. You can even make it in the microwave if you don’t have an oven. You just need to add your favourite toppings.

Grocery list for lunch 

  • Bread 
  • Baked potato 
  • Tuna can 
  • Chicken breast 

What should a student have for dinner? Easy Cheap Student Meals for dinner 

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When you get home from lectures, the last thing you want to do is to spend time cooking. So, you need to have quick options to help you avoid the temptation of spending more money on food when you have groceries. 

One really good option is rice bowls with roasted vegetables and minced meat. You can buy pre-made rice packages and just add the toppings. If you are feeling really lazy, eggs can make great toppings. You can even make fried rice. 

Roasted vegetables are quick and easy to make, just cut them, drizzle oil and put them in the oven. They are usually ready in less than 30 min. This is a full nutritional dinner, which can be mixed and matched. You can also make more and save the leftovers for either lunch or dinner the next day. 

Another dinner option is pasta, which you can have ready in less than 10 min. You can add vegetables and minced meat as well, packing it with nutrients. 

Grocery list for dinner 

  • Pre-made rice of your choice
  • Pasta of your choice 
  • minced meat of your choice 
  • Vegetables of your choice 

What should a student have for a snack? Easy Cheap Student Meals for Snacking 

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Snacks can be expensive, so learning how to make your own snacks and getting cheaper options is essential. Some ideas for snacks are hummus with vegetables (carrots, cucumber, celery, peppers) and apples and pears with peanut butter. You can also make homemade popcorn. A tip is to see what your favourite snacks are and how to make them at home. You can also buy your favourite snacks (usually bars) in bulk to make them cheaper.

Grocery list for snacks 

  • Hummus 
  • Vegetables of your choice 
  • Apples 
  • Pears 

Meal planning and prepping for students 

Meal planning and prepping is the best way to save time and money. It also guarantees that you will make healthier choices. You just need a couple of hours one day a week to plan and prepare the meals you will be eating all week. You can leave the weekend off or make it twice a week to guarantee you have fresh food. 

Start by writing down all the meals you will have during the week, write down all the ingredients you need to buy, use the Free Supermarket Price Comparison Tool and see where you can get them for less money. Go back home and prepare the meals, then you just need to grab the tupperware every meal and enjoy! 

What meal can I make for £5? What are the cheapest meals to make at home?

Most of the meals mentioned above can be made for less than £5. We also have a list in this article with 15 easy and cheap student meals a little further down. Other recipes can be found here: One Pound Meals: Delicious Food for Less, you can check out some of its recipes here, Feed Your Family For £20 a Week: 100 Budget-Friendly, Batch-Cooking Recipes You’ll All Enjoy, you can also some of its recipes here, 5 Ingredients or Less Tasty’s recipes and the websites Beat the Budget, Budget Bytes and Student Eats with only easy and cheap eats. These are probably the cheapest meals to make at home. 

Which food is best for students?

This will depend on the student. First of all, the most important thing is to define any dietary restrictions and make sure you are eating food that is making you feel good. Another essential point is that you need to make sure you are fueling your brain because you will need it for your studies. According to Harvard Health Publishing, the foods linked to better brain power are green veggies, fatty fish, berries, tea and coffee, and walnuts. Usually, green veggies are pretty affordable and you can add them to every meal, fatty fish are cheaper when bought frozen, the same applies to berries, which make perfect smoothies, and finally walnuts are sold cheaper at Lidl and Aldi.

Easy Cheap Student Meals

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Spaghetti for students 

Spaghetti is cheap and easy to make, being perfect for students. You can eat it with only butter, oil or ketchup. But for more elaborate meals, you can add pesto or pasta sauce. For more nutritional value, add vegetables and meat options. 

Cheese and Ham Toastie for students 

A toastie is always welcome and can be eaten at any time of the day. You just need bread, cheese and ham. You can also add mustard to make it even more special. 

Naan Bread Pizza for students 

If you want to be very frugal, you can make your own pizza with naan bread. You just need tomato sauce and the toppings of your preference. Although frozen pizzas are affordable, this can be a better option if you just want one or two “slices”. 

Jacket Potato for students 

A perfect option for packed lunches, you just need to have the right toppings to make your jacket potato special and if you are tight on money you can always go back to the basics: baked beans and cheese. 

Omelette for students 

Omelette is another great option for students because you can eat this at any time of the day. You just need to add cheese, ham and any vegetables of your choice. 

Stir-fry noodles for students

Almost every supermarket chain in the UK has its stir-fry noodles kits, which are super handy. In less than 15 minutes you can have a versatile meal. M&S has one of the best stir-fry deals for only £6 including meat and meat alternatives. Waitrose also has affordable stir-fry kits. 

Minced meat for students 

Even if you are vegan, minced meat is perfect for students. You can make a big batch of minced meat and use it for many different meals. You can get chicken, pork, turkey, red meat and even soya as minced meat. 

Tacos for students

There are different tacos kits that make it easier to cook tacos. You can get hard and soft tacos which can bring variety to your weekly meals. You just need the minced meat mentioned above and some other toppings to make it interesting.

Fajitas for students

Fajitas are super simple to make: you just need garlic, onions, bell peppers in different colours, and a type of protein of your choice with a distinctive sweet and savoury seasoning. You just need to add tortillas and your meal is ready. 

Curry for students 

Curries are delicious and easy to make. You just need your choice of vegetables and meats, coconut milk and curry paste of your choice. This is perfect to eat with rice and even noodles. 

Chicken for students 

Chicken is one of the cheapest meats you can get and it’s easy to cook and healthy. You can make a Sunday roast and eat this in many other ways during the week. You can also get cheaper cuts such as wings, legs or thighs and level up with different flavouring. These cuts with potatoes in the oven work perfectly and are tasty meals. 

Nachos for students 

Nachos are so delicious and easy to make that when you start making them, you will need to control yourself to not eat them every day. If you want to make things easier you can buy a nachos kit. Usually, the supermarket branded ones are cheaper. You just need to add your favourite toppings: salsa, fried beans, guacamole, sour cream, cheddar cheese, minced meat, shredded chicken or pulled pork.

Fried rice for students 

To make fried rice, you just need to add eggs to it. You can add other ingredients, such as vegetables. It works well with corn and peas. This is cheap and nutritious. You can add more ingredients if you want but make sure that they are already cooked. This is a perfect meal for leftovers. 

Roast Sausages and Vegetables for students 

This can be perfect for meal prep. Just cut all the ingredients, drizzle oil and season. Place everything in the oven and in less than 30 min, you have lunch and dinner ready for a couple of days. There are so many types of sausages that you will find perfect for you. 

Classic Lasagne for students 

Lasagne is easier to make than most people think. You just need the lasagna sheets, which are pretty affordable and baked pasta sauce. You can add cheese and get creative with it. To make it even better, make a bolognese sauce by adding minced meat, garlic and onions to your tomato sauce. You can even add meatballs. Another idea is to use aubergine and courgettes as “the pasta sheets”. The best part of lasagne is that it can last for an entire week. 

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How to save money on food? 

First of all, to save money on food, you can use our Free Supermarket Price Comparison Tool before getting your groceries. This tool shows which supermarket you can get the most amount of items for the cheapest price. We also recommend reading our guides for each supermarket in the UK. You can find them linked below: 

Using the tips we give in each of them, you will be able to save even more money. Finally, read our guide on 40 ways to save money on food here.

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