Eating healthy on a student budget


University halls across the country are filled to the brim with pot noodles, ready meals, pizza, and many other conveniently packaged - and conveniently cheap - foods. These not-so-nutritious choices can seem like the only option for students on a tight budget, but they can come at a great cost to your health and waistline. 

Ace the start of university with these simple tips, that’ll allow you to branch out beyond the classic beans on toast, whilst saving money too.

Plan ahead

On Sunday’s, map out your recipes and make a shopping list that outlines exactly what you’ll need for the week. For the most bang for your buck, try to choose recipes with ingredients that overlap - so, if you need half an onion for a soup on Monday, the other half can go into a stir-fry on Tuesday. If you have time (study break!), use downtime on a Sunday to prep: chop veggies, marinate meats and batch cook as much food as you can.

Work your pantry

Keep your cabinets and fridge stocked with versatile ingredients you can throw together into quick, hearty lunches or dinners. Some of my favourite staples include tomato sauce, eggs, olive oil, nuts and high-quality canned fish.

Frozen is your friend

Shop the freezer aisle for produce with a long shelf life. For convenience’s sake, this is a great place to get healthy, hearty greens like kale and chard, which come trimmed and chopped - meaning less prep time for you. Frozen seafood is another staple; seek out individually packaged fillets which have been flash frozen when they are freshest, often right on the fishing boat. 

Exercise your green thumb

Many herbs only need a small pot and a dash of sunshine to thrive, so why not try growing your own? While fresh herbs are great flavour boosters, often recipes only call for a teaspoon or two - which results in money and ingredients going to waste. But keep a little herb garden on your windowsill, and you can pick just the right amount whenever you need them.

Portion control is key

Most of us are eating way more than we should be, and that’s where we could be saving money. Try to lower your portion sizes; it’ll save you money and calories. Instead of taking a big dish to the table to serve (and eat seconds), portion it all up in the kitchen and save some for leftovers to go in the freezer.

Flat dinners for the win

Flat dinners usually work extremely well. Not only is it fun coming together to cook, it’ll work out much cheaper when the cost of the ingredients is split by everyone. For example, a big ol’ chicken curry shared between 6 people will easily come to less than £2 each! 

Simon Farrar