The Cheap and Cheerful Way to Eat at University

Written by Charlotte Hunter

Moving away from home is hard and what’s even harder is a leaving mum’s famous cooking behind. We all love our food and so finding time to cook nutritious meals that provide you with brain food to survive with your studies is difficult. But you might be surprised to know that you don’t have to be Gordon Ramsay to cook up a healthy cheap meal and here’s how!

1) Be Money Wise and Visit Different Food Retailers Other Than Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

Whilst Tesco and Sainsbury’s can be good for various food items, cheaper shops such as Aldi and Lidl provide you with the same food by different brands but with exceptionally cheaper prices. You may have come across the ads on television and they are true to their word. Try to ditch the mainstream and go for the cheaper option as it will be super beneficial to your bank balance in the long run. Going out to the shops rather than ordering them to your home or student accommodation will also allow you to browse and pick up some great bargains.

 2) Buy Fresh Fruit and Veg From Your Local Market.

Fresh fruit and Veg from the market is just the same as you get in supermarkets if not nicer! They are also a hell of a lot cheaper.

3) Buy in Bulk

Buying in bulk saves you from going out and buying the same thing over and over again giving you more time to stay at home and focus on your university work. Visit shops such as your closest Costco for big buys.

4) Be as Inventive as You Would Towards Your University Work.

Ditch the fish finger sandwiches and Pot Noodles. Try something new buy inventing your own dishes that are personal to you. Since you are the chef you don’t have to follow the cookbooks and you can always add the ingredients you want to!

5) Don’t Eat Out All The Time

Whilst the occasional take away after a night out is acceptable try and not to eat out or order food more than once a week or a fortnight. Eating out will cause you to not only gain weight but is the most expensive way of funding for your student food.

Now that you have the tips, here’s some of our favourite student dishes!

Quick Tomato Soup with Cheesy Garlic Dippers


This dish is perfect for cold winter lunchtimes or if you’re nursing a hangover from the night before.


  • 400g can cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 100ml vegetable stock
  • dash each Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone
  • few torn basil leaves (optional)
  • For the dippers
  • 1 medium ciabatta roll, halved
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 125g ball mozzarella cheese, shredded

Find Method at: –

Chicken Fajita Pasta Bake

Having made this dish before for my flatmates I know it’s sure to leave them licking their plates and begging for more once they’ve finished! It’s a great twist on a normal pasta bake and you’ll soon find yourself making it every week.


  • 275 g (10oz) amori or penne pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 500 g (1lb 2oz) chicken thigh fillets, skinless, cut into strips
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 3 mixed peppers, deseeded and sliced
  • 30 g pack fajita seasoning mix
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 x 200g tubs fresh tomato salsa
  • 75 g (3oz) mature Cheddar, grated
  • sour cream, optional, to serve

Find Method at:-

Chilli Jacket Potatoes


Sick of having rice with your chilli? Why not have it on a baked potato smothered in cheese?!!!!!!


  • 125g of minced beef
  • half a 220g tin red kidney beans, drained
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium baking potato (approx 320g)
  • half a 227g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • 1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs

Find recipe at :-

Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry

With only 6 ingredients this curry is quick to make and perfect for filling you up in the evenings


  • Chicken or turkey fillets E.g. Thighs or breast
  • Sweet potato
  • Red onion
  • Curry paste of your choice
  • Oil 1 tbsp
  • Handful of spinach

Find method at :-

Quick and Easy Homemade Burgers


Here’s a healthy alternative to frozen burgers so that you don’t have to feel so guilty when tucking into your diner styled dinner.


  • 500g of Minced Beef (This should serve 4 people, adjust the amount of beef needed for less people, or just freeze them after!)
  • 1 Small/Medium Onion
  • 1 egg

Find recipe at :-


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