“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” - Hippocrates

As a student, we’re often tempted to make the simplest and quickest dishes. That or fast food, takeaways, or the cheapest thing we can get our hands on.

Around a 5th of a student’s budget goes on food. As such a significant amount of the budget, you really want to get the most out of your money when you’re spending so much of it on food.

In this article, we're going to look at some of the ways students can cook for themselves including cooking in bulk, freezing food, using seasonal produce, heading to markets, and cooking some traditional recipes.

Cooking in Bulk to Stretch a Student Budget

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” - J.R.R. Tolkien

It’s a fact that the cost of living is going up. Feeding yourself seems to be getting more and more expensive and on a student budget, you’ll be feeling it.

How can you cook on a budget?
You'd be surprised how much you can save when you cook. (Source: Hans)

However, all is not lost. Thanks to certain techniques, you can learn to cook enjoyable and cost-effective meals.

Do you like cooking? Do you cook regularly?

You may have noticed that you regularly spend a lot of time cooking and very little time eating.

Don’t worry! You just need to make more of it. Cook for two, three, etc. While you’ll pay more, you’ll be able to enjoy your food for several days.

As you know, buying in bulk saves you money! A great idea if you’re on a tight budget.

Freeze Food to Save Money

This is a great technique for cooking and saving money as it’ll make your budget and your food last longer. Organisation is key!

What are the best dishes for students to cook?
Cooking is a lot of fun and is a great way to save money on food. (Source: marvorel)

Freezing your food allows you to eat better without having to pop round the local shops or get food delivered. Frozen food retains a lot of the nutrition which is why a freezer is a great idea for students.

Even in the smallest flats, most fridges have a small freezer compartment where you can store your stuffed courgettes, spaghetti bolognese, or chocolate cake.

Find some great cookery classes London thanks to Superprof.

Freezing food allows you to save money as you’ve already made the food and won’t need to go to a restaurant or get a takeaway This means you can enjoy nice food without breaking the bank.

Cooking with Seasonal Produce on a Student Budget

It’s becoming increasingly common for people to eat seasonal produce as it’s better.

What are the best dishes for students?
While you have to prepare under certain constraints, you'd be surprised at what you can make. (Source: StockSnap)

But why is it better?

There are a good number of reasons:

  • Seasonal products have more flavour
  • Seasonal products correspond to our bodies’ needs
  • Seasonal products are cheaper
  • Seasonal products are ecological

It’s a fact that we should eat seasonal produce because it’ll be better for a student budget. Eating tomatoes in October isn’t great for your taste buds or your wallet since they'll be at the end of their season and will have to travel further to get from the farm to your plate.

Adapting to the season is also a great way to discover new recipes and eat food when it’s supposed to be eaten. Broccoli in winter, peppers in summer. This is great for your budget.

Head to Markets at the End of the Day

Sometimes, there are great ways to save money and still get to make dishes with fresh produce. Try heading to the market just before closing. Some vendors will be looking to cut their losses and get rid of the stock they didn’t sell.

There’s nothing shameful about it because you’re helping to avoid food wastage. Of course, this isn’t just for students!

Cheap Recipes for Students

Eating on a budget doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to et rubbish. There are plenty of great recipes you can make for very little money.

If you learn how to cook for yourself, you can also cook for dietary requirements. If you need veggie meals or gluten-free dishes, you'll be in charge of each ingredient that goes into your food.

Vegetarian Recipes

As a student, you can make simple recipes and still eat well. Avocado toast is a fine example because it’s nutritious and cheap.

What are the best dishes for students?
While you have to prepare under certain constraints, you'd be surprised at what you can make. (Source: StockSnap)

You just need to mash the avocado onto two slices of toast, season, and you’re done! There’s no cooking involved and you can even add a poached egg, cumin, coriander, or sunflower seeds.

Gazpacho is another great vegetarian recipe that you can keep in the freezer. For 4 people (or four meals), you’ll need:

  • 5 tomatoes
  • 4 cucumbers
  • 4 peppers
  • 1 onion.
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 lemon
  • Parsley
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper.

Peeling the onions and cucumbers and removing the seeds from the peppers, you just need to blend it all together. This includes the pulp, which you can strain.

This is a delightful and healthy recipe. The winning combination!

Traditional Recipes

When you’re cooking in a student flat, you’re often limited by your budget and the equipment you have on hand. That’s why one-pot pasta exists. Put simply, it’s your traditional pasta dish cooked in a single pan.

What are the benefits of cooking for yourself?
While you mightn't be in a restaurant, you can cook some very nice meals on a budget. (Source: rawpixel)

Say goodbye to boring pasta and hello to delicious dishes. One-pot pasta is a versatile dish that anyone can do.

For example, for two servings of vegetable pasta, put 1.5 cups of pasta in 3 cups of water, then add all the ingredients you want (cherry tomatoes, seasonal vegetables, bacon bits) and let the boiling water do the rest. Once there’s no water left, you’re done!

This is a cheap and original recipe that any student can make.

Are you familiar with shirred eggs?

This is a traditional recipe and it works on a student budget. To make shirred eggs and ham, you’ll need:

  • 1 egg
  • Half a slice of ham
  • 1 tablespoon of cream
  • Tarragon
  • A teaspoon of grated parmesan
  • Salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Preheat your oven to 210°C, finely slice the ham, and place it in an oiled ramekin. Add the cream, tarragon, and break an egg on top. Mix slightly and sprinkle the parmesan on top. Bake in a baking tray that’s been half-filled with water.

The bain-marie allows you to gently cook the egg, keeping all the flavours in. Cook it for between 6 and 10 minutes. You can eat it with bread. With some seasonal produce, this is a delicious and cheap meal! It’s also very easy to make.

As you’ll have understood, a student budget doesn’t mean you can’t eat well. You just need the right techniques and the right recipes! Bon appetit! Invest in a good cookbook and get help from a private tutor and you'll never need to eat instant noodles, toasted sandwiches, or TV dinners again!

On Superprof, there are tutors all over the UK and around the world offering tutorials in a variety of subjects and skills. There are three types of tutorials available: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials.

Face-to-face tutorials tend to be more expensive because you're getting a bespoke service and tutorials tailored to you, your learning style, and your learning objectives. While these are the most expensive, they're usually the most cost-effective since your tutor will focus on you and only you.

Online tutorials are similar but you'll pay less than face-to-face tutorials since the tutor doesn't have to travel to their student and can charge more competitive rates. Additionally, you can get online tutors from anywhere in the world, which is great for shift workers or those with busy schedules.

Group tutorials are more like the classes you'd have at school. These are usually the cheapest since the cost of the tutorials is shared among several students. Of course, this comes with less one-on-one time with your tutor. That said, if you and a few friends are all wanting to learn how to cook on a budget, this could be the ideal solution.

Each type of tutorial has its advantages and disadvantages and it's up to you to see which one works for you. On the plus side, a lot of the tutors on Superprof offer the first hour of tuition for free, allowing you to see whether you get along with one another and set out your learning objectives and the finer details of your private tutorials.

So are you ready to start cooking?

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Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, language enthusiast, and blogger.