Tips and recipes to get you through student life!

Whether you’re a future or current student, your brain cells need nourishing! Unfortunately, all that eating doesn’t always come cheap. After two years of being a student myself, I’ve compiled a list of recipes that are cost and time effective – here are three of my favourites!

As a future student, it’s always a good idea to start thinking about how you want to break down your food bill. So before we get ahead of ourselves, here are some tips on how to keep your food bill to a (reasonable) minimum:

  • Don’t let the supermarket trick you: sure, 3 for 2 always works out great if you were going to buy those three packets of biscuits anyway. But be smart about what you put in your trolley and write a shopping list; you’ll be less likely to buy unnecessary items. Instead of going for the pre-cooked rice or pre-chopped vegetables, put in a bit of elbow grease and save your precious money! Buy in bulk if you have the space (especially oats, pasta and teabags, which come in humongous bags in ASDA) and opt for the value products rather than the expensive brand names. I promise, these tricks will leave you with more money, and food that tastes just as good!
  • Teamwork rocks: living away from home means you are allowed to cook what you want and you can choose whom you are cooking it with. Not only is it fun, but it’s also super cost effective. Think of making big stews, roasts and bakes that you can share with your flat mates! Less washing up too, which might be the best part.
  • Plan for an 80/20 scenario: a lot of students start their first term with unrealistic goals in mind, leaving them either hungry or with a ton of wasted food. It is very likely you will not be able to eat pot noodles and reduced frozen pizza all year long to be left with more drinking money. Plan ahead and be good (i.e. stick to a reasonable plan) 80% of the time, and give yourself 20% leeway on your money, so if you’re “just dying” for that Domino’s, you don’t have to feel so guilty about it.
  • Be creative: but really, it all comes down to you. Being creative with whatever you brought home from your food shop can take your meals to an extra level, without feeling like you’re missing out or eating the same thing every day of the week! Invest in a few essential spices, condiments and utensils that will transform the quality of your food in a matter of seconds.

Energy laden breakfast:

We’ve all been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and whether that is true or not, this bowl is sure to do the trick if you’re happy to spend an extra five minutes in the morning! Otherwise, by all means, just grab a banana and go.

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Pour 1/2 a mug of oats and 1 mug of milk in a microwave-proof bowl, stir and microwave on high for 2 to 4 minutes (depends on how you like it!). If you are using frozen fruit like I did (cheaper!), make sure you put those in before you cook the porridge, they will soften and taste so delicious! You can also top with honey, plain sugar, chocolate spread or peanut butter.

I love making it in this container when I’m in a rush; then I can eat it on the way.

Power lunch:

Quick to make, super portable, easy to make in bulk and becomes more flavourful after a few days in the fridge… What else could you ask from a lunch? This tuna tabbouleh is the bomb. Plus, it doesn’t smell when you open the container, like some stinky lunches do. Trust me, you don’t want the embarrassing stares at the library as you open your day-old cheese and onion sandwich.

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Fill a bowl with 1/4 cup couscous (for one portion, adjust as needed), a pinch of salt, and top with 1/2 cup (twice the amount of couscous) of boiling water. Cover with a plate to keep the steam inside. While you’re waiting for it to soften, about 5 minutes, chop your raw vegetables (pepper, cucumber and spring onion shown here). Mix in with tuna, olive oil, pepper and lemon juice. Toss well and portion out in a container for later!

Easy and comforting dinner, that (almost) cooks itself:

No one wants to stand by a pot waiting for food to cook. Throwing a few ingredients together and being able to wander off for an hour really is the best part of making this dinner. Oh, and this will feed you for 4 to 5 days – can’t complain there either! And really, who doesn’t love a roast?

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Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and start chopping! I like potatoes, fennel, leeks, peppers, lots of garlic or whatever is in season and reduced. Potatoes are the most cost effective, and any British grown vegetable will do the trick (think carrots and parsnips). Lay your veg on a roasting tray (I have this cheap one), season with salt, pepper and dried herbs you have on hands. Pour about 2 cm of water in the tray (this allows your vegetables to cook with the chicken juices rather than burn and stick), and place a whole chicken (about 1.5 kg is great) on top. I rub my chicken with olive oil, salt, pepper and sometimes even pesto. Leave it in the oven for just over an hour. The easiest way to tell if it’s cooked is to cut through a thigh and have a little peek. When it’s ready, carve it as best as you can – this will keep in the fridge for several days and is lovely hot or cold.

Happy eating!

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Hi there! I'm Elise and I'm a second year on the Economics and Finance course at the University of York. I love food, Pinterest and Halloween amongst many other things.