Cheap and Easy Student Meals to Eat Well and Spend Less

stir fry noodles and prawns

Living in a big city like Birmingham can be expensive when it comes to dinner-time. Even just around the corner from our Duncan-Smith Halls, there are many tempting restaurants to visit, cute cafes to try and bakeries to bask in. So whilst you might want to indulge every now and then, we know the pennies can be tight on a student budget, so for the rest of the week you might want to have some wallet-friendly recipes up your sleeve.

We’ve pulled together some of the very best cheap student meal ideas, that are both economical and a doddle to make.

Spag Bol

Super easy to make, spag bol is a great go-to meal. Add onion, a tin of tomatoes, garlic (Lazy Garlic or garlic paste in tubes are pretty cheap and good for when you’re in a rush), and a dash of mixed herbs, plus your fried-off mince makes for a hearty meal paired with some cheap, own-brand spaghetti. Substitute in Quorn if you’re vegetarian or want a healthier option!

spaghetti bologna

Stir Fry

A great way to use up the random assortment of vegetables you find in your refrigerator! Add onion, garlic, a dash of soy sauce and some chilli flakes, plus any meat or vegetarian extras you like for a hearty and healthy meal. Kidney beans or chickpeas are good to add on top to make it go even further – remember, you can freeze down leftovers to heat up later.

Curry

Getting a takeout from the local Indian can be a nice treat, but it’s so much healthier and cheaper to do one yourself! Grab some curry powder, cumin and coriander (or consult the internet for your favourite recipe for the herbs you’ll need), add a fried onion, and a tin of either coconut milk or chopped tomatoes for your base.

Add meat, fish, or vegetarian alternatives such as tofu, and to make it go further, bulk it out with whatever you can. Chunky vegetables add extra goodness as well as help fill you up, or bulk out the protein with some chickpeas, lentils or barley, all of which are really cheap and last forever.

Chilli Con Carne

Stock up on the herbs you need for this recipe and you’ll be set for the year, or buy a ready made seasoning packet if you’re short on time. Plus a tin of tomatoes, or some tomato puree, an onion, a tin of baked beans, and you’re good to go. Bung it all in a big frying pan and let simmer for a good hour or two for best flavour, or coot the meat and heat thoroughly if you’re in a rush. Make in bulk and freeze in bags for later for best value! (You can also freeze the rice.) Add kidney beans to further bulk out this recipe.

chili con carne

Some other quick and cheap recipe ideas include:

  • Pitta Pizza – top with a base of tomato puree and cheese, then grill
  • Jacket Potato – top with tuna mayonnaise or half a tin of beans for a quick, cheap meal
  • Pasta Bake – pasta + sauce + meat/fish/veg + oven = versatile, long-lasting dish
  • Risotto – rice + sauce + meat/fish/veg + pan = quick, easy, and slightly exotic meal

We hope you enjoyed our fun little run-down on some of the cheap meals you can make, and come back again soon for more top tips on student living! Please do not hesitate to visit our contact form if you have any questions on student accommodation

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