You’ll soon realise you don’t have an unlimited supply of money as a student - so I’m here to help with some ideas for cheap foods to stock your cupboards with as well as meal ideas if you’re strapped for cash during your time at Uni!
Noodles are your friend (who doesn’t love noodles?!) - you can get super noodles, pot noodles, packets of dried noodles or a shop’s own brand of packet noodles - these are all cheap options that you can easily stock up on! Plus you can add all sorts of delicious extras depending on what you fancy; vegetables, egg, meat or meat alternatives, sauces, broth and much more!
Pasta; believe me when I say it is quite a task getting the amount of pasta right! Practice makes perfect. Pasta comes in so many shapes and sizes and is so cheap, usually under a pound for a bag that could last you all week! Shops own brand sauces can be really good too, be sure to give them a try before grabbing a branded sauce! Much like noodles, you can add all sorts to your pasta dishes if you wish. Add it fresh on top or cook it into the sauce... Sometimes you might not even fancy a sauce on it, so why not make a tasty pasta salad? Just make sure to wait for the pasta to cool down before you add your additional ingredients!
Rice! So many possibilities! Have it as a side, cook things with it, I've even heard you can even make puddings out of it (can't say I've tried it myself yet though). Dried rice can take a while to cook but is great if you’re on a budget. If you don’t have much time, aim to grab partially cooked rice or microwave rice as both options are still cheap and cheerful! You can also discover many types of grains, usually in the same section of the shop as rice, so maybe you’ll fall in love with couscous, lentils or bulgur wheat as well?
Soup is a cheap, tasty meal if you’re in a pinch! You can reach for tinned soup or a fresh soup, and in most cases fresh soup will last you two servings. Most breads are cheap too, especially if you buy a multi-pack, plus you can freeze the rest of the pack to keep it from going to waste!
How could I forget talking about breakfast!? You can get big bags of oats, shop own brand cereals of most mainstream brands, granola, muesli. Maybe you prefer toast, yogurt, or something like a breakfast bap to start your morning right? You can find cheap versions of any breakfast foods that take your fancy, and lots are perfect to take with you on the go too.
If you’re really struggling affording food, don't forget about the Student Union Food Bank where you can get help, no questions asked. You’re not alone and will be supported, so don’t be afraid to ask!
Hopefully you got some good ideas to start you off,
BA (Hons) Illustration and MA Illustration Graduate