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Eating Healthy on a Student Budget

Published Monday, 28 October, 2013 by Beth Bradshaw

Now, we students aren’t the only guilty ones. People of all ages seem to have this stereotypical idea that buying and cooking fresh food is more expensive than loading up on fast food and ready meals – when actually, they couldn’t be more wrong!

This week my lecturer set us a task on budgeting. We were given £10 each to go out and buy as much food as possible – which had to include breakfast, lunch and dinner. And not to mention – being a nutrition degree – must be balanced and healthy meals. We did not have to include store cupboard ingredients as the bill would be too expensive.

Instead of buying all the store cupboard essentials all at once, I strongly recommend you buy them gradually. For example, essential spices like ground ginger, chilli powder, cinnamon, cumin/garam masala – all around 50-70p at budget supermarkets, stock cubes and Worcester sauce (my savoir!). They are definitely worthy of a place in your very small student cupboard; these ingredients will transform your meals and give them bags of flavour. Once you have filled up your store cupboard, making your own sauces will be easier and more economical than buying them from the supermarket.

I went to ALDI, and managed to buy enough food for 6/7 days for a tenner! (well.. for £10.06) Making a budget and a list before you go shopping is the key to a frugal shopping basket. If you stick to the list, you will be less tempted to impulse buy and therefore stick to your budget! Also, another word of advice – never, ever (!) go shopping on an empty stomach, it will lead to a whole basket full of impulse buys.

Main Meals: (£1.20 on av. each)

  • Moroccan Chickpea Stew with couscous
  • Hearty Beef Stew
  • Spaghetti Bolognese
  • Spicy Carrot & Parsnip Vegetable Soup
  • Tuna & Sweetcorn Pasta

Breakfast: (£0.25 per serving)

  • Porridge with low fat yoghurt and dried nuts & fruits
    (Porridge is a fabulous, delicious, nutritious and economical breakfast to have throughout winter. 1KG only costs 75p, and you can add all sorts of toppings)

Lunches: (£0.60 on av. each)

  • Leftover chickpea stew
  • Cous Cous
  • Soup (taking a flask with you will warm you up in the winter months)
  • Tuna & Sweetcorn Pasta
  • Pasta with a tomato sauce

Of course, you don’t have to eat all these meals in one week – you can freeze them and have them in the next couple of weeks. It will save you money on your next shopping bill! I find that the “Pour’n’Store” bags come in handy to safely store your meals in the freezer. You can find these bags or those similar in most supermarkets and budget shops like Home Bargains or B&M. It will pay off once you get into the habit of planning your weekly meals ahead, that way you know what you need to buy and make sure you always have a filling and nutritious meal ready and waiting to be cooked up.

So, why not try the challenge of a weekly budget of £10? How many days can you buy 3 meals for? Try and beat my best of 7!

Good luck and happy shopping !


  • Chloe 7 years ago

    Thanks for the tip! I bought mince from alsi for my chilli jacket potato this week and it tasted great!Succesfully converted :)

  • 7 years ago

    I feel your pain ! Back home my family are used to eating farm shop meat (as my mum works there) - however, needs must as a student ! But i can honestly say the taste is not so noticeable. I've just had a look at sainsbury's prices and its typically £1.00 more expensive than the aldi mince i brought. If you feel you can afford that in your weekly budget then go for it - but i would recommend trying it one week to see what you think, as it will save you that bit extra !

  • Chloe 7 years ago

    Id really like to try this but i'm a bit apprehensive about bying the meat from aldi. Do you notice the difference? Ive only ever had meat from sainsburys!!

  • 7 years ago

    Lidl would work just as well - i find them to be quite similar ! I'm quite lucky to have them both within 5 mins of me, and often alternate between the two. Good luck !

  • Sophie 7 years ago

    Think i'll have a go at this this week x) dont have an aldi where i am though, do you think ldl will be a good substitute ??

  • Meg 7 years ago

    Some really great tips and ideas!!

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