Getting the right nutrition is key for your health. Having some tasty but cheap recipes under your belt can help you with your health and fitness journey. Being at university can make this difficult with how much you have to spend. Our Castle Gym team has put together some of our top picks for healthy student meals for cooking on a budget.
Here are our favourites for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
This is a quick and easy breakfast and a great way to get some of your 5 a day right at the start of your day!
- 25g/6tbsp porridge oats
- Handful of blueberries
- Handful of raspberries
- 3 strawberries chopped
- 1 tbsp 0% or low-fat Greek Yoghurt
- Mixed nuts chopped (optional)
You can use any fruit you like here, we’ve gone for mixed berries, but you can do any combination you like! Raisins, apples, oranges, goji berries, kiwi, bananas. The nuts are optional for some extra texture and goodness but you don’t have to use them. You could also add seeds to your breakfast bowl for added vitamins.
- Put the oats in a non-stick pan with 400ml water and cook over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally for around 4 mins until thickened. For a creamier texture, you can also make your oats with milk or a milk alternative such as almond or soy milk.
- Slice or chop your strawberries, if you want to chop your blueberries and raspberries into smaller pieces as well you can chop them too. Chop a selection of nuts as well, around a handful should be adequate.
- Spoon your porridge into a bowl, top with the greek yoghurt and your selection of fruit and nuts. Enjoy!
Overall you can enjoy this yummy breakfast throughout the week for around £5 or less depending on your choice of fruits/nuts.
- Porridge Oats – 75p
- Blueberries – 89p
- Raspberries – £1.24
- Strawberries – £1.39
- Greek Yoghurt – 45p
- Mixed nuts – 50p
Total Cost = £5.22
To reduce the cost we would advise using cheaper fruit (we just love berries).
Cheaper fruit alternatives:
- Apple – 43p
- Kiwi – 30p
- Banana – 13p
Changing the berries for these would make a total cost of = £2.56
Overall you could make a weeks worth of breakfast with this recipe (depending on the fruit choice).
Lentil and Butternut Squash Soup
This delicious healthy soup is perfect for the colder months! With just a few ingredients it is also nice and easy to make.
- 2 white/brown onions diced or finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves crushed or diced
- 1 butternut squash peeled and cubed
- 100g red lentils
- 1-litre vegetable stock
- Natural yoghurt to serve
- Salt and pepper to taste
If you really want to tickle your tastebuds you can also make a spiced version of this soup, we recommend adding a pinch of chilli powder and 1-2 tsp of allspice or ras el hanout.
- Heat some oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Fry the onions with a pinch of salt for 7 mins, or until softened. Add the garlic, (add the spices in now if you want the spicy version – chilli and allspice or ras el hanout), and cook for another minute.
- Add in the squash and lentils. Pour over the stock and bring it to the boil. Now reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 25 mins or until the squash is soft.
- Next, blitz the soup with a hand blender or blending machine until smooth, then season to taste. To freeze, leave to cool completely and spoon into a large storage box or individual boxes for portioned servings. If you want to keep portions in the fridge, allow to cool, use within 2-3 days and reheat thoroughly.
- To serve, ladle the soup into bowls. Serve topped with a swirl or blob of natural yoghurt.
You can enjoy this delicious soup for a week for less than £4!
- Onions – 20p
- Garlic – 25p
- Butternut Squash – £1.00
- Red lentils £1.15
- Vegetable stock cubes – 50p
- Natural yoghurt – 45p
Total cost = £3.55
This recipe serves 4-6 people. Enjoy fresh or save in the fridge or freezer for another day.
Hidden Veg Bolognese
If you are a picky eater, or perhaps you have flat/housemates who are fussy then this recipe will be perfect for you! The hidden vegetables in this recipe are the perfect way to get in your 5 a day without realising.
- 500g lean beef mince or Quorn/meat-free alternative mince
- 50g spaghetti per person/serving fresh or dried
- 2 garlic cloves crushed or diced
- 1 red onion diced
- 2 carrots diced
- 3 celery sticks diced
- 1 bell pepper – red, orange or yellow.
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 1tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare your vegetables by dicing the onion, carrots, pepper, garlic and celery.
- In a large frying pan, heat up some vegetable or sunflower oil over medium heat. Once heated up add in the carrots and celery, fry these for 3-4 minutes until they start to soften. Then add the pepper and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
- Next, add in your onion and garlic, cook for another 2 minutes or till the onion softens. Add your tomato puree, mix well with the vegetables, and cook for another minute. Empty the tin of chopped tomatoes into the pan with the vegetables, cook this all together for 2 minutes.
- Now, depending on how you like your sauce you have 2 options here. For a smooth sauce carefully transfer your vegetable sauce mix into a blender and blitz until smooth. Alternatively, if you prefer having those crunchy textures then do not blend the mix, simply set it aside for later.
- Put a large saucepan filled ¾ with water on medium-high heat and leave to boil. Add a pinch of salt to your water. Pop the lid on to help it reach boiling point faster, but make sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t boil over.
- Time to cook your mince! Keeping that medium heat, add your mince into the pan. You shouldn’t need any extra oil as the meat will cook in its own juice. For Quorn/meat-free mince you may want a little drizzle of oil to prevent it from sticking.
Break up the mince using a wooden spoon, cook for around 4-5 minutes or until it has browned. For Quorn or meat-free check the cooking instructions on the packet, Quorn usually takes around 8 minutes.
- Once your mince is cooked through you can now add some seasoning to taste – salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Give it a good mix to spread the seasoning evenly. Now you can add your vegetable mix/sauce back into the pan. Set the heat to low and allow the bolognese to simmer whilst your pasta cooks. Stir occasionally.
- Place your fresh or dried spaghetti into your large saucepan. If you’re cooking with fresh pasta it will take 3-4 minutes to cook, for dry spaghetti, this will take 7-9 minutes. Make sure you stir your spaghetti occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick together.
- Taste your spaghetti before training to make sure it is cooked, it should be soft but with a little bite to it as well, this is known as al-dente. Drain once cooked and place in a pasta bowl.
- Top your pasta with a generous helping of your bolognese.
Overall this recipe should cost you less than £5! (based on Tesco’s pricing – not sponsored)
- Mince – £2.59
- Spaghetti – 20p
- Garlic – 25p
- Celery – 43p
- Carrots – 12p
- Peppers – 45p
- Onion – 21p
- Chopped Tomatoes – 28p
- Tomato puree – 27p
Total cost = £4.80
This recipe should serve 4-6 people. If you’re cooking for yourself you can keep the bolognese in the fridge for up to 4 days. Ensure it is thoroughly heated when re-cooking. If you want to freeze it you can keep it for 1-3 months. The sooner you use it the better.
We hope you enjoy our healthy student meal recipes for cooking on a budget.
Be sure to share your creations with us on Instagram.