Quick and cheap meals I’ve been making in the UK
University can be expensive and if you’re a student, it’s easy to stop prioritizing your health. As food is expensive, this can discourage university students from preparing satisfying and nutritious home-cooked meals.
My 3 meals a day reminds me that I prioritize my well-being and overall health. If I don’t eat 3 meals, I know I’m overbooking myself, and trying to reach expectations instead of taking care of myself.
Britain is different from Canada. The grocery stores are cheaper, whereas the restaurants are more expensive, therefore I rather cook at home when I’m not out travelling. The University of East Anglia, where I’ve been on an exchange year, doesn’t have an opt-in food card, therefore students are expected to cook for themselves straight into university. Fortunately, this has made me more confident and creative with my cooking.
Here are examples of what I’ve been enjoying prioritizing my health.
Fruit bowls; add yogurt on top with cinnamon, so good!
This has been a life changer. Sometimes I switch the orange for an apple, but you could do strawberries or bananas too.
I’m not vegan but I love cooking vegan because I’m saving money. I recently just went to the store and saw chicken on sale for around $4 Canadian, while chickpeas or red kidney beans are under a dollar a can.
Cooking with beans as a protein has saved me so much money and pairing them with brown rice and some vegetables is my favourite. This doesn’t have to be boring if you switch up the sauces!
A fun side or snack is a cooked potato. In the UK, they call them “jacket potatoes,” which include toppings such as butter, cheese, beans, chilli, sour cream, and more.
This can be done in the microwave simply by poking holes into the potato and putting it on a plate for around 3-4 minutes on high. What I’ve done is sprinkled some spices (paprika) and added hot sauce on a buttered potato. So good!
Any oven-roasted vegetables. Here I have leeks and parsnips. Parsnips are an underrated root vegetable and taste way better than carrots, their second cousin. Leeks give a sweet onion taste which is amazing paired with any grain and protein!
Easy and satisfying lentil pasta gives vegan mac and cheese vibes. Pasta is the most popular university meal in Britain, therefore finding it in the shop for cheap is so easy.
What I do for the sauce is cook red lentils in vegetable or chicken stock, then add canned tomatoes, and nutritional yeast for the cheesy taste. Here, I added spinach and seasonings of choice, and bam, the perfect meal.
Another meal I’ve made recently is buying protein. Here I have vegan sausages (cheaper than meat sausages), and I’ve mixed in vegetables and quinoa. I even added maple syrup because I love taste with my sausages.
Fun group food ideas
Nacho night with the homies: this is so easy and fun for group dinners.
You only need nacho chips, cheese, lettuce, refried beans (vegan options), salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. We had extras such as corn and lime juice for our own twist.
Try these cheap and tasty meals!