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I’m Rachel, a third year musical theatre student at Edge Hill University. From a global pandemic to cost of living crisis, the past three years has been tough on students. One thing that I’m particularly conscious of is money and trying to get the most from my limited budget.

To help you get the most out of your money, I have created a series of cheap recipe ideas for students. Each one is packed with flavour and with a few simple changes, you can easily adapt them to become a cheap vegan student meal. So, kiss goodbye to beans on toast and let’s get cooking.

Cheap breakfast ideas for students

Two green breakfast smoothies on a kitchen counter

Skipping breakfast is common amongst university students. It can lead to lack of concentration and increased stress levels. I have a few cheap and cheerful breakfast smoothie recipes that are designed to satisfy you for longer and won’t cost you the earth. They can be thrown together in a hurry and taken with you on your morning commute to campus.

Time saver smoothie recipes

Get your five a day and stay full until lunchtime for under £1.50 per smoothie.

Top tip: Prep in small bags/boxes and freeze, then simply add your choice of milk, water or juice and blend away.

Green breakfast smoothie
Blueberry smoothie
Tropical smoothie

*All prices shown are Aldi and based on the cost available at the time. Prices may vary depending on where and when you choose to shop.

How about making a smoothie bowl?

Smoothie bowls may take more time and care, but it feels like having ice cream for breakfast so it’s totally worth it!

All you need to change for this is the quantity of fruit and liquid to get your desired thickness, then pour into a bowl and decorate with whatever you like.

Top tip: Only use a small amount of milk for an ice cream-like consistency!

Optional add ins:

  • Mix in: Cocoa nibs, oats, peanut butter, or protein powder
  • Toppings: Chia seeds, desiccated coconut, granola

Cheap lunch recipes for students

How many of us have skipped lunch as a student? Either you’re too busy rushing around, or you grab something when you’re out and don’t get a chance to eat it. Lunch doesn’t have to be an afterthought. Here are three super easy, healthy, and cheap university meal ideas for lunchtime.

A bowl of carrot and coriander soup

Food waste warrior soup recipes

Lunch is a great time to find all your leftover veg and put it to good use. These cheap uni meal recipes can be popped in the freezer and kept for months to make future meals simple and cost-effective. If you don’t have the exact ingredients, experiment with what you have at home. Soups are versatile, easy to make, and a great low-cost option.
Top tip: Buy a thermal flask or mug and enjoy warm soup on the go between lectures.

Leek and potato
Tomato and basil
Carrot and coriander

Cheap evening meal recipes for students

We don’t all have the time and energy to make a nutritious homecooked dinner after a long day at university. Thankfully, these cheap recipes for students will make it easy to enjoy a quick, tasty evening meal on a budget. There are two of my favourite crowd-pleasing evening meal ideas for you to try. Both can be adapted to make delicious vegan or vegetarian student meals. You can easily batch cook and freeze individual portions to save you time and money in the future.

Super speedy Mexican bean rice
Cupboard raider sausage ragu

Useful cheap student meal links

Looking to cut your food costs? Take a look at our student money saving hacks to reduce you weekly food costs, and discover cut-cost supermarkets in the Ormskirk area.


Over the last few weeks, we’ve been getting students to channel their inner chef with the new Student Life Learn2Cook programme. Regardless of your ability, we invite you to come along. Cook, connect and create. Our Learn2Cook programme gives you the chance to meet new people and learn some new dishes. The Student Life team has paid for all ingredients, so the programme has been completely free to take part in.

View our Learn2Cook webpage to find out more and get involved.

October 24, 2023


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