How to Eat Well on a Student Budget
Hi everyone! My name is Lauren, and I am in my third year of the Honours Life Sciences program. This is my first year being a part of the Life Science Society, and my role on the social team is being the Social Outreach Coordinator.
There are so many delicious food places around campus and in the westdale area, that is without a doubt. When you are knee deep in homework, studying, or laundry, the last thing you want to do is take an hour or more to cook an extravagant meal for yourself. This is when we tend to resort to fast food restaurants, or precooked frozen meals. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good take out night, I probably do this once or twice a week, and I have frozen staples on hand at all times. However, on a student budget, buying quick meals isn’t always a sustainable option, and this is something I have come to learn over the past few years. I am going to share with you some of my staple meals, and some overall tips on how I was able to switch to more home cooked meals.
To start, we are all very busy, which means we don’t have time to cook every single day, and you really don’t have to. Leftovers are a wonderful thing, and takes 1 minute to heat up if you already have it. So my biggest tip would be to cook in bulk. Whether this be 2 or 3 times a week, it is much better than having to cook every single day. Dinners that I highly recommend that are easy, filling, and nutritious are things like pasta dishes with a protein, stir fry, soups, or chili. These are all meals that can be refrigerated, and the chilli and soups can even be frozen, making them last even longer.
For breakfast, cooking ahead can be a little more challenging. You always want to start your day with something that is going to give you some energy for your mornings. If you did want to prepare ahead of time, you could do overnight oats, which are a personal favourite. All you have to do is prepare the oatmeal like you would for a microwave, but replace the water with milk, and pop it in the fridge before you go to sleep. Another idea could be an egg scramble, that you bake in the oven. Prepare your eggs in a baking dish as you would be making an omelet, but instead pop the dish in the oven until the top is firm. These are great options if you are not a morning person, or don’t have time to cook much. If you want to prepare something before you start your day, regular oatmeal or eggs of any variation are great sources of nutrients, and keep you full for longer. These have been my two staples for months now.
I find you can have some leeway with lunches. No time? Heat up one of the meals you made for dinner earlier in the week, or make a simple sandwich. I tend to go for the sandwich route, since I always try to have lunch meat on hand for easy lunches. I try to aim for things that take very little time, since it is right in the middle of my day and I don’t want to break from what I am doing for too long.
I hope these ideas were helpful for you, and I hope that you end up trying some of the meals that I have been loving recently! Best of luck with the rest of your semester, and thank you for reading :)