Food & Drink

Cheap Meal Prep Ideas Perfect For Students

Thank us later.


Let’s be honest, when was the last time you’ve put something in the oven or the microwave that wasn’t last night’s pizza? Students don’t really have time (or will power) to cook.

We feel you, we really do. However students are poor and takeaways are expensive – do you and your wallet a favour and start meal prepping! It’s cheap, it keeps you healthy, and it helps you have food on the go so you can spend more time procrastinating studying.

Set aside a few hours on the weekend to do a big shop, buy some tupperware and let’s get started!

What you need:

  • A few hours on a Saturday or Sunday
  • Shopping list
  • (a lot of) Tupperware
  • Mason jars (if you’re a salad person)
  • A blender


Breakfast – Frozen Smoothie Meal Prep

These will last you all week! Shop at markets to find good deals on fruit and veggies and just blend them all up. Then put the smoothie in a ziplock bag, stash it in the freezer, and take it out every morning. These are amazing if you’re not a breakfast person – just grab a smoothie container and take it with you to lectures. Tip – buy veggies in bulk to save money and use some in other recipes.

Our favorite frozen smoothie recipes:

Strawberry Banana Green Smoothie

Pina-Colada Green Smoothie

Coffee-Banana Smoothie Packs


Snack – Hummus with Crackers or Carrots

Hummus is one of the cheapest dips you can find in a supermarket, but a delicious one when combined with crackers or carrots – depending how far you’re willing to go with this whole health thing. You can pack those in tupperware, and just take a bite whenever you’re low on energy during the day.

No recipe required!


Lunch #1 – Spaghetti Bolognese

You can’t really go wrong with spag-bol. It’s a student diet staple, so why not make it in bulk and eat it for a few days? It’s quick and simple to make and we all know pasta won’t hurt your budget. Whip up a basic dish with spaghetti, minced beef, a few spices, and a tomato sauce – if your budget permits, go wild, add some onions, mushrooms, and parmesan cheese.

Our favorite spaghetti bolognese recipes:

Traditional Spaghetti Bolognese

Pasta Bake

Lunch #2 – Pasta Bake

Here’s another recipe that takes less than 50 minutes to make, but it’s safe to eat it for at least a couple of days. If you get tired of your bolognese, spice it up with this amazing pasta bake. As a bonus point, you can use the same ingredients and with some extra cheese (because let’s be honest, who doesn’t love cheese?).

Our favorite pasta bake recipes:

Tuna Pasta Bake

Secret Veggie Pasta Bake


Healthy option – Mason Jar Salads

Salads are cheap and healthy – there’s no reason why students shouldn’t add them to your meal prep. If nothing else, they’re a perfect option when you’re stuck waiting for payday so you can afford your next round of grocery shopping – they last for more than 5 days! The concept is pretty easy – grab a few mason jars and stuff them with your favorite salad ingredients. Start with the dressing, then add the veggies, greens and protein. There’s no limit!

Our favorite mason jar salad recipes:

Vegan Salad in a Jar

Simple Mason Jar Salad

Sprouted Spring Salad in a Jar


Dinner (or breakfast) – Burritos

Burritos are easy to store for a long time and they’re by far one of the most delicious things that ever existed. Seriously, thank you for burritos. They’re easy to make and totally budget-friendly. Get some mince (or make chicken in a slow cooker), veggies, and wrap them all up in a tortilla. Grab some tin foil, and store them in your fridge or freezer. They can last you for a whole week and are ridiculously cheap.


Our favorite burrito recipes:

Poor Man’s Burrito Bowls

SuperSonic Breakfast Burrito

Copycat Starbucks Spinach, Mushroom & Feta Breakfast Wrap

Breakfast Burrito Recipe

And that’s it! We recommend getting inspired by some of the best meal preppers out there – we love browsing through #mealprep for some inspiration. It might seem overwhelming, but don’t worry – once you get into it, you’ll realize you’re actually saving a lot more money (and learning a cooking skill or two). Take that, takeaways!

A few extra tips for student meal prep:

  • Browse through recipe websites like Yummly to save time.
  • Buy in bulk – you can never have enough pasta!
  • Invest in quality containers – they’ll keep your food fresh for longer.
  • Add spices to have a good variety.
  • Stick to your shopping list (and don’t go grocery shopping when hungry)!
  • Use a slow cooker and let your meat and veggies cook without worrying about them.
  • Switch things up – food doesn’t have to be boring.

Don’t forget to show us your best meal prep results – we’d love to see what you come up with! Got an idea for a recipe? Share it with us and we’ll add it to the list!

Send this to a friend