Actually Affordable and Actually Easy Student Meals

Have you ever desperately googled “fast easy cheap meals” only to find 50 great recipes that required a full spice rack, some huge cooking equipment you obviously don’t have in your student home, and 4 hours of marinating/slow cooking/cooling down? Thank you BuzzFeed; let me pull these 4 lbs of previously cooked and shredded rotisserie chicken out of the air. For those of you who don’t have the patience or budget for “Tomato Gazpacho with Avocado and Grilled Shrimp” and other absurd meal ideas the internet suggests, here are some more achievable meal suggestions from one broke student to another.

1. Stir Fry Anything

My time is limited and meal prep is life. While day three or four of Tupperware meals may not be the most glamorous, I save so much time and money only cooking once a week for no more than 2 hours. The easiest thing to meal prep? A stir fry of anything! I always start my weekly kitchen session by preparing a couple cups of rice in my rice cooker. Next, I get my protein cooking. While my (usual) chicken breast is sitting on the pan, I start chopping up my weekly stir fry choices. I really like the combination of mushrooms and baby corn with some green vegetables, such as green peppers or zucchini or broccoli. It’s a bit of a more fun twist on just eating chicken breast and broccoli every meal – but that works too.

2.  Sandwiches

Bread, one leaf of lettuce, two tomatoes, your choice of protein, additional toppings/dressings and you’ve got yourself a week of the perfect on-the-go meal that is food-pyramid friendly which doesn’t require a microwave to enjoy. Making a somewhat fresh meal between my meal-prepped Tupperware meals helps me stay sane.

3. Smoothies

Super fast. Super easy. And super cheap. Frozen fruits are almost always on sale at Metro. Add to that some Greek yogurt I would’ve enjoyed throughout the week anyway, and maybe some spinach and protein powder that I also usually have laying around. Making a smoothie takes only a couple of minutes in the morning and is key to getting through any 8:30 AM lectures.

4. Hummus Platters

Throw a naan bread in the oven, slice up a cucumber, and wash a few baby carrots. Hummus goes great with practically any vegetable laying around in the fridge and has been my recent favourite to satisfy my mid-studying hunger attacks.

Admittedly, this is all that I eat throughout my school year. While I love sloppy joes, chicken alfredo fettuccine and lasagna, they just don’t have the meal prep ease and minimal effort capabilities of the aforementioned meal ideas. While not glamorous or often delicious in the slightest, it does get the stomach filled in a relative healthy manner. So hustle away my friends; the semester is almost over. Home cooked meals of actual taste and flavour await!