Cheap and Easy Meals for College Students

Cheap and Easy Meals for College Students

College is expensive, but the snacks you eat don’t have to be. On occasion, you may not want to go to the cafeteria for food and the snacks in the coffee shop are limited. Here are a few ideas to help curb your snack cravings without breaking your savings. 

Snack Tip #1: Find cheap non-perishable food items that you may like. Crackers and assorted toppings may not be the healthiest, but it is relatively cheap and can last a while. Things that can be stored in your room and go well with crackers are peanut butter, spray can cheese, honey, and more. Karla Trejo, a senior business major, recommends her favorite snack, saying, “I really enjoy hummus with pretzels.” Another non-perishable idea is canned foods, which may be a healthier option. Fruits and vegetables can be an easy grab, and cans will cost less than buying the little plastic single-serve cups. If you choose vegetables or maybe soup, the residence hall dormitories’ microwaves are useful amenities.

Snack Tip #2: Microwave and go foods. Items such as popcorn, ramen, and instant foods may not be super nutritious but can be a simple snack option when outside a meal period or in a rush. You can also create simple microwave meals such as nachos, quesadillas, grilled cheese, baked potatoes, and more. This will require the use of a fridge for certain items. In addition to things you can cook in the microwave, some food in the freezer section of the grocery store may be another easy snack idea. Off-brand foods are often cheaper and are similar to name-brand. Buying in bulk, if possible, is another way to save money on food items.

Snack Tip #3: Easy Cooking. If you have the capability to cook there are some foods that are simple and cheap to make. Trejo also suggests trying, “overnight oats, smoothie bowls, and yogurt with fresh fruit.” Macaroni and cheese is a good example, as well as spaghetti. Eggs, scrambled, fried, or boiled are simple and can be made to taste. Grilled cheeses and quesadillas are easy to make and tend to taste better cooked in a pan compared to the microwave. Canned or pre-prepared meals that require minimum cooking are great for beginners in the kitchen. 

Whether you live on campus or off campus, food is expensive. Many college students have not had to buy their own groceries or plan meals for themselves. Hopefully, this article provides a guide and a starting point for those who don’t want to or can’t eat from the cafeteria every day.

If you are looking for more ideas for recipes, easy meal ideas, and cheap snacks, Pinterest is a great place to start.


Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash