The Essential Ingredients to Take Back to Uni

Can you believe it’s only one month until the academic year gets back into full swing? Whether you can’t wait to buy fresh stationary or are dreading returning to your books, there’s no denying that this summer has absolutely flown by!

The traditional student diet of beer, crisps, oven pizza and chips (on the way home from a night out) isn’t one to envy. Whether it’s the traditional first year weight gain or stressed out skin, eating like a student can have some less-than-desirable effects on how you look and feel.

Although student living is a brilliant chance to let loose, it’s also a time for achieving your academic best. But with all those fatty carbohydrates and sugars saturating your system, your brain probably won’t be at full throttle.

So what’s the solution? Although you shouldn’t ban yourself from all student indulgences, it’s much easier (and cheaper) than you might expect to eat stuff which will power up your body and your brain. A few smart, store-cupboard ingredients can form the foundation of your brand new, improved student diet. Here are three recipes you can whip up using just a handful of affordable store cupboard basics.

Cannellini Bean Stew

Cannellini bean stew perfect for students, URBAN eat

Billed as “the world’s quickest stew” (trust us, we’ve tried!), this speedy recipe packs plenty of flavour with minimal fuss. A tin of beans, a tin of tomatoes, a jar of sun dried tomatoes, tahini paste and garlic are the only essentials you’ll need to throw this strew together.

Tahini is an awesome ingredient to have to hand. This Middle-Eastern sesame paste can be used in a huge variety of recipes to whip up something tasty, without buying loads of costly ingredients. You can buy a jar in supermarkets and corner shops for around £3, and it will last you ages (a little tahini goes a long way). Use it to rustle up homemade hummus, rich tasty stews, creative salads and much more.

Sun dried tomatoes are another handy ingredient which can be chucked into most dishes (from stews and spaghetti to sandwiches) to jazz things up with zero hassle.

Thai Red Chicken Soup

Thai red chicken soup with few ingredients, URBAN eat


Your coursemates will queue around the block for a bowl of this hearty, yummy soup. Over the cold winter, this tangy recipe will keep you feeling warm and full.

A whole chicken is a great ingredient for students to cook with. Drumsticks, thighs and breasts are prepared and packaged separately which adds to the cost, but if you can work with a whole chicken, you’ll get more for your money (don’t forget to buy free range, if you can!). You can even save leftovers to make your purchase go further. Boil down the carcass in hot water for a few hours to make your own stock and stick extra meat into sandwiches, a curry or a risotto!

Thai curry paste is another useful item to have in your kitchen. It’s perfect for adding a quick dash of flavour without buying 12 different herbs and spices.

 

Refried bean & cheese quesadillas

Refried beans and cheese quesadillas, URBAN eat


Quesadillas are true crowd-pleasers which you can add as little or as much to as you’d like. To make this recipe even more exciting, throw together a quick guacamole, add salsa, find some sour cream or innovate by adding chicken or beef chilli to the filling. Dream big!

Tortilla wraps are a really versatile ingredient you can use all week to make different meals. Throw salad-y bits inside for a speedy lunch, add last week’s chilli and bake them to create burritos or cut them up and fry them when they get a bit stale to create faux-nachos for dipping.

 

What’s your ultimate student meal? What’s the least you’ve been able to spend on food for the week?  Share your recipes and budget food ideas below.