I like to think over my four years of being a college student (four years?!? When did that happen?!) I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks on how to cook healthy, cheap, (and most importantly because I really am not a domestic goddess and cannot stand spending any longer in the kitchen cooking than necessary), quick meals. Below are my go-to staples for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
For me, there’s no going wrong with a lovely bowl of overnight oats. I discovered the wonders of overnight oats in first year, and three years on they’re still my staple meal in the morning. They’re incredibly easy to make, wonderfully cheap and great if you’re in a rush and don’t necessarily have the time to sit and pour yourself a soggy bowl of cereal.
I’m afraid I’m not the most adventurous cook, so I’ve stuck to the same, fool-proof recipe of a mashed banana, a cup of oats, dash of milk, sprinkle of cocoa powder and chia seeds all mixed, and then topped with sweet honey to negate the slightly bitterness of the cocoa powder. It results in this rich, sweet, chocolate dish, which to be honest tastes more like a desert than a breakfast! However, there’s so many different flavours and recipes out there, from tiramisu to pumpkin pie to strawberry and cream, the possibilities are limitless.
When I first tried the recipe out, peering down into the coffee cup I’d nabbed from my landlord, I was dubious. But after the first cautious mouthful, I was hooked. Overnight oats taste like dessert, yet not only are they wonderfully cheap (every ingredient can be bought for less than a euro each in most places), but they’re so filling and healthy too. Honestly, if you have any take aways from this article, please do your bank, your tummy and yourself a favour and try overnight oats.
Over lockdown, I became slightly obsessed with a tray bake recipe my flatmates used a lot. It involved peeling and chopping a variety of vegetables (carrots, potatoes and parsnips were among our favourites, but feel free to mix and match!), spreading them out over a tray and sprinkling with oil. Our oven is pretty banjacked, so we always cover the tray with tin foil to stop the vegetables from burning. If you live in a semi-decent home with working appliances, this stage isn’t necessary, but it helps to trap all the moisture and yummy taste in the vegetables, so I would recommend it anyway!
While that’s in the oven, just quickly cook some turkey burgers by covering them in a pan. Within twenty minutes, you’ll end up with a super healthy, quick and cheap meal that can last a few days. Admittedly, a bit heavy for summer heat waves, but it sure is a blessing during autumn and winter months.
Okay. I will admit. This is a very college-esque meal, but I’ve recently rediscovered the wonders of eggs. In first year, scrambled eggs would be my go-to meal. I’ve now moved up in the world to fried. When I’m in a bit of a rush and don’t feel like cooking a ton, I just whack some brown bread in the toaster, mash up an avocado as I’m waiting for oil to heat in the pan, and then fry two eggs. It really is such a handy little meal to be able to resort too. The brown bread has all that lovely fibre in; the avocado chock-a-block with nutrients and good fats (I really do swear my skin has gotten so much better since I started introducing an avocado semi-regularly into my life), and the eggs are buzzing with yummy protein. Fried eggs over a blanket of avocado, topping toasted brown bread really is the best. The meal is wonderfully quick to make (5 minutes cooking and five minutes clean up), it’s healthy and, despite tasting very boujie, it really is so cheap to make.