Cheap Healthy Meals For Students In Apartments
Creating cheap healthy meals sounds impossible because we’ve been conditioned to believe that convenience foods are inexpensive and easier to make. Not true in most cases it costs more and tastes can’t be compared to homemade by a long shot. For this reason I wanted to put together the Ultimate Frugal Student Recipe Book for kids who are off to College or University and need some guidance in the recipe department.
While at a backyard BBQ party our friend Judy (not her real name) has a 19-year-old daughter off to Western University in a couple of weeks. Instead of moving into residence she opted to share an apartment with two of her friends to keep costs lower for the school year. This means she won’t be part of the University meal plan and it will be her job to prepare recipes on a budget of $50 a week.
Although her budget may seem high for some people fifty dollars is reasonable enough for anyone to whip up cheap healthy meals without being deprived. That means she won’t have to live on Ramen noodles, toast and canned beans for the semester.
She’s always lived at home and her mother and father are quite happy preparing cheap healthy meals to make sure the family eats well. Her parents have saved for her education so the only money she needs to come up with is her food budget and weekly personal allowance. For this purpose she has given herself a fifty dollar budget as I mentioned and another forty for personal use.
To earn her spending and grocery money she will continue to work one shift at the mall on the weekend or during the evening as it is in walking distance to the mall from her apartment. Her mother has always cooked homemade meals to feed their family of 7 which includes 5 children which means she’s been introduced to the kitchen many times. As the oldest child she would be the one chopping vegetables and getting the dinner table ready while the younger children played in the next room.
Although she says that it was boring at first as she got older she enjoyed learning how to follow a recipe. The hardest part was hoping that everyone would like the meals she made when it was her night to cook. Once a week it was her role to create a frugal meal and prepare it for the family.
What was interesting was that she kept what she calls a student recipe book which looks like a diary book and wrote down all of her recipe creations. The reasoning for this was that she knew that when she went away to University that she didn’t want to live in residence which meant she needed to learn how to cook proper meals. Instead of fumbling her way through the grocery store and eating crappy meals she was ahead of student life in the kitchen with this recipe book.
I thought it would be a smart idea to introduce a student recipe book on CBB to give students off to school a bit of motivation to create their own choose some of the recipes I’m going to share with readers today. With only a few weeks before school starts if you’re a student who is reading this blog post and would like a student recipe book that documents family recipes or your favourite creations now is the time to make it.
What is great about creating a student recipe book is that you can also create a grocery list for each recipe. This way you already know what you need to buy to make the meal. You may find that one week not all the ingredients you will need are on sale BUT if you have the pre-made grocery lists and a meal plan created you will already know in advance what you need so you can stock up.
Student life doesn’t mean you have to eat out with your friends or order fast food because it’s convenient when you’re trying to study. With a bit of prep work and time management you can create freezer meals or even crockpot meals so you’re not fumbling around in the kitchen every day. I survived eating the same meal a couple of times a week when I was in University and I’m sure you will too.
The name of the game is frugal, fast and filling.
Student Recipe Book Cooking Utensils
This is a list of basic kitchen tools that you should consider finding second-hand by going to thrift shops or even garage sales before school starts. Most often homeowner practically give this stuff away because they have doubles or are downsizing.
Once you have your student recipe book put together with your favourite meals you’ll have more of an idea what tools you will need. The best part is that if you take care of your cooking utensils they should last you the duration of your studies and then you can sell them for cheap and recoup some of the cash. Even if you don’t and decide to donate or bin them you would have saved yourself more than you would have eating out.
- Small Pot
- Medium Pot
- Large Pot
- Cheese Grater
- Large Frying Pan
- Small Frying Pan
- Hand mixer
- Mixing bowls large and medium
- Utensils- spatula, knife set, forks, spoons, soup ladle, potato masher
- Measuring cups
- Kitchen tea towels
- Oven Mitts
- Dishes, cereal bowl, soup bowl,
- Coffee mug and a few glasses for other drinks
- Coffee Pot
- Travel mug for hot beverages
- Travel bottle for water and other beverages
- Tea kettle
- Waffle machine
- Toaster or toaster oven
- Milk pitcher
- Juice Pitcher
- Ice-cube trays
Student Recipe Book Storage
- Aluminum Foil
- Parchment Paper
- Cling wrap
- brown paper bags
- Freezer Bags
- Containers for storage ex: Glass or plastic
Related: The best containers to purchase
Student Recipe Book Pantry Basics
This is where you want to look at your student recipe book and start stocking up on the ingredients you will need to make your recipes. Follow sales and always read the flyers or add Flipp to your smartphone which is a fabulous app for finding the best deals at shops around town.
Related: Must have student pantry staples
- Basic Spices- Oregano, Basil, Onion Powder, Cumin, Rosemary, Garlic Powder, Paprika, Cinnamon, Salt, Pepper, Dry Mustard and any other spices fit for your student recipe book.
- Basic baking products- Flour, yeast, baking powder, baking soda, corn starch, cocoa powder, extracts or any products that fit your food lifestyle.
- Coffee, tea, coffee whitener
- Sugars- Honey, Sugar, Sweetener, Maple Syrup, Jam whatever applies to you.
- Extra virgin Olive oil, sesame oil, peanut oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, butter etc.
- Peanut Butter, Nut Butters, Cereals, Oatmeal
- Canned or frozen vegetables and fruits out of season that you find on sale.
- Canned salmon or tuna
- Olives, pickles etc.
- Dry beans, canned beans etc.
- Canned tomatoes, tomato paste
- Condiments- Ketchup, Mustard, Relish, Mayo etc.
- Think basics- Pasta, rice, potatoes, quinoa etc but ideally once you have your recipe book you will know what you will have to stock up on.
- Almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, cashew milk, condensed milk, milk powder etc.
Fruits and vegetables are easy to stock up on depending on your meal plan for the week and preferences. You should always make sure to have enough fresh produce around so you’re not eating unhealthy snacks in between studying and class-time.
Costco has a great stash of nuts and dry fruits which are reasonably priced and can be stored in your pantry or refrigerator. They have everything from almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, hemp hearts, dry fruits galore including raisins, figs, cranberries, blueberries, cherries etc. You can create a homemade granola mix or nut and fruit snack to carry with you on the run. Perfect.
If there is no Costco where you are going to school you can find one close to home or source out other frugal options in the area. The Bulk Barn often has great sales that you can pair up with their spend $10 save $3 coupon, weekly student savings with student ID and other specials.
Most health food stores have loyalty programs as well if you need any specialty foods for your diet such as protein powder, MCT oil etc. Take every opportunity you can to stock up and save when you can so your student recipe book has everything you need in stock. Popeye’s Nutrition for example has a program you can collect Popeye bucks and use them towards future purchases.
This might seem overwhelming or like you’re in need of stocking lots of products but consider the savings you will have if you were to eat out every day. HUGE savings and it doesn’t take much to prep meals in advance or as you go without having to waste time sourcing pre-made convenience food away from home.
When it comes to protein this is up to you as they vary in price but if you’re smart you’ll figure out when prices get reduced or always be on the look out for last-minute deals. Most grocery stores will mark down their meats and fish by 9pm each evening or throughout the night if the store is open 24 hours. Either go later at night or early in the morning for the best grocery deals.
Stock up on what your Student Recipe Book will need to prepare meals.
- Fish of any description
- Beef mince
- Pork mince
- Lamb mince
- Chicken mince
- Turkey mince
- Breakfast sausages
- Chicken breast, wings, thighs, drumsticks, quarters or whole
- Turkey breast
- Beef roasts
- Pork roasts
The choices are endless but always look for date codes and reduced for fast sale meats and fish to help balance your food budget. When you can save in one area you can ramp up another but still stay on track.
Did you notice that I have pepperoni on the list? That’s for those meat lover pizza fans out there. Forget buying pizza make it at home loaded with vegetable if you’re vegetarian or anything your heart desires. Take the leftovers for lunch the next day to school.
Student Recipe Book Dairy Products
Whether you enjoy dairy or dairy free products it’s important to ensure you are getting all the right vitamins and minerals in your daily diet. I remember my student days and when I was studying for hours on end having healthy food in the house helped keep me motivated. Stopping to cook dinner was a wonderful distraction. My mindset was to graduate and find a career I could be successful in.
I’m a big milk drinker so milk was always on my grocery list. Here are a few other dairy staples that you might consider based on your needs and student recipe book ingredient lists.
- Cottage Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Ice-cream or if you’re adventurous make your own with whipping cream, fruits, flavours and elbow grease.
- Cream Cheese
- Non-dairy products
- Nut Milks etc.
- Hard cheeses- mozzarella, cheddar, Parmigiano etc.
Student Recipe Book Fruits and vegetables
Always try to eat fresh produce and fruits that are in season or risk paying a bit more money. This is where saving in one area will help another on your shopping list.
For example broccoli might be $0.99 during the summer months but $3.99 over the winter. If you find frozen broccoli on sale stock up on a bag or two so you have in the freezer. You can whip up a crock-pot of cream of broccoli soup for dinner or lunches for the week.
Fruits and Veggie Basics
- Berries in season or frozen
There are no Must-have food list on the web because we all have different food preferences. Smoothies and protein shakes are a huge hit for breakfast so your blender will come in handy with plenty of ice.
These lists should be used only as a guide to give you an idea of what you should be thinking about. It is not inclusive nor discriminatory.
The Ultimate Student Recipe Book
I wanted to put together what I consider some of my favourite meals to prepare when I was in University. I’m not going to list 100 recipes below for students because that’s not why I’m here. It’s your job to find recipes or create recipes that fit your lifestyle. Your mom, aunt, uncle, dad, grandma, grandpa, siblings or any other relatives might have some fascinating recipes to pass on or techniques you want to learn. Ask them.
I cooked at home every, single day. Eating out was NOT in my budget and although I may have gone down to the pub for a pint every now and again food was always at home. Saving money and time is the name of the game when you’re a student unless that’s not part of your goal regime. It’s up to you but balance is key because what you over-indulge in now will have to be paid back in the future.
I don’t expect you to make what I’ve made but again this student recipe book is a guide so you can create your own. Being prepared is half the battle when it comes to frugal living but what I’ve learned is that my frugal University days spilled over to everyday life. There’s no need to stop managing your money when you graduate because from this point forward your life is going to change.
If you have a well stocked pantry and the basics in your refrigerator you can create some delicious healthy snacks.
Think avocado toast, peanut butter and banana, yogurt parfait etc.
Just a few examples…
- Healthy Muffins
- Granola bars
- Avocado Chocolate Pudding
- Trail mix
- Rice Cakes
- Nacho Chips
- Chocolate Dipped Bananas
- Deep-fried Dill Pickle Chips
Let’s get to some recipe ideas for your student recipe book. I will list 2 recipes for each breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Keep in mind if you double up recipes you can freeze meals for later provided you have freezer space or to have enough for more than one or two meals.
The more you cook the less you will have to cook, if that makes sense.
Your time starts NOW
Remember that what you put in your body you get out of your body and the same effort applies to your student budget. Don’t put off today what you think you will do tomorrow as that day may never come. Trust me when I say, you won’t regret it. Debt free at 40 feels good and I owe that in part to my frugal years as a student.
Discussion Question: What would be in your recipe book that I didn’t mention on my lists that you would like students reading this post to know about. Any other tips please comments below.
August Grocery Game Challenge
Join in the 2017 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) fun and post your grocery shop in the comment section of each GGC blog post. Here are The Grocery Game Challenge rules to get you started and where you’ll also find a link for the 2017 GGC schedule. Please feel free to download, save and even print the schedule.
Post your shop and you can be next.
New monthly prize: See the Grocery Game Rules
- Ditch these 6 Genius Grocery Shopping Distractions GGC #1
- How to pick Food Storage Containers The Right Way GGC #2
Free Money Saving Tools 2017
Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!
This is the budget that brought us to debt freedom back in 2013 and now I’m offering to all of you for FREE. We still use this budget every month as it helps us to see our overall financial picture.
Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists that were created to get us on track to work towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.
Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE.
CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet. So many free resources at your fingertips.
Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide 2017
The Ultimate Grocery Shopping guide is ongoing with new informative money-saving posts added every month.
Even if you don’t live in Canada there are some amazing budget saving tips that will help put you on the path to more savings at the supermarket.
Share this guide with your friends and tell them about Canadian Budget Binder especially if they are struggling with their grocery budget.
The time is NOW to get started saving money on groceries so please enjoy the many money-saving posts in the The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.
2017 Grocery Shop Results
Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2017: $3180 or $265/month (The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)
- Total Grocery Budget for this Month: $265
- Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $265
- Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
- Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
- Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
- PC Points Plus Earned to date: 632,000
- Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
- Shoppers Optimum: 983,000 O.M.G
Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
- Zweet to cash out : $18.25… no idea where the money went but it seems we have $0.
- Checkout51 to cash out : $24.50 we cashed out so we’re back at O.
Our Grocery Shop This Week
- Pecans $19.99
- Avocado oil $11.49
- Romaine lettuce $5.79 4 pack
- Eggs extra-large 2 pack $4.99
- Strawberries $4.79 1kg
- Lactancia 10%Cream $2.09 x 3
Total Out-of-pocket $53.32- $25 stockpile
All totals below already have tax factored into them.
- Total to spend this month : $265
- Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00/month
- Stockpile budget used this month: $25
- Total coupons used this week: $0
- Total coupons used to date: $1
- Total in-store discounts this week: $0
- Total in-store discounts to date: $642.20
- Total spent this week: $28.32
- Total spent so far this month: $212.42
- Total over/Under spend this shop:
- Total over/Under spend for the month: under $160.31
- Total left to spend for the month: $24.26
- Total Spent To Date 2017: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $231.06+Feb $255.16+March ($5 budget increase) $263.60 + April $273.83+ May $257.15 + June $65.43+July $226.84+August $
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
I’m away for training for a few days and then we are off to see the in-laws for another few days so we won’t need much grocery shopping the next couple of weeks which is good because we’re almost out of money.
Coupons and Coupon Apps
Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons! These are your latest Checkout 51 offers which you can use to help save money. We’re finding less and less coupons in the stores these days. What are your thoughts? Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons?
If you notice I’m missing a valuable link please message me and I’ll get it added to the savings list below.
Sign up for the Nielsen Canada Home Scan Program and you can earn rewards points fast to redeem for awesome products or gift cards. I did this in the UK and loved it!!
Plus check out these other hidden areas online to get more coupons!!
If any of the links below don’t open properly please report them to my email address or use comment form.
- Healthy Essentials Printable Coupons (Johnson and Johnson)
- Danone Coupons Get up to $25 in coupons
- Clorox Coupons Sign up to print coupons in the Clorox family which include Greenworks, Glad etc.
- Kraft Canada Sign up and receive recipes and coupons by email
- MySavings.com Printable Smart Source Coupons
- Walmart Canada Printable Coupons
- Proctor and Gamble PandG Sign up for printable coupons
- Hidden Coupon Portals You Should know about – I found this over at Save a Loonie and you’ll want to sign up for notifications and check out the site so you get notified every time a hidden coupon is available from Save.ca, Brandsaver, Smart Source etc.
Grocery Game Challenge 2017 FAQ’s
- Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible. The rules have been updated to reflect changes for the 2017 challenge year.
- Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
- What is the monthly prize and who can claim it?- The monthly prize is a $10-$20-$50 PC Loblaws Gift Card and for our out of country friends it’s $CDN via PayPal. Please see GGC rules.
- When does the Grocery Game close each month?: The Grocery Game Challenge closes at midnight of the last Sunday of the last post for the month but you will still get a ballot when you post your shops even if they are late but I encourage you to stay on schedule. If you choose to post monthly or bi-weekly you will only get 1 ballot for that shop. It’s a proven fact the minute we stop doing something scheduled that we end up forgetting to do it altogether. Don’t let that be you! You can post your shops all month-long.
- Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: No, our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014-2015 we no longer include such items in our grocery budget so we can see actual food numbers at the end of the year in order to plan accordingly our budget.
- Do you stockpile food? We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any longer as we found we weren’t eating it fast enough. Stockpiling is still great and just one way to help cut your budget to save money if you do find items that you can buy in bulk at a sale price.
- Canadian Coupons:Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
- Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading with mobile coupon apps being the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site Save.ca that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile Save.ca app joining forces with the many other coupon apps available. If you find an app that I don’t talk about please let me know as they are always being added and I’d like to review them.
- What is the Best Flyer App- We use Flipp on our Iphone so if you wan to have all your flyers in one spot download Flipp from the Apple Store or get it on Google Play.
- What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.
- What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
- How Do I Know what stores accept coupons?: If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
- How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.
Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this part of our budget like many people do. This is why The Grocery Game Challenge is one of the most popular hang out spots for people who want to save money on groceries.
If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2017 get ready to look at your grocery budget by learning;
- Where you are spending money
- How much money you are spending
- How much money you are saving every month
If you want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide! It’s FREE!
If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email. If I use your topic I will put your name in a draw for a prize at the end of the year.
You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!
Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2017!
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