There’s a myth that to cook healthily you’re going to need access to a limitless budget, a lot of time to spend in a kitchen stocked with fancy accessories, and a dollop of cooking prowess for good measure. So, how are you supposed to prepare hearty, healthy meals if you’re lacking in time and money, and count beans on toast as the extent of your culinary knowledge?

We’re about to let you in on a BIG secret. You see, you don’t have to be an expert in the kitchen to devise and create some fantastic, healthy meals. You needn’t be rich either, as there are so many amazing dishes that can be made on a budget, and in no time at all.

There are countless benefits associated with cooking for yourself, including opportunities to explore what you’re eating, controlling portion size and investing in a healthier relationship with food. Also, the ability to choose and prepare organic ingredients yourself. What’s more, many of these recipes take little time to prepare. There are no excuses when it comes to cooking and eating well. Yup, even students can stray away from the stereotype when it comes to eating well.

Soups and Salads

There are few better or more natural ways to ingest healthy ingredients than via a soup or salad. After all, countless salad recipes don’t require any cooking whatsoever. Salads can be adapted to feature your favourite ingredients, and to use up fruits, vegetables and condiments you might have in your fridge. Soups are similarly flexible and can be customised to include your favourite ingredients and things that need using up.

Stir-fries and noodles

The stir-fry is another quick and easy, but ultimately healthy recipe. Again adaptable, stir-fries can include all manner of ingredients, including crunchy vegetables, beansprouts, meat or fish, blended with sauces of varying heat and flavour. There’s a stir-fry for every occasion! A sweet and spicy Teriyaki tuna stir-fry will take just ten minutes to prepare but will provide a suitably filling, and nourishing dish regardless of your cooking skill. Adding noodles to soups, broths or stir-fried vegetables will guarantee a hearty dinner that’s filling, healthy and easily achieved.


The curry is a student staple, but it needn’t be ordered online. There are numerous healthy curry recipes out there, depending on how hot you want to go. Meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans alike are likely to find ingredients that work for them, with recipes that take minutes to prepare. From kormas, biryanis and masalas, to the jalfrezi, madras or vindaloo, the perfect curry is within reach – and you needn’t have been to culinary school to discover it.

Pasta dishes

Pasta is another student staple, favoured by those with little time or cookery inclination. Lasagne, Bolognese and pasta bakes provide healthy, filling dishes, and can be as complicated or straightforward as you’d like to make them. Plus, there are so many chances for you to add hidden, healthy vegetables to your meals.

Rice and risotto

Did you know that the perfect risotto could take as little as 30 minutes to prepare and cook? These tasty rice dishes may appear long and complicated, but for every gourmet list of ingredients, there’s a quick, simple risotto to satisfy your palette. Once you’ve mastered the basics, there will always be the opportunity to try something more complicated, but for now a mushroom, chicken, or baked risotto will do the trick. Rice has the bonus of bulking up simple menus and can be frozen for dishes you want to eat at a later date.

Top Tip

If you’d like to eat more healthily on a budget, and with limited time available, be sure to batch cook. Whatever you’re preparing do so in abundance, so you have plenty to pop in the fridge or freezer for another day. Batch cooking saves time and money and makes sure you can eat healthily on your busiest days. Always reheat your meals thoroughly!

With a little creativity and a desire to explore new, fresh ingredients, there’s no reason why we can’t all prepare easy, healthy meals on a budget. Regardless of culinary expertise, there’s a chef waiting to break out of every one of us – yes, even you! There are more complicated recipes out there, of course, when you’re feeling a little more adventurous. However, there are still more dishes that require very little prior preparation or arduous hours spent in a kitchen.