I’ve planned a week of healthy meals on a student budget — get my plan and tips

Welcome to Thrifty. A weekly column the place affiliate diet editor and registered dietitian Jessica Paul breaks down find out how to grocery store on a price range, put together wholesome meals for one or two, and make earth-friendly selections with out overhauling your whole life.

For these of you who do not know, the price range for graduate college students is not precisely beneficiant. Nevertheless it’s potential to cook dinner per week’s price of wholesome meals even on a modest price range (belief me, I have been in your footwear simply final yr). For instance, these prescriptions price $6.81 per day and $47.60 per week per particular person. Whether or not you are a pupil or on a good price range, take a look at my ideas for chopping meals prices with out sacrificing diet, style, or your whole free time.


Few issues are as beneficial as making a plan (see extra key classes I’ve discovered in 10 Issues I Want I might Identified Earlier than I Began Cooking at Dwelling). However, like most issues, that does not imply there is a one-size-fits-all plan. It may be so simple as writing down a grocery record of the pantry staples that you must restock your pantry or as detailed as planning your menu and writing down all of the substances to avoid wasting on your journeys later within the week. Each will prevent money and time purchasing. I fall into the extra elaborate camp (Kind A folks, unite!). Particularly on a restricted price range, I’ve discovered it useful to comply with some easy steps to maintain purchasing journeys and meals waste to a minimal. Listed here are some nuggets of gold that ought to stretch your greenback:

  • Plan a menu. Just like the plan conveniently situated under.
  • Listing of parts you want. I normally do that within the kitchen, so I do not by chance purchase issues once more. Wasted meals = wasted cash.
  • Verify what you could have first. And see what that you must use it for. This will help information your menu planning. When you’ve got zucchini to eat, make it one thing scrumptious and straightforward like this Straightforward Shrimp Casserole with Zucchini Noodles (prepared in quarter-hour, want I say extra).
  • Eat legumes as an alternative of meat. No, I am not making an attempt to brainwash you into turning into a vegetarian. However beans and lentils are filled with protein and vitamins, and value a fraction of the value of steak. It is a good selection on your pockets, your physique, and the planet.
  • Make from scratch when you’ll be able to. In some instances, this requires extra time. However making issues like vegetable inventory or salad dressing from scratch tastes higher and is cheaper.

Pupil price range purchasing record

You can also make the entire recipes under utilizing the substances on this purchasing record (aside from some staples like salt, pepper, and fundamental spices). I normally do one large weekly store to avoid wasting my travels all through the week, however be at liberty to interrupt it up to suit your schedule. The each day price totals included within the plan under had been calculated utilizing costs from nationwide grocery shops to calculate the price per meal (this may occasionally fluctuate barely relying on the place you store). Quantities may additionally fluctuate relying on how many individuals you’re feeding.

Ideas for meal prepping your week

shifting ahead: To simplify your life, there are some issues you are able to do upfront and luxuriate in all through the week. Make simple loaded omelettes and peanut butter protein oats for straightforward breakfasts on the go. These Chipotle-Lime Cauliflower Taco Bowls make 4 completely portioned lunches that may be ready upfront to simplify your week.

Snack time: You will discover there are not any snacks listed on this record. Nevertheless, I absolutely help snacking between meals whenever you really feel hungry. One meal planning methodology that helps you persist with your price range is to make use of leftover substances for snacks. For instance, if it’s a must to purchase a complete pot of yogurt, a loaf of bread, or a block of cheese for a recipe, use what you could have left over as snacks. The identical goes for fruit and veggies. If you wish to get inventive, you’ll be able to add an additional can of chickpeas and put together your personal hummus to dip into.

Use your greatest judgement: If a recipe has 6 servings however you solely need 2 servings, divide the quantity of substances by 3. Make substitutions when obligatory or when it is smart. For instance, you’ll be able to undoubtedly use dairy milk as an alternative of almond milk for oats or maple syrup as an alternative of honey. Once I make shakshuka, I solely make one serving as a result of I do know it will not save effectively. For different issues, like soups and stews, I will make all the recipe and freeze the leftovers for a wet day. Play with it and over time one can find what fits you. Be inventive and make this a information, not a title.

7-day meal plan on a pupil price range

Day 1: $9.13 per particular person

Breakfast – $0.91/meal

Lunch – $3.89 per meal

Dinner – $4.33/serving

Day 2: $9.98 per particular person

Breakfast – $1.51 per meal

Lunch – $2.70/serving

Dinner – $5.77 per meal

Day 3: $5.47 per particular person

Breakfast- $0.91/meal

Lunch – $2.70/meal

Dinner – $1.86/serving

Day 4: $6.47 per particular person

Breakfast – $1.51 per meal

Lunch – $2.70/serving

Dinner – $2.26/serving

Day 5: $4.76 per particular person

Breakfast – $0.91/meal

Lunch – $2.70/serving

Dinner – $1.15/serving

Day 6: $5.83 per particular person

Breakfast- $0.32/meal

Lunch – $1.59/serving

Dinner – $3.92 per meal

Day 7: $5.96 per particular person

Breakfast – $0.72/meal

Lunch – $2.92/serving

Dinner – $2.32 per meal


Being on a restricted price range doesn’t suggest wholesome and scrumptious meals is off limits. As a pupil, it may be particularly troublesome to extend your funds and plan efficiently for fulfillment. With the above ideas and galvanizing recipes, you will be in your solution to turning into a meal prep professional, all whereas saving cash on groceries and stopping meals waste.