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Quick, Cheap, and Easy Meals for College Students

By Edited Nov 8, 2016 0 0

Quick, Cheap, Easy Meals for College and University Students

You finally made it to the university.  Congratulations!  Soon you’ll be attending classes and you’ll be learning many new life skills to go along with the academics.  Many students who show up at the dorms for their first year of school are searching for ways to make quick, cheap, and easy meals.  After all, who wants to eat at the dinning-hall for every meal?   Below is a list of inexpensive, quick meals that can be prepared with minimal kitchen equipment and are, of course, delicious!


Quick meal for college and university students: ramen

It may be cliché, but college students do eat a lot of ramen.  This is definitely a quick and cheap meal.  It’ll cost anywhere from $0.10 for the inexpensive varieties to over $3.50 for the high-end stuff.   To prepare your ramen, all you will need is a microwave, bowl, and some water.  Follow the instructions on the package and you will soon be enjoying a hot, delicious, meal.  Ramen noodles can also be eaten without being cooked for a quick, on the go, snack.  Be careful though.  Because this meal is packaged through dehydration you will need to make sure to drink plenty of water if you do not cook it first.  Also, many ramen-type products contain a lot of sodium and few nutritional benefits.  They should not be relied on as your sole food source.


eggs are an inexpensive food for college and university students

Eggs are inexpensive and easy to prepare.  At about 10 to 15 cents each, this food fits easily into a college budget.  You will need a way to refrigerate eggs if you plan to be storing them for more than a few hours.  The can be cooked in microwave.  Simply remove the shell and drop your egg into a coffee mug with some cheese or meat.  Microwave to preference and you’ll have an instant omelet.  If your dorm or apartment has a stove, eggs can also be cooked on the range.


popcorn is an inexpensive food for college and university students

Popcorn is a favorite college snack.  A box of 4-8 packages typically costs only a couple of dollars and the preparation takes just a few minutes in the microwave.  Be sure to follow the popping instructions carefully, though.  You don’t want to be the person who sets off the fire alarm in the middle of the night just because you weren’t paying attention to your popcorn while it cooked.



pasta is an inexpensive food for college and university students

Pasta is right behind ramen noodles when it comes to an inexpensive price tag.    A package that will make 3-4 meals can be picked up for about $1 at nearly any grocery store.  You can also buy pre-made pasta sauce or make your own.  If you buy pre-made, a jar might be the best option because you can store leftovers in your fridge for later.  To cook, simply boil water, drop your noodles in and wait for them to soften.  Drain the water and add your sauce.  Voila! Dinner is served.



rice is an inexpensive food for college and university students

Rice is exceedingly cheap.  A 20 pound bag could last you all semester and probably run about $15.00 .  You’ll need to add something for flavor, however as plain rice gets old about ½ way through one bowl.  To cook this food you’ll need a way to boil water.  Microwaves will work, but a small pot on a stove is better.  The proper ratio of rice to water is about 2 parts water per 1 part rice.  Bring your water to a boil, add the rice, and cook for about 20 minutes.  Your rice is ready to eat.

Frozen Dinners:

microwave dinners are an inenexpensive food for college and university students

Not always the cheapest, but some can be purchased for less than $2.00.  You’ll need a microwave for most, although some require an oven.  Frozen dinners offer more freedom of choice than most other quickly prepared meals.  Be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging.

Instant Soups:

instant soups are an inexpensive food for college and university students

These meals can be placed in a category right next to ramen.  They are usually prepared in the microwave and come with their own cup or bowl so clean up is easy.  On the downside, they are usually a bit more expensive than ramen, but you have more choices and they are much healthier.  However, most instant soups can not be considered health food.  Again, watch for high sodium content.



sandwiches are an inexpensive food for college and university students

This meal can be as cheap or expensive as your budget will allow.  PB & J is inexpensive and quick.  Meats, cheeses, and veggies are more expensive but healthier.  A major benefit is that cooking is usually not required allowing you to prepare this meal at anytime, anywhere.  If you want to pack your lunch to class or a study session, you can pick up a couple of disposable food containers at your local grocery stores.

Fruits and Vegetables:


fruits and vegetables are an inexpensive food for college and university students

Somewhat more expensive, fruits and veggies make up for it in nutritional value and ease of preparation.    They’re great for grabbing on the way out the door to class and don’t usually need any special storage equipment.  If you want to dress them up a bit, add some cheese, dip, or peanut butter.

Cooking for College Students: A Beginner's Guide
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This is a must-have reference for all college and university students. It's 125 recipes are quick and easy to prepare and you will find something to fit all budgets.


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