For the love of food! Student-budget-friendly recipes

November 21, 2014  |   Found in Editorial // Student Life

For the love of food! As a student who spends most of my time on the university campus, I deal with having to bring (read: buy) my breakfast, lunch or dinners to campus. We basically all have a love for food; watching the Food Network and pretending we are all Ricardo with a beautiful French accent and talent for cooking, obsessing over food trucks and have you been on Instagram lately, it’s always delicious food we all want to eat.

To live a healthy and happy lifestyle that doesn’t break the bank I have found delicious, easy and definitely reasonably priced meals for us all to enjoy! It’s easy for a lot of students to gain the Freshmen 15, but try your best not to- by using these healthy (…okay semi-healthy) meals that are quick and easy but more importantly pretty good for you!

Breakfast is hella important and can be super delicious. I use to be a person that valued an extra 15 minutes of sleep over eating something for breakfast. After realizing how lethargic and unproductive I had become because I didn’t have an energizing breakfast, I basically went for food that I loved and made it into breakfast!

Here are a couple recipes that I actually use and are pretty tasty Hope you enjoy them – and as every other recipe ever created – switch up the recipes to what you like!

Breakfast recipes:

Nutella Banana Bread

This recipe is one of my favourites, extremely easy and delicious. My friend gets all the credit of showing me the true deliciousness of nutella and banana together.


2 Slices of Bread (Doesn’t matter what kind but Rye, White, Brown or Whole Wheat are best)


1 Banana

Place your slices of bread in the toaster, when it’s done spread a desired about of Nutella on the warm bread. Slice up a banana and place it on top of the Nutella, covering the surface of the bread. Enjoy!

Price: When you measure the price of a spoon of Nutella with the other ingredients…I think this will come up to about $1.50 max. That’s pretty cheap.


Fruit-Covered French Toast

I’m not much of a fan of eggs, except when it’s in a quiche or French toast (if cooked properly). You could easily make an omelette with all the veggies, cheese and meats of your choice! BUT, I’m going to go the other route and do something fancy (personally, I’d do this on a weekend but if you’re a morning person – go for it!)

2 Eggs

2 Slices of Whole Wheat Bread

½ cup Milk

¼ teaspoon Cinnamon

Any berry of your choice (I prefer strawberries and blackberries, but raspberries and blueberries are perfect too!)

Mix the eggs and milk in a bowl; coat both sides of the bread in the mixture.

Pan fry or Microwave for 1 minute, flip and do the same thing for another minute. Sprinkle the Cinnamon, berries and maple syrup or confectioners’ sugar! Enjoy this meal with a glass of your favourite juice or tea!

Price: Most of these ingredients you will already have in your pantry….so I’m going to say this meal is basically free.

Lunch recipes:

Ramen Noodles

This is definitely an overdone lunch item but we can’t deny how filling it is and the price is always right when it’s Ramen, Ichiban or Maggie noodles – whatever you call them! Add anything you want to make it even better than boring plain noodles!

1 pack Instant noodles

Frozen veggie mix – broccoli, peas, corn, carrots – whatever you like!

Cooked shrimp or chicken

Hot Sauce

Cook the noodles according to the package, heat up the veggies in the microwave until they are defrosted. Add the veggies and meat (if using) to the noodles when the noodles are almost ready. Add the seasoning pack and however much hot sauce you’d like! Ramen will never be the same again!

Price: A pack of Ramen is .50 cents everything together – this meal will probably cost you $3-$4!


Linguine Salad

This pasta can be changed up however you like. It’s pretty easy and tastes pretty good too! This salad is actually called a Linguine Tuna Salad, but since I’m not the biggest fan of tuna I resort to using chicken or shrimp as a substitute.

1 pack Linguine (cooked and drained)

½ cup lemon juice

½ cup vegetable oil

½ cup sliced green onions

2 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. Italian Seasoning

1 tsp. Salt

Hot Sauce aka Sriracha or nothing

1 can Tuna or cooked chicken/shrimp

¼ cup frozen peas – thawed

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

In a bowl, mix lemon juice, oil, onions and seasonings. Add the hot pasta to it and toss. Add the rest of the ingredients. Put in the fridge for an hour or so and enjoy!

Price: This is kind of a pricey one with fancy ingredients like seasoning. I’d quote this recipe as being close to $7-$10 because it makes a lot of pasta.

Dinner recipes

Hungry Students Dinner

This dinner recipe is filling and hearty!

1 cup rice

2 cups water, chicken broth, or water and Better than Bouillon

1 can crushed tomatoes

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can corn, drained

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 tsp. chilli powder

1 tsp. minced garlic or a garlic clove, minced

Salt & Pepper to taste…or more Sriracha.

Put the water/broth in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the rice, spices, tomatoes. Bring to a boil and turn down the heat to just bubbling – let it cook until moist of the liquid is absorbed. (Takes different times depending on the rice; anywhere from 20-40 mins)

Add the veggies and let them heat through the rice. Add a little bit of salt and pepper and a lot of Sriracha and eat your heart out!

Price: You can easily make this in bulk and save some food for the rest of the weeks lunches or dinners! Since you can make this in bulk I’d say this is $15 but it’ll provide you for food for at least 2 days.


Fridge Contents Quesadillas

This super easy and filling lunch can be made in a variety of ways! With fresh ingredients and a really short prep time – this is usually one of my go to’s for lunch. I make it the night before or in the morning and put it in the microwave to reheat for lunch the next day.

1 Tortilla (Any flavour)

¼ cup Cheese – Cheddar and Mozzarella or a TexMex mix. Anything will do

Any vegetables: Peppers, Mushrooms, Olives, Spinach leaves

Any type of meat if you want it – Chicken, Beef, even shrimp works!

Put all ingredients on one half of the Tortilla, fold the tortilla on top and fry in a pan. Flip over when the bottom side has lightly browned. Cut into 4 wedges and have sour cream or salsa to dip!

Price: Throw the contents of your fridge into these quesadillas to mix them up and you’ll have a hit every time. With that being said the cost of left over veggies, cheese and meats will probably cost you around $5.


I hope this has given you more of an idea of what to make during your busy week studying and writing papers last minute! Enjoy the rest of the semester and remember to be smart and healthy with your eating habits!



Zainab is a fifth year International Relations student at the University of Calgary. Follow her at @realslimzainny on Twitter or zainnyy_ on Instagram.