Freshers Festival

Student Food Guide

Content Last Updated on March 3, 2020

Why should you cook?

At university things can be extremely busy. With all the lectures, assignments, nights-out, friend-dramas, and daytime napping, it may be difficult to find time to cook. Cooking home-cooked meals may be pushed to the back of your mind, whilst the pull of take-aways, Tesco pizzas, and pot noodles becomes ever-stronger. Whilst we are not against any of these things, it is important to find a healthy balance between eating out, eating microwave/frozen food, and cooking.

Cooking is a great way to keep your mind and body healthy, your wallet in check, and can also be fantastic for interacting with your friends. Cooking is a social experience, and with so many busy things going on at university, it may be one of the main times you get to talk to your flat mates!

Cooking Equipment for University

Make sure you have all the cooking equipment you need to make a range of meals BEFORE going to university. This will encourage you to cook more, be healthier, and save money!

Some universities do offer a basic pack of cooking utensils when you move into halls, so if you want to make the university shopping trip easier you can opt to buy this package. However, not all universities to this, and some don’t even have everything you require!

Here is our list of student cooking equipment you need for university:

  • Cutlery (4 pack)
  • Sharp knives
  • Scissors
  • 2 cereal bowls (small bowl)
  • 2 pasta bowls (wide bowl)
  • 2 plates
  • Frying pan
  • Saucepan
  • Baking tray
  • Chopping board
  • Wooden spoon for mixing
  • Cheese grater
  • Water glasses
  • Wine glasses (if you’re feeling fancy)
  • Tupperware boxes

Our friends at IKEA have a great range of cooking equipment, and we made a list of their best products here.

Where to buy cheap student food

Here is a list of our favourite ways to get cheap food:

  • Most supermarkets have a ‘discount’ range, such as Sainsbury’s ‘Basics’, where they offer staple products such as beans, eggs, and bread for a cheaper price.
  • Of course, the best value supermarkets in the UK are Lidl and Aldi, so if you happen to live near one of these you will be guaranteed excellent value products. Aldi and Lidl often don’t have the major brands you might expect from a supermarket, but their copycat items are still good quality.
  • Co-op have a solid 10% student discount to anyone with an official student card. This may not seem a lot, but over the course of the year it can add up to hundreds of pounds.
  • For alcohol, supermarkets such as ASDA and LIDL have some fantastic products at great prices. Don’t forget about Amazon Prime either, which often sells higher-end alcohol for much cheaper than any UK supermarket.
  • Don’t turn up your nose at a meal deal either – Boots, Tesco, and Sainsbury’s do the cheapest deal at £3 or less for a drink, sandwich, and side. If you are looking for a cheaper lunch option whilst on the go, this is a good bet.
  • If your university has a café, bar, or dining hall, make sure to check out their prices. These are often subsidised by the university, so you can sometimes get food for cheaper than any external supermarket.
  • Finally, if you want a drink in a bar, your student union bar is almost certainly your best bet. Drinks here are much cheaper than public bars, particularly if you live in an expensive city such as London!

Student Recipes:

So you’ve got your cooking equipment and bought your food, now what? It’s time to cook of course! Here are a couple of quick and easy recipes for you to make whilst at uni. If you want more recipes, check out our full student recipe blog here.

Jacket potato with beans / tuna

This is such an easy meal to cook. Simply prick holes in your potato, stick it in the microwave for 1 minute to speed up the cooking process, and then heat it in the oven for 30 minutes till it is nice and crispy. The rest is pretty self-explanatory; either heat your beans up in the microwave or mix some tuna and mayonnaise together. Once your potato is cooked through, and your toppings have been heated or mixed, simply cut open your potato and fill with your topping.

You will need: Baking potato and your choice of filling.

Mushroom and onion risotto

This is a delicious vegetarian meal, and you can always add chicken or bacon to make it meatier if you like. Risotto may sound a little tricky to make, but in reality it’s very simple. Firstly, slowly cook up some crushed garlic, mushrooms and onions. Once the vegetables are cooked through, all you need to do is add half a cup of risotto rice and stir it all together. Now you need to slowly add in boiling water (mixed with a vegetable stock cube) until the rice has cooked through. We recommend adding some fresh spinach once the dish is fully cooked through. The spinach will wilt and cook due to the still-hot rice. Then just add some parmesan and pepper and your risotto is ready to serve!

You will need: Vegetable stock cube, salt and pepper, mushrooms, onions, garlic, spinach, risotto rice

If you want some easier student recipes, check out best fresher student recipes here.



Whilst we don’t recommend restaurants every day of the week, we certainly encourage you to go to them occasionally for a special occasion or a nice evening out with your friends.

Student discounts are crucial for getting an affordable restaurant meal, with many places offering large discounts for students. Here are some of our favourite restaurant deals

  • Pizza Express – 30% off
  • Chiquito – 25% off
  • Barburrito – 25% off
  • Las Iguanas – 40% food, 25% drinks
  • Gourmet Burger Kitchen – 25% off

Want more deals? Here is our full list of the best restaurants for students.

Food Spots

If the restaurant you’re going to doesn’t have any student deals, at least make sure it’s a trip to remember. If you live in London, there are so many cool places. You can eat on a bus, floating in the sky, or in a rainforest! Here are 6 of the coolest restaurants in London.

If you’re a Glasgow student who enjoys sweet treats, check out our sweet Glasgow guide here.



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