We’ve chosen our seven-day student suppers because they’re nutritious, balanced and cater to a range of dietary requirements. They’re budget meals, too, so they don’t require expensive ingredients, lots of equipment or previous cooking experience. The seven-day meal plan also aims to keep the selection of ingredients low so you can buy in bulk to keep costs down. And the best part is, all the suppers involve minimal prep and result in as little washing-up as possible.
Recipes that serve four or more can be scaled back to account for smaller servings, or you can freeze extra portions for another time. Alternatively, team up with a couple of housemates and share the cooking and the cost – making a meal together is a great way to break the ice, too.
Check out our easy week-long meal plan of healthy student suppers below, then find more inspiration for student recipes and healthy student meals. Also make sure you are kitted out with all the right equipment by reading our review of the best student kitchen essentials.
Sending someone off to uni? Put together a customised My BBC Good Food cookbook filled with all the essential student recipes they'll need. It's sure to be a lifesaver for first-time cooks or budding chefs.
Make Monday evenings a breeze with this quick and easy fridge-raid fried rice. This speedy chicken stir-fry is on the table in just 30 minutes and can easily be adjusted to serve one or two. We recommend using brown rice because it has a low to medium GI (glycaemic index) – in other words, it releases its energy at a slower, steadier pace to keep you fuller for longer. Packed with veggies such as green beans, carrots, peppers and broccoli, this simple supper is a good top-up of your five-a-day and can also be supplemented with any leftovers.
Looking for a meat-free option? Our vegan jambalaya is a simple rice and bean one-pot which makes the most of storecupboard ingredients. What’s more, it scores all five of your five-a-day, and is a great source of iron, vitamin C and fibre. We've also got plenty more vegan student recipes to inspire you.
Buying frozen fish, seafood and veggies keeps costs down and means you always have something to fall back on. This healthy seafood spaghetti is ready in just half an hour and bursting with nutrients. Seafood like prawns, squid and mussels are a good source of low-fat protein as well as being rich in vitamins and minerals like iron. Including fennel not only adds a delicious crunch, but because it’s a great source of vitamin C, it enhances your absorption of the energising iron from seafood.
Canned vegetables are a great budget option and an ideal standby, plus they count towards your five-a-day. Our double bean chilli combines kidney beans, refried beans, chopped tomatoes and ready-roasted peppers with herbs and spices in a punchy chilli sauce. This budget-busting one-pot is super-easy to prepare and a surefire way to impress a crowd of hungry flatmates.
Keep any leftovers from tonight’s supper to enjoy in a tortilla wrap for lunch the next day. Just remember to leave the chilli to cool, then store covered in the fridge and reheat thoroughly before use. You could also freeze a few portions to have on hand for busy nights.
As the end of the week approaches, the storecupboard can get a bit bare. Potatoes are a great standby to have, full of energising carbs as well as being a useful source of bug-busting vitamin C. Rustle up these tasty mushroom jacket potatoes with just a few ingredients for a low-calorie, gluten-free supper. You should also bake an extra potato for use on Friday (see below).
Want to boost your five-a-day further? Try swapping your regular spuds for a sweet potato, which is also a rich source of fibre, vitamins and minerals. This recipe for vegan chickpea curry jacket potatoes is high in protein and packs in the flavour from fragrant spices.
A healthy, balanced diet should include at least two portions of fish or seafood a week, and fishcakes are an affordable, tasty way to achieve this. Bake an extra potato the night before and use for the mash in these simple tuna & sweetcorn fish cakes. They take just 15 minutes to prepare and make the most of canned ingredients such as tuna and sweetcorn. Also try our herby feta cakes with Greek salad for an easy veggie alternative.
Who doesn’t fancy a curry on a Saturday night? Ditch the local takeaway and instead whip up a nutritious sweet potato & chicken curry. Chicken thighs are cheaper than breast and the darker meat has more flavour and is a richer source of iron and zinc. This speedy, versatile dish uses just a handful of ingredients but can easily be supplemented with more veg or leftovers. If you want to give it a Thai-style flavouring, simply replace the rogan josh curry paste with Thai green curry paste and add half a 400ml can of reduced-fat coconut milk instead of the water.
Got veggie mates coming round? Surprise them with our cauliflower, paneer & pea curry. Paneer is a cheese made without animal rennet, so it's a safe vegetarian option and a satisfying protein, which is important before a night out! Or whip up our satisfying vegan kidney bean curry using a handful of storecupboard ingredients.
If you're crazy about curry, check out our recipe collections:
It's the end of the week, so gather around the table for a light yet comforting spiced shepherd's pie. Gently flavoured with turmeric and garam masala, it makes an exciting alternative to Sunday lunch and only takes 15 minutes to prepare. Lean lamb is a great source of immune-boosting zinc while frozen peas and carrots boost the veg content. You could also pair this dish with roast veg to cook simultaneously in the oven and up your intake of fibre.
Serve up more hearty and healthy pie recipes.
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Do you have a favourite student meal? Let us know your best (and worst!) recipes in the comments below...