Student week-long meal plan

Prep your week with our student meal plan

Busy lives of socialising and studying leave little time for cooking. With a budget to stick to, you’ll also be looking to keep your food costs as low as possible. This lack of money and time doesn’t mean you have to stick to the same boring meals though.

With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can enjoy balanced and tasty breakfasts, lunches and dinners from Monday to Sunday. Here are our tips and recipes to create easy and cheap student meals for a week.

Why meal prep for the week?

Blocking out time to meal prep each week may seem like a huge effort, but there are a range of benefits to taking over the kitchen for a couple of hours every Saturday or Sunday:

  • It’s cheaper: by buying ingredients and cooking them in bulk, you’ll save more on your weekly shop. You also don’t have to spend extra on top-up shops or buying lunch in a cafe or shop, making budgeting more straightforward
  • It’s easier: although you’ll have to spend a chunk of time prepping once a week, you won’t have to cook for the rest of the week. Simply pop your meal in the microwave to heat mid-study session or on your way to the next social event
  • It’s healthier: with everything packed up in your fridge, you can grab and get on with your day without thinking twice about getting in your five-a-day or weekly protein

An image

Student meal plan and shopping list

Get inspiration for your first week-long uni student meal plan with the recipes below.

What to buy

The below fresh and stored cupboard items are what you’ll need to buy extra to cook up our meals each week.

Alongside this, it’s recommended that you have salt, pepper and oil ready to go in your cupboard. A good stock of spices such as cumin, coriander and chilli powder is also a good idea. Sauces like chilli and Worcestershire will help you add extra flavour.

We also haven’t included any snacks in this shopping list, so remember to add your favourite items to the trolley before you head to checkout.

  • Naan breads
  • Oats
  • Cereal
  • Dried fruit
  • Honey
  • Tin of chickpeas
  • 4 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • Tin of cannellini beans
  • Noodles
  • Rice
  • Chicken or vegetable stock cubes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Red onions
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Chilli
  • Spring onions
  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Mushrooms
  • Salad
  • Bananas
  • Whole chicken
  • Coconut yoghurt
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Frozen peas
  • Frozen sweetcorn

An image

Week’s meal plan

This low-cost meal plan has been created to be quick and easy for even the most inexperienced cooks. The recipes have also been chosen to minimise the amount of food waste created. Plus, there’s a balance of proteins, carbohydrates and vegetables across the week.

For those following vegetarian or vegan diets, you may need to swap out some ingredients for plant-based alternatives.

So you have plenty of variety and minimal prep across the week, we’ve kept the breakfast options simple. Mix them up every day to make sure you’re getting a balance of nutrients:

  • Cereal with milk or yoghurt and a banana or dried fruit
  • Overnight oats or porridge with dried fruit or a banana (use a 1:2 ratio of oats to milk or water for porridge and equal quantities for overnight oats to get the ideal texture)
  • Yoghurt topped with honey, oats and fruit

To keep things simple, we’ve also doubled the quantities of the dinner recipes so the leftovers can be used as lunches on separate days. Simply portion everything out into Tupperware and you can easily mix and match across the week.

Take a look below for each day’s dinner recipes. All the weekday meals can be prepped in one go, while you’ll need to cook the weekend dishes fresh. Though the recipes have minimal prep and cooking time, if you’re busy on Saturday or Sunday, simply swap over the meals to a day when you’ve got more time.

You’ll need the following equipment to cook these meals:

  • Large saucepan with a lid
  • Frying pan
  • Baking tray
  • Spatula or cooking spoon
  • Cooking knife
  • Grater
  • Full utensil set (tablespoon, teaspoon, table knife, fork and spoon)


To make today’s chickpea curry, chop up an onion and fry in 1 tbsp oil until softened. Add in three cloves of grated garlic, one finely chopped chilli and a thumb-sized piece of grated ginger along with 1 tsp of spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric and chilli. Season with salt.

Open and drain the tin of chickpeas. Add to the pan with a tin of chopped tomatoes. Cook on medium heat for around 15 minutes until the chickpeas are soft and the sauce is thickened. Turn off the heat and add in two handfuls of spinach and a spoonful of yoghurt.

An image


Start the chicken noodle soup by frying a finely chopped onion in 1 tbsp oil over medium heat till softened. Add in two cloves of garlic, sliced, a thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced into thin strips and one chilli, thinly sliced. Cook for a minute or two.

Add in three carrots, sliced into thin strips and sliced mushrooms cook for another couple of minutes.

Make 750ml stock according to the packet instructions. Add this to the pot along with some cooked, shredded chicken and noodles. Boil until the noodles are nearly cooked, then add in a handful of frozen peas and sweetcorn. Garnish with freshly sliced spring onions if you like.


Today’s dinner is sweet potatoes and homemade beans. Take four sweet potatoes. Prick the skins with a fork, cover them in oil, salt and pepper and place on a baking tray. Preheat the oven to 220C or gas 7 and bake for 20 minutes. Then turn the temperature down to 190C or gas 5 and bake till cooked through (between 45 minutes and an hour).

Once cooked, allow to cool and slice two of the potatoes in half lengthways. Save the other two for tomorrow’s recipe.

To make the beans, fry off a finely chopped onion in 1 tbsp oil in the saucepan. Drain the cannellini beans and add in along with a tin of chopped tomatoes. Season with the spices and sauces of your choice (paprika and Worcestershire sauce is a good combination).

Cook on medium heat for around 15 minutes until the beans are tender and the sauce is thickened. Serve hot over the baked potato and top with plenty of grated cheese.

An image


Using the leftover baked potatoes, you can make a delicious sweet potato salad. Once cold, simply chop up the potatoes and mix in whatever leftover ingredients you have to hand. We recommend thinly sliced red or spring onions, spinach, defrosted sweetcorn or peas and a spoonful of yoghurt.


Cook 125g of rice according to packet instructions and set aside. Then, to make the egg-fried rice, start by cooking a thinly sliced onion and 1 tbsp in a frying pan over medium heat. Add in two cloves of garlic, sliced, a thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced into thin strips and one chilli, thinly sliced. Cook for a minute or two.

Finely chop two or three carrots and add in alongside sliced mushrooms. After a minute or two, add in the rice. Beat two or three eggs with some soy sauce and then add to the pan with two handfuls of frozen peas, stirring quickly. Season with salt to taste and serve.


To make naan pizzas lay out the breads on a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 220C or gas 7. Top with a spoonful or two of chopped tomatoes, thinly sliced onions, any leftover shredded chicken, your choice of spices and a generous amount of grated cheese. Bake for around 8-10 minutes until golden and the cheese is melted.

An image


For an easy one-pan Sunday dinner, roughly chop the potatoes, carrots and cauliflower and arrange on the baking sheet. Place the whole chicken on top and coat everything with 2 tbsp of oil and seasoning.

Preheat the oven to 200C or gas 6 and roast the chicken for 25 minutes per 500g, plus an extra 25 minutes. The legs should come away from the body easily and juices should run clear when a knife is inserted into the breast.

Halfway through cooking, lift the chicken off the vegetables and turn them over before placing the chicken back on top and returning to the oven. Once cooked, serve everything together with a jug of gravy, if you like.

Once cold, strip any leftover meat off the whole chicken ready to use in next week’s meal prep.

Even more from UNiDAYS

We bring the best discounts from the best brands to college and uni students, as well as exclusive videos, articles and loads of tips and advice to make your student life even better - all for free!

  • Join now or log in to start saving on everything from food comas and fashion to (finally) getting fitter.
  • Verify now to start saving on everything from food comas and fashion to (finally) getting fitter.

  • Got a lot to say? We're always looking for awesome guest bloggers. Get in touch with your ideas!