Staple Ingredients to Have in the Kitchen

Whether your student loan has just dropped, or you’re scraping by waiting for the next installment, it is important to have a collection of staple ingredients when living on a budget. It’s true to say students can make a meal out of almost anything, but if you want to eat food that isn’t a weird mixture of all your cupboard ingredients, here are some tips and tricks on what to buy and how to not spend all your loan in Morrisons.

Since arriving at university, I have found that potatoes are an essential ingredient for students. This versatile vegetable is easy to cook and can be paired with almost anything, it’s quick and easy to cook, making it great for busy students, and certainly should be a staple in every student’s kitchen.

Lucky enough to have a rice cooker? If not, Uncle Ben’s or any other boil in the bag alternative will meet your student needs. Available in a variety of flavours and adaptable to an array of meals, rice is a core ingredient in the kitchen and its low cost is handy for economical students.

Pasta has long been an essential ingredient for students, so much so that you would struggle to find a kitchen not housing this. Its versatility and quick preparation time is handy for students, not to mention its bargain price. 

Even though it is more expensive than the other ingredients mentioned on this list, cheese is still a student staple. Its capability to accent the blandest of meals is something that students love and its ability to be paired with a variety of foods is what makes it an essential kitchen standard.

Chicken, as well as being a great source of protein, is a great ingredient to have in at all times as a lot of meals can be built around this meat. One top tip I received was to buy freezer bags and freeze chicken breasts individually, this has benefitted me as I am able to buy chicken in large quantities and defrost when needed, to avoid food going to waste.

One food mix that I always have in my kitchen is a fajita kit, which can be found commonly in supermarkets. The handy, easy to follow guide includes most ingredients for the meal, which is both tasty and nutritious, not to mention that it’s great for whole flat meals. I mean, who doesn’t love fajitas?

As a supplement to one of the most essential ingredients on this list, pasta sauce is valuable to have in the kitchen, whether this is for a pasta bake, or just an easy stir in sauce.  I especially recommend pasta bakes, as these can cover 3 to 4 meals, making them very handy for student life.

Another staple for busy students are frozen chips and chicken nuggets. Despite their lack of nutritional value, these are great food options to always have in your freezer both for relaxed evenings and for after a night out when McDonald’s wasn’t on your route. 

Overall, budgeting for a food shop every week is essential as a student, especially when loans are looming, but if you are stocked with these food items making meals will not be as costly and will be easier to handle. 

Eve Mattison