It is no secret that students have a certain stereotype attached to them when it comes to cooking. We tend to eat basic meals all week long, often due to empty wallets or lack of skills. I say pesto, you say pasta.
There is nothing wrong with finding a few solid meals that you know how to prepare. However, if you are like me and food has become one of your lockdown saviours, eating ramen noodles three times a week can become unappetising. Having so little happening due to being stuck inside all day means that we should at least be able to look forward to our meals.
Since heading back to university in October, I have spent a fair bit of time scrolling through various corners of the internet in search of new student-suitable recipes and meals. There is a reason that students typically stick to staples like pasta – they’re cheap but experimentation does not necessarily mean breaking the bank. This is especially true if you know the right places to look to find inspiration. So, where should students turn to spice up their cooking?
TikTok’s search feature and browsing the top videos also comes in very handy
TikTok is definitely my favourite option for finding new recipes. Watching exactly how other people cook and what each step of their recipe looks like is incredibly helpful. TikTok videos are also short enough to allow you to scroll through several recipes in a matter of minutes.
A quick search through #studentmeals or #studentfood will show you everything from easy vegetarian curries to chicken teriyaki stir-fry. Accounts such as @bakingwithbeavis and @student.meals dominate this hashtag and have created multiple cooking videos. As fellow students make these videos, the ingredients are cheap, with the overall price often mentioned in the video’s caption.
If you have a particular craving for something specific, using TikTok’s search feature and browsing the top videos also comes in very handy. The pasta hashtag currently has 3.8 billion views and features every type of pasta imaginable, meaning that there is really no excuse to be eating your classic spag bol yet again.
Browsing these hashtags will also lead you to student foodie accounts to follow
Instagram is another gem for student recipe inspiration. Once again, hashtags are the best bet, with tags such as #studentmeals, #studentcooking, and #veganstudent providing an array of colourful inspiration. The nice thing about Instagram is that users can opt to follow hashtags, bringing a few of its top posts to your feed every week.
Instagram also allows for longer captions than TikTok does, meaning you can often find all of the ingredients and recipe easily under each photo. Browsing these hashtags will also lead you to student foodie accounts to follow, which I like to do if they are posting useful recipes.
If you do not have a TikTok or Instagram account, then a good old search engine is your best bet. Often I have just resorted to googling ‘easy student meal’ or ‘cheap student meal plan’ to find inspiration. Websites like BBC Good Food and Tesco Real Food have collections of recipes designed for students that consider both time and money. Both sites also have a whole range of sections, such as vegan and vegetarian meals.
I find websites like these to be preferable to recipe books
Save the Student is another helpful resource designed to aid students in saving money. They have a whole host of food and drink-related blog posts, such as a weekly meal plan featuring 28 different meal ideas covering breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It even features a shopping list to point you exactly in the right direction. I find websites like these to be preferable to recipe books as not only are they free, but they are updated with new ideas regularly.
Thanks to social media and hashtags, finding food inspiration is easy. Although there are many recipes out there, trying even just one or two new ones a week can create something to look forward to. If you will be staying at home during the third national lockdown, you could even cook something new with or for your family. Either way, food can be a small slither of excitement amid lockdown monotony. So, why not try something new today?