Living on a student budget doesn't have to mean cheap ramen for every meal! We'll teach you how to get straight A's in delicious food prep with these easy college meals.

Image of a female college student sitting outside on campus and looking at her laptop. - Shelf Cooking

Ah, college life! Study groups, football games, and living on frozen bean burritos and buttered noodles, am I right? It's an amazing time of life, but what if we told you it could be even better by learning the basics of how to feed yourself well on a budget?!

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College life is all about growing up and becoming a better version of you, and learning how to cook is a big part of that! Even in a dorm, students can perfect this life skill and benefit for years to come. We'll share our best cooking hacks to help college students get started on the right foot.

Best Kitchen Tools For College Students

Overhead image of a rice bowl with cooked chicken and broccoli for an easy college meal. - Shelf Cooking

First things first! In order for someone to cook, they need the right equipment!

College students across the country will have a wide range of living arrangements, so each student will need to figure out what works best for them. From tiny dorm rooms to shared houses to still living with mom and dad, there's always ways to prepare easy college meals. Here's some items we suggest:

  • A slow-cooker – throw some chicken breasts or other protein in before classes start in the morning and come home to a nutritious dinner (like this salsa chicken!). Can also be used for prepping breakfast overnight, making soups, and more!
  • An Instant Pot – Ain't nobody got time to sit around waiting for their food to cook! A pressure cooker gets things done in a hurry.
  • A hot plate – Low on space? This little wonder can still make it possible to eat a hot meal.
  • A bullet blender – Perfect for blending up smoothies, protein shakes, sauces, milkshakes and more!
  • A toaster oven – Much like a hot plate, this little beauty is just the right size to cook a meal for one.

Learn The Basic Back To School Skills

For a lot of college students, this is the first time they'll be mostly fending for themselves out in the world! Getting up to speed on how to balance a budget, manage time, and navigating new relationships is a lot of work! And, oh yeah, there's studying and grades to worry about!

It's easy to get so caught up in these big things that other important things, like self-care through healthy nutrition, go by the wayside. That's why these resources are so helpful! You gotta support that hard-working brain with delicious and nutritious food.

To help a college student get started on a successful path, we suggest these posts:

  • Learn what Shelf Cooking is and how to do it! Jordan breaks it down HERE. Anyone can master this skill and change their life!
  • Check out THIS post about meal planning for one.
  • We can teach you the best ways to grocery shop on a budget HERE.

Make Life Easier With The Shelf Cooking Meal Plan Subscription

Overhead image of a block schedule planner open to the weekly meal plan. - Shelf Cooking

Still feeling a little overwhelmed with all the things? We hear ya!

That's why one of our best meal prep hacks for college students is to sign up for our Shelf Cooking Meal Plan Subscription!

Every week we'll curate a list of amazing recipes that use similar ingredients and send them right to your inbox. We'll even give you grocery lists and tips on how to plan ahead, making it SO easy to make delicious meals at home with minimal brain power required. (Save that for midterms, instead!) These easy college meals can be life changing!

The plan is super affordable and most recipes provide tips on how to freeze items to use for later or customize meals to someone's liking. It would be a great way to enjoy meals with roommates or invite friends over for dinner.

Still not sure? That's ok! You can do a trial run for only $1! We know you'll love it.

Bonus tip: Use our favorite Block Schedule Planner (pictured above) to plan your meals AND your assignments and all the other important parts of life!

Adulting 101 – Easy College Meals

College is four years (…maybe more?) of good times and challenging times, but all of them are wonderful opportunities to learn!

These tips will help college students get set up for success. Less stress about meals and food costs equals more peace and happiness. Better nutrition equals better health and better learning! See? We're getting smarter already. Hello, adulting!

What are your best tips for college students? Are you a student yourself or do you have one you're trying to prepare? Let us know all your best advice in the comments.

Still looking for more ways to food prep and be successful in the kitchen? That's some of our favorite stuff to talk about! Check out these posts:

See you on the quad!