Sending your teenagers off to university is a significant milestone, and one of the most important skills you can equip them with is the ability to cook for themselves. There are only so many takeaways that they will be able to afford, so having the ability to make easy student meals before they go will be helpful.
Not only can you rest assured they are eating well, but it could help them make friends too. If your teen is leaving for uni in September, now is the time to teach them some kitchen skills.
As they step into the world of independence, having a repertoire of simpler and nutritious meals can make a world of difference. It can save them cash and hopefully avoid Fresher Flu by pumping them full of vitamins.
Easy student meal ideas
Here are some easy student meal ideas that will help them stay well-fed and focused during their university years.
Pasta with Tomato Sauce
A classic staple, pasta with tomato sauce is quick and versatile. Teach your teenagers how to cook pasta and create a simple tomato sauce using canned tomatoes, garlic, onions, and basic seasonings.
Once they get the basics, they can customise it by adding veggies, chili peppers, cheese or another protein source like canned tuna or beans.
Fajitas are not only delicious but also a fun meal to prepare. Encourage your teens to fry up sliced chicken tofu or Quorn with peppers, onions and fajita seasoning. Let them experiment them with tortillas, grated cheese, sour cream and salsa to create their personalised fajitas.
Depending on their abilities, you could stock them up with one of the multitude of meal kits or encourage them to blend spices to their own tastes and get the other ingredients separately.
While it may sound complex, lasagne is an easy student meal. They can also make it in batches and enjoyed over multiple days. Teach your teenagers how to layer lasagne sheets with a mix of cooked minced meat in tomato sauce or a veggie alternative, and a simple white sauce.
If they don’t fancy the challenge of the béchamel, they can always buy it from a shop. They don’t need to be a cordon bleu chef all of a sudden, but any kitchen skills they have will make things easier, cheaper and healthier for them at university.
Spaghetti Bolognese is a comfort food favourite. Show your teenagers how to brown mince or cook the plant-based alternative, whip up a sauce, and let it simmer. Show them how to cook spaghetti, topping it with the mixture and adding grated Parmesan for a satisfying meal.
Omelettes are not just for breakfast – they’re a quick and nutritious option for any meal. Teach your teens the art of making a fluffy omelette with eggs, cheese and get them to try a variety of fillings like ham, roast vegetables, leftover cooked potatoes or pretty much anything else they fancy!
Dahl (Lentil Curry)
If your teen loves their Indian cuisine, a simple dahl makes an easy student meal. They can satisfy their craving for curry without buying an expensive takeaway.
Show them how to cook lentils until soft and create a flavourful curry by frying onions, garlic and spices together. Dahl is not only nutritious but also budget-friendly, filling and great for making in large batches. Tell them to get some poppadoms and naan bread too to make it even more of an occasion.
Bean chilli is a hearty and filling meal that’s easy to prepare and cheap to make. It’s another that your teen can make in batches. It’s one of those recipes where you can pretty much throw any veg in and it works. That is great if your uni student has some items that are on the turn and they don’t want to waste them.
Equipping your teenagers with these easy meal ideas will give them the confidence and skills to navigate their university life with a well-fed stomach. Cooking their meals can be an empowering and enjoyable experience, fostering independence and healthy eating habits. As they embrace this new chapter, they’ll be able to savour not only their academic accomplishments but also the delicious dishes they’ve learned to create on their own.
And you can stop worrying. Well. Worrying about them feeding themselves, that is. Parents will always find something to worry about. At least it’s a start.