Student Food with The Starving Student

11.08.21 7 min read

Cooking healthily and on a budget is something that many students find difficult whilst studying and maintaining a good social life. My name is Lauren Leyva, I am 23 and I am a low-waste and sustainable student recipe developer, more widely known as The Starving Student ( @the.starving.student on Instagram).
I started my brand The Starving Student back in 2017 and over the past year in particular it has grown to become a brand I am extremely proud of. It’s incredibly important that student recipes are healthy and affordable to simply show people that you don’t have to have a big budget to eat well and cook delicious meals. I’ve had student cookbooks before and know of some companies that have drifted from ‘real’ affordable food, to now using unusual, inaccessible and sometimes expensive ingredients. This is so demotivating for us students with smaller budgets which is why I have always made sure every recipe I share is in line with my ethos – Easy. Low Waste. On a Budget.
I have always loved a wide variety of food and so the recipes I create now include meat, fish, vegetarian and vegan options. Receiving recipe requests from my followers has also been great to get even more inspiration about the types of healthy dishes that students crave. Now time for some of my best tips!
Before going for your food, decide on some meals you will cook up and write a shopping list (even if it’s on your phone). It is such a simple job to do and it means your food shop will be much more efficient and your less likely to hoard the unhealthy snacks. Secondly, do not shop when you’re hungry… it leads to cravings, impulse-buying and inevitably leads to unnecessary (and potentially expensive) purchases of sugary snacks.
Another handy tip is to bulk buy dry ingredients and tinned foods because they are very budget-friendly and they last for a very long time. This includes foods such as rice, oats, pasta, lentils, tinned tomatoes, tinned coconut milk and tinned pulses (e.g. butter beans, chickpeas). These are ingredients I always have in my student kitchen and use them in so many recipes. Another great point about these foods is that they can be stored in your bedroom to save space in your kitchen cupboard, very handy for those with small student kitchens.
One of my biggest tips is to be organised and cook in batches. Batch cooking is perfect for lunches (to take into university or work), and for dinners. Making several portions at once allows you to quickly heat up one serving at a time, giving you much more time each evening to study or relax. Not only does batch cooking save time, it also is very likely to save you money. Bulk-buying dry store-cupboard ingredients such as those mentioned above saves money in the long run and reduces the number of supermarket visits you have to make. My recipes show very clearly that most of the food I make is in batches, so go and check them out for some foodie inspiration.
The Sustainable Box
A huge part of my ethos is being low-waste and encouraging people to live more sustainably. This summer I am launching The Sustainable Box which is a box full of sustainable products, aimed at students and young professionals. The aim is to provide students with some key kitchen supplies that can drastically make their daily living more environmentally friendly. I am so excited to finally launch a sustainable product and can’t wait to share more future projects… If any of you would love to become more sustainable, keep an eye out for The Sustainable Box online at 
My main aim is to inspire students to cook healthy food from scratch whilst trying to reduce their environmental impact, and I hope I have inspired you to do so.