A student's guide: Shopping on a student budget

Some diets not only take away our pleasure in food (eating becomes a miserable experience when we have to weigh and measure everything!) they also make a huge dent in our wallets!

Some diet plans involve buying huge quantities of expensive meat, or costly supplements. There are even diets that rely on you buying ready-made meals and meal replacement snacks! No wonder these diets just aren’t realistic for long-term weight loss.

Food Optimising is a practical, healthy, balanced diet that doesn’t break the bank and lets you eat the food you want, no matter what the budget.

Member Jennifer Lee discovered Food Optimising as a student:

Because Food Optimising is a healthy, balanced diet and doesn’t rely on expensive supplements, it’s ideal for anyone on a tight budget – even students living on a student loan! My favourite meal is incredibly filling and cheap. I love a jacket potato with homemade vegetable chilli and salad – yum!

Cheaper than ready meals

Buying ready meals can often work out to be poor value for money; the portion sizes are usually so tiny you'll probably end up eating two meals. The massive variety of Free Foods available on the Slimming World  Extra Easy plan means you can create any meal you fancy, and have a portion size to suit your appetite.

Star buys for students

  • Chicken – this versatile meat can form the basis of many meals. Skinned and boned chicken thighs are an inexpensive option, or for an even better value poultry choice, turkey legs are great if you like the darker meat that comes on them.
  • Beef – there are heaps of bargain beef options with Food Optimising; cheaper cuts such as chuck steak are fab for casseroles and stews, extra lean minced beef forms the basis of chillis, Bolognese and lasagne.
  • Fish – tinned fish such as tuna or mackerel work out at excellent value for money. Frozen white fish such as pollock and plaice are also good value and taste great with a simple passata, basil and pepper sauce for a Mediterranean-style dish.
  • Tinned treasures – baked beans in tomato sauce are cheap, versatile and are great for a snack or part of a main meal. Tins of spaghetti, mushy peas and tomatoes are also super staples that don’t hurt the wallet. Look out for supermarket ‘value’ brands – all the taste of the well-known brands at a lower price.
  • Pasta – this student favourite is brilliant for the thrifty spender. A whole packet can cost as little as 50p and can form the basis for loads of dishes.
  • Rice – a great grain that goes a long way! Rice with peppers, mushrooms, onions, cabbage and soy sauce is a really cheap and filling meal. Even easier – mix beaten egg, peas and soy sauce into a pan with cooked rice for economical egg-fried rice.

Even if they're buying more fresh food than ever, Food Optimisers often find that week on week they spend much less now they’re Food Optimising.

Expensive low-Syn snacks can amount to a small fortune, buying Syn-laden takeaways also quickly adds up. Using fresh, Free Food saves money and Syns. Plus, freezing leftover portions are great for a future low-cost meal in minutes!

Find your nearest group

Lose weight without hunger! You'll find more delicious recipe and menu ideas at your local group, along with all the help you need to get started and reach your target weight.

or become an online member

What you get with group membership

  • A friendly, understanding Consultant – who’s been a member themselves
  • Image Therapy – the heart of a Slimming World group – giving you unique help, support and encouragement when you need it most
  • Loads of praise and celebrations for each weight loss milestone you achieve
  • Warmth, friendship, laughter, sharing ideas, recipes, inspirational stories and much, much more
  • Free access to dozens of online features and tools to support you between groups
find a friendly local group

What you get with online-only membership

  • Weekly online support and motivating e-mails based on your personal progress
  • Access to motivational support tools, insightful features and special strategies to help you in the weeks ahead
lose weight online

Featured success

Shopping is a real joy now
Shopping is a real joy now

After finding herself unrecognisable in a clothes shop window, Louise Mack from Livingston, West Lothian, decided to change her life and join Slimming World. Having lost 4st 10lbs*, Louise has fallen in love with clothes shopping all over again.

Read more