Top tips for students and young people on shopping and cooking

Food prices are causing concern for everyone and a recent survey found that young people are finding it particularly difficult. We asked young people how they are coping and here is what they told us.

Nearly 4 in 10 young people surveyed said they are skipping meals, they are buying reduced-priced items and reducing the amount that they buy. Over half of the young people surveyed cited “the time it takes to prepare & cook food” as one of the most common barriers to cooking healthily.

We asked students to put together tips to help young people reduce waste and save time and money when cooking, here is the advice they gave.

Top 5 tips for students and young people food shopping on a budget

  1. Meal plan

Planning out meals for the week and creating a weekly shopping list based on this plan helps reduce the cost of the food shop and avoids waste. For advice on meal planning visit the Safefood website.

  1. Share the cost

If you live in shared housing, dividing the cost of everyday items such as milk, bread, or eggs is a great way of making the weekly shop cheaper. Revolut vaults offer one way to manage money and split costs. For more information on different ways to manage shared costs visit Revolut and Monzo.

  1. Shop savvy

By shopping around and snapping up yellow-ticketed items you will save on groceries. Shops often have reduced shelves for items that may be close to their use-by but are still safe for consumption, or home freezing.

  1. Join loyalty schemes

Most of the major food retailers offer loyalty schemes which offer food promotions.

  1. Know the difference between best before and use-by

Best before means the product is still safe to eat after the date on the package, whereas use-by means the item is not safe for consumption after the date on the package. Knowing the difference between these can help you correctly store food products and avoid throwing out food unnecessarily. For more information on best before and use-by dates see FSA guidance.

It isn’t just food that has gone up in price. With home energy bills also a concern for many, here are some top tips to save money when cooking.

Top 5 tips for students and young people to save energy when cooking

  1. Batch cook and freeze meals.

Batch-cooking meals uses energy efficiently. It also saves time during the week when students and young people might be too busy to cook from scratch, but can still eat a healthy home-cooked meal.

  1. Cook multiple meals in the oven at once.

If you've heated the oven, then try to cook more than one thing to take advantage of that energy. These items can always be frozen or used as part of a meal the following day.

  1. Use a slow cooker, pressure cooker or air fryer.  

These appliances are more energy efficient than regular ovens and will save on energy costs. For example, cooking a chicken breast in the air fryer will cost 28p compared to 35p in the oven.

  1. Use the microwave.

Microwaves are another cooking method which saves on energy costs. For example, four baked potatoes would cost 60p in an oven compared to 8p in a microwave. There are lots of microwave-only recipes available, such as those from Jack Monroe’s Cooking on a bootstrap.

  1. Turn off the oven early.

Turn off the oven ten minutes before the dish has finished cooking. The oven will maintain the same temperature so the food will still cook while saving on energy.

More advice and information on saving money on food

  • Food