Being a plant-based student: where to shop, what to eat, and cooking for one!

This is the third post on plant-based diet. Earlier we introduced this diet and as well as transitioning to plant-based diet. Here are some tips to shopping sustainably, eating on a budget, and cooking efficiently as a plant-based student!

Where to shop


With plant-based eating on the upward trajectory, almost every supermarket now caters for plant-based products, so you aren’t limited to one shop. It can be fun trying different supermarkets out and finding out what products they offer, however opting to do most of your food shop at typically lower costs shops like Lidl and Aldi will help stay within budget.

Shop weekly

It’s likely you’ll be carrying your shopping across campus, so it’s better to do one or two smaller food shops during the week (totalling around £25), rather than buying too much to carry.

Markets & eco-friendly shops

Many universities are situated near town centres, which often have fresh fruit and vegetable markets, perfect for supporting local farmers, advocate for less plastic packaging, and a way to spend some time away from university work and computer screens. Eco-friendly shops are also becoming popular. These supply a range of food and products, such as shampoos/conditioners and washing up liquid, all plastic free. Take your own containers and go fill up, very easy!

What to eat

Eating in season and local

Fruit and vegetables are best eaten when in season, having a better taste and less of an impact on the environment ( because growing in season is less likely to require additional heating or pesticides). Some fruits and vegetables also become more expensive out of season. To find out what is in season, check out What seasonal fruit and vegetables to grow | National Trust.

It can be useful to have some frozen fruit and vegetables in the freezer too, both for price and convenience. Frozen fruit is perfect for breakfasts, snacks, and desserts.

Plant-based ingredients

Eating a plant-based diet can be cheaper when opting to bulk meals out with lentils/beans etc. These ingredients are inexpensive as well as a great source of protein. Sometimes plant-based meat replacements can be as expensive as meat, but it is worth buying a few products because they are delicious. Varying the ingredients you buy ensures you are eating a varied balanced diet.

Pizza competition with university flatmates.
Pizza competition with university flatmates.

Cooking for one

Cooking in bulk

Making multiple portions of one meal is a great way to save time and money. Extra portions make the perfect lunch the following day or put in the freezer for an easy dinner in the future.

Meal sharing

Cooking is a great way to spend time with flatmates, so suggest making a meal together! Cooking together is a fun bonding experience and helps share the costs (and washing up). Check out the pizzas me and my flatmates cooked!

Planning ahead

Planning your meals for the week ahead makes food shopping and cooking easier. It also helps to avoid food wastage and minimise costs, whilst opting for a healthy balanced diet. Make a rough guide of what meals you fancy and the necessary ingredients.

Tip for writing your shopping list: group your groceries into categories, e.g., fruit/veg, tins, vegan dairy, meat replacements, snacks. This makes it easier to follow whilst walking around the supermarket.

It’s all about making the most out of your money by being creative with your ingredients and avoiding food wastage, but most importantly enjoying your cooking!

Katy Bannister
Katy Bannister

Psychology Graduate and Food Content Creator