Student Life 101: Cheap eating habits

Living abroad means more freedom, discoveries and adventures, but it also means managing your budget without starving yourself. This might be harder for some, coming from countries where food is 10x cheaper than Stockholm, or living on their own for the first time. Fortunately, there are ways to eat healthily, cheaply and sustainably (yes yes and yes!) without breaking your piggybank.

1. Learn to cook

One thing about Stockholm is that eating out is REALLY expensive. Of course you can find some cheaper fast food, but overall you’ll save lots of money by planning and making your meals at home. You can start with easy recipes like omelettes, pastas, roasted veggies, and then use your creativity to make them your own. For example, the leftover vegetables you bought to make that pasta dish can probably also be used for fried rice, pizza and soup. Pro tip: make big batches of food and use the leftovers for lunches to eat at school.

2. Beans! Lentils! Eggs! Potatoes!

Food is pretty expensive in a place like Stockholm, but there are food that are pretty cheap and happen to also have a pretty low carbon footprint. With something like chickpeas you can whip out a curry, make houmous, pancakes #aquafaba4life, add them in salads; the possibilities are (almost) endless! Lentils can also make a meal more complete, and I am a strong believer that potatoes (I prefer sweet potatoes) are a great addition to most meals. Also, did I say how much of a wonderful meal a sandwich is? Throw in tomatoes, spinach, cheese and a gooey egg between two slices of bread and you’ve got yourself and healthy cheap meal in 5 minutes.

3. Make coffee at home

You can get some pretty cheap coffee on campus at any time of day, but adding up all the morning coffees might make your bank account cringe. Buy yourself a cheap coffee maker of your choice (try Clas Ohlson or Ikea) and ground coffee at the shop and make yourself a nice cup of coffee in the morning, which you can bring along to school in a reusable mug. You’ll be happy about it in the long run. Once in a while you can reward yourself with a nice cappuccino and it will make it more special.

4. Organize potlucks

Instead of eating out with your friends, make a dinner where everyone brings something! It’s a great occasion to show your cooking skills, try a new recipe and enjoy the food that your friends make. Especially if you have a very international group of friends, it’s a fun way to discover the culture of their home country, as everyone can cook a traditional recipe from home. You will try many different dishes and have as much fun as if you were going out to the restaurant, but at a fraction of the cost.

5. Carry your own water bottle

I consider bottled water (in first world countries) to be one of the most horrific things capitalism came up with. In a place like Stockholm, where the water quality is 10/10, you shouldn’t have to pay for that H2O. One way to avoid this is to always carry your water bottle and fill it up in any sink. Not only will you save money, you’ll also avoid the use of plastic bottles that will end up in rivers, landfills, etc. You can even add some cucumber or lemon or mint in your water and feel like a lifestyle instagrammer #sohealthy #hydration.