Student paramedic beats cost of living crisis feeding housemates with 68p meals

Everyone is feeling the pinch with the rising cost of living – and it isn’t going to get any easier any time soon.

Students are one of the groups set to be hit hardest, with students reportedly in need of an extra £439 a month to cope with rising costs.

But one student paramedic has shared how she feeds herself and her flatmates for 70p a meal to help those feeling the pinch.

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Alisha Hynes, who attends the University of Cumbria in Lancaster, is often on 12-hour paramedic shifts as part of her university placement so she relies on bath cooking.

The 19-year-old, originally from Manchester, said her go-to meal prep includes sausage pasta bake, Tandoori Thighs with rice and green beans and Hunters chicken and homemade chips.

Due to her shift patterns Alisha typically orders her food online, including bulk buying her meat from MuscleFoods but she also shops around the discount retailers and world food aisles for other budget ingredients.

She batch cooks and stores her meals in a bid to stretch her tight student budget as far as she can.

Alisha said: “Living on a student budget is tough but you can make the cash stretch further if you think about what you want to eat and shop around to find the cheapest ingredients.

“I’ve been cooking for years and am really into fitness so balanced, healthy meals are important to me.

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“I began cooking for me and my housemates last year and they loved it. I’d batch cook meals, store them in containers in the fridge and people would help themselves.

“It meant we had healthy food to eat every evening and something to take into Uni too.

“I cook all sorts from chilli con carne to sausage pasta bake and chicken stir fry. Sometimes it shocks me how cheaply I can cook up a meal.

“My sausage pasta bake works out at just 78p a portion. Tandoori Thighs, rice & green beans are only 68p and is a well-balanced, healthy meal.

“Other favourites include Chilli Con Carne at £1.21 per portion, Hunters Chicken & Homemade Chips which is around £1.91 a portion, Pork Black Bean Noodle Stir Fry at 81p each and Burger Burrito Bowl which costs just £1.04 per person.”

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Alisha continued: “Fitness is an important part of my life and that combined with my full-on course, means eating nutritionally balanced meals gives me energy and keeps me mentally alert.

“As part of the course, I do four-week blocks of 12-hour shifts with paramedic teams. I love the shifts but there’s barely time to eat so taking food with me means I always have something balanced to enjoy. I see other people grab takeaways on night shifts which can leave them feeling sluggish and drowsy.

“Eating on a budget is really important for everyone, not just students and making sure those meals are nutritionally balanced means you’ll have more energy and feel better too.

“I’ve put together a few top tips for people wanting to give it a go. Hopefully, they’ll see a difference in how much money they have at the end of the month and how they feel too.”


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