Student Health

13 Essential Items for a Student Shopping List

Ben Maples  · Jun 7th 2023

Attending university isn’t always as cheap as we’d all want it to be. Everyone wants to go to university and spend almost nothing at all, but we all know how tough it is to get the right food, books, equipment and nights-out for the right money.


We’re sure your uni student shopping list will be comprehensive and full of all the things you need for your time there. Luckily, we’ve found a number of really useful little things for you to add to your university student shopping list.

University student shopping list

1.) Bread

It's the first thing you see on your uni student food shopping list and no student food shopping list is complete without it. Bread is very important for a student’s lifestyle and is an important component in how to save money as a student and living a healthy lifestyle at university as well.

2.) Pasta

Lest we forget! We have a number of easy student recipes and the homemade pasta sauce recipe is one of our personal faves!

Pasta, in general, is perfect for any student meal plan and student food shopping list and is perfect for any student to buy as it basically never goes off, also, who doesn’t love a bit of pasta? Served with a tray of chicken and some sauce, and you’ve got a great dinner planned!

Uni student shopping list

3.) Cheese

Cheese is easily one of the best foods for a student to have, especially since it can not only be a filling in a sandwich, it’s also perfect for students that are looking for a topping on their pasta, it should be a mainstay of any student’s student meal plan and shopping list.

4.) Salt

While salt may seem like only a small thing, anyone who plans on doing any cooking or wants some seasoning will need salt with them.

Salt is relatively cheap and you can buy large quantities, which means you hopefully won't need to buy much of it.

Student shopping list

5.) Biscuits

Biscuits are an odd one to include but trust us, you'll be thanking us for picking these up. Biscuits are a great source of sustenance, a good snack to have and a really great thing to have with a cup of tea as well.

Biscuits are usually found in any shopping list for college student, but they are often overlooked when it comes to making tough choices on what to buy and what not to buy, and who doesn’t love a good digestive every now and again?

6.) Bacon/Facon

Is it the greatest meat-based product out there? Well, it’s certainly in the top two, that’s for sure! Probably not perfect for a vegetarian student shopping list, but that’s where facon comes in.

It’s a great filling in sandwiches, quick to make and can be great to sprinkle on top of any no-doubt gourmet meal you'll be preparing. Bacon should definitely be at the top of any weekly student shopping list.

Your student shopping list

7.) Vegetables

Sometimes, you might want to compile a healthy shopping list for students, as well as a vegan shopping list.

Vegetables are again, a good source of sustenance, a good way to keep yourself fit and healthy and a good way to create new meals for yourself. Vegetables are a good ingredient in a number of stews, soups and casseroles if you're feeling adventurous.

8.) Pot Noodle

Is there an easier and better meal than this? Probably not, but the pot noodle has been a staple of any university student shopping list and meal plan. It’s easy to cook, it tastes good and you can buy loads of it in bulk.

The great thing about pot noodle as well is that it is a very cheap meal for students to have and can also double as several different meals at once as well, like lunch, dinner and snacks.

9.) Rice

A hugely versatile food, rice can be brought in a variety of flavours. Rice is great for anyone looking to make a homemade chicken katsu curry or any other curry dishes. Rice itself also has a great potential to work with any other dish as well, whether that be working with chicken or beef, but can also be eaten with fish as well and be used in paella, it’s a great accoutrement for all students.

It should be a part of any essential student food shopping list and would be a great addition to a vegan student shopping list as well.

10.) Sugar

No college student food shopping list is complete without sugar, after all, you don’t want to be relying on weak sweetener capsules to improve your tea, do you? Sugar is essential for students as it can be used as a light topping on cereal (try it, it’s not as disgusting as it sounds) and is used a lot in baking.

A student shopping list

11.) Baked Beans

What else can you use when the inevitable nuclear apocalypse comes and you need to barter your way through World War 3? Or if you're more interested in the here and now, baked beans are great source of sustenance and they have the sort of versatility that other food substances can only dream of.

There probably isn’t a classier combination than baked beans and toast, but beans work well with just about any food that you're looking to make. Pro tip: Beans and cheese is as underrated as they come. If baked beans are not on your student food shopping list UK, then add it right now!

12.) Soup

As we said above, vegetables go great in a lot of soups, and soup itself is a great food for students with or without vegetables and a perfect food to have on lazy days.

They are a great portable snack as well and a great food for you to have if you're feeling unwell as well, which begs the question, is there anything soup can't do? It’s a part of any basic student shopping list and after seeing how good it is, it’s no surprise.

13.) Tea and Coffee

If you’re attending a UK university, you need to have tea on standby, that’s a given, but the coffee is to wake you up when you’ve overslept for a lecture for the eighth time in three weeks.

Tea and coffee are also a great way of warming up in the winter and are perfect after a stressful day or during illness, never ever overlook the importance of a good tea or coffee.

When you get your maintenance loan it can be very easy to suddenly decide that you have a small fortune to yourself, but you need to learn about managing your student budget at university and you'll also learn about where not to shop as well.

Tesco, ASDA and Lidl are the best places to pick up a bargain or two and you'll even be able to pick up the odd bargain from Marks and Spencer as well, so the old Waitrose student shopping list, might be one that’s worth ignoring this time around.

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