be_ixf;ym_202205 d_17; ct_50

Living on a stipend: quick, healthy and affordable meals

Making a difference in students’ lives takes a lot of time and energy. After working a long day, cooking a complex meal with many ingredients is sometimes the last thing you want to do. Still, a healthy meal is important for your wellbeing and productivity.  From breakfast to dinner here are some quick, delicious and nourishing recipes that are sure to keep your stomachs full without leaving your wallets empty.


Overnight blueberry maple oatmeal

Prep + Cook Time: 5 minutes prep time; cooks overnight
Estimates Cost: $4.80 per serving

Overnight blueberry maple oatmeal tastes like pancakes. But, the best part is you only have to spend five minutes making them! Plus, making this meal in a jar or small container makes it easy to grab breakfast on your way to work.

One-bowl microwave scrambled eggs

Prep + Cook Time: approximately 4 minutes total
Estimated Cost: $1.23 per serving, before optional toppings

One-bowl microwave scrambled eggs are everything that’s great about scrambled eggs minus the mess of multiple dishes and pans. You make the eggs in the same bowl that you eat them in, and you can even add in some milk to the scrambled eggs before microwaving to make the meal heartier, leaving you fuller. Plus, the combination of toppings you can add on top are endless — salsa, avocado, peppers, mushrooms, olives, spinach to name a few. Looking for a place to grab fresh vegetables? Try shopping at a local Farmer’s market (many accept EBT benefits).

Lunch and dinner

Taco pop tarts

Prep + Cook Time: 10 minutes prep time, 30 minutes cook time
Estimated Cost: $6.54 per serving

Although this recipe takes half an hour to cook, these taco pop tarts are easy to freeze and reheat as needed, making them a perfect option when you just don’t have time to cook dinner after a long day. You can also have them right away for dinner and pack some leftovers for lunch the next day! Two birds, one stone.  Or should we say, one recipe, two meals?

French bread pizza

Prep + Cook Time: 5 minutes prep time, 15 minutes cook time
Estimated Cost: $0.88 per serving

This French bread pizza recipe will take less time than ordering a pizza. Plus, it’s cheaper, healthier and just as delicious! Substitute in turkey pepperonis, top it with veggies, make it meat lover’s style, or keep it simple with just good ol’ plain cheese. Any way you slice it, it’s bound to be the lunch all your teammates are jealous of when you bring it to work.

Microwaved baked potato

Prep + Cook Time: 1 minute prep time, 11 minutes cook time
Estimated Cost: $2.26 per serving

Microwaved baked potatoes are easy to switch up and customize to your liking in order to mix up your meal planning. Not only are they simple to make, but they’re loaded with fiber, vitamins C and B6, iron and potassium. Plus, they give you energy to get through the busy day.


Gooey chocolate mug cake

Prep + Cook Time: 1 minute prep time, 1 minute cook time
Estimated Cost: $0.51

Okay, so these aren’t so healthy. But sometimes you just have to treat yourself. This three-ingredient gooey chocolate mug cake is the perfect indulgence after a busy week. It’s so delicious, you might finish it in the same amount of time it took to make it.

Mug sugar cookie

Prep + Cook Time: 5 minutes prep time, 1 minute cook time
Estimated Cost: $1 per serving

If you’re not feeling chocolate for dessert, here’s a super easy recipe for a sugar cookie. Remember that the recipe is for 2 servings, so don’t forget to split the recipe in half if you’re just making dessert for yourself! Or, just eat both, because you’ve earned it.

All of these recipes leave room for creativity and the ability to adjust to your dietary preferences. You can add or substitute proteins or vegetables to many of these recipes as you see fit. The best part, though, is that these cheap and easy recipes also make cleaning up a breeze, saving you even more time and energy.

To learn more about living on a stipend, read:

Related stories

As a City Year alum, you can use your unique service experience to launch a career in tech! Learn more...

Read more about City Year can help you launch a marketing career in tech

City Year emphasizes trusting and consistent relationships with the students we serve. Learn more about these developmental student relationships.

Read more about Successfully Closing Out Student Relationships

A City Year staff member shares how she uses baking to connect, tell stories and work through life’s toughest moments...

Read more about Mental health awareness month: one recipe at a time

Here are a few tips from the members of City Year’s Talent Acquisition team—the people who facilitate the hiring process...

Read more about Strengthening your job application
National Strategic Partners
  • AbbVie logo
  • Comcast NBC/ Universal logo
  • Deloitte logo
  • New York Life Foundation logo
  • Red Nose Day logo
National Partners
  • Bain Capital logo
  • Bank of America logo
  • Celanese logo
  • CSX logo
  • NFL Inspire Change logo
  • Taco Bell Foundation logo block for footer