“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

Virginia Woolf

Who doesn’t like good food?

Food, when cooked right, is an instant mood lifter. But bland food can have the opposite effect— and, as a student, eating options can be quite limiting (takeout everyday isn’t worth the debt).

Man hungrily looking at a plate full of food.

While it might seem impossible to cook good food on a student budget, it isn’t. To prove it, IGNITE has compiled a list of ways you can make gourmet meals without breaking the bank.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Invest in spices and herbs

The easiest way to elevate your meal is by adding in the right spices and herbs.

No matter how basic your ingredients are, the right spices will transform your meal into a “Gordon Ramsay approved” dish. You can begin experimenting with basic spices like cumin, paprika, peppercorn and cinnamon in your meal; and then graduate to herbs like thyme, basil, mint, and cilantro to instantly refine your dish.

Pro tip: lower your monthly expenditure by buying these ingredients in bulk.

2. Interchange recipes

Man enjoying his meal.

Eating the same meal repeatedly can get tiring. So, mix things up!

Why stick to hard-boiled eggs, when you could make them sunny side up, fix up an omelette or scramble ‘em? Even if you’re using the same ingredients, regularly rotating recipes can keep things exciting in the kitchen.

3. Stir up your own sauces

A man dramatically licking sauce.

Nothing beats a good homemade sauce. They are easy to make, affordable, healthy, and pack a punch to the most boring food imaginable.

“Where do they think I can find the time to make my own sauces?” we hear you ask yourself. And, don’t worry, we’ve got a solution for that too: you can whip up a simple and versatile tomato sauce with only one pot, 30 minutes and five household ingredients.

4. Take risks

A man seasoning his food.

Sticking to the same old recipes is safe and ensures that your digestive system remains intact. But, what’s the fun in that? You won’t discover your next favourite dish, until you experiment and explore.

You don’t even need new ingredients to try different dishes. Online resources like SuperCook will give you personalized recipe suggestions based on the groceries you already have!

5. Plate your plate

Man: We got the triple threat going.
Four women smell the food.
Man: Looking good, smelling good, and cooking good.

Presentation matters: if it’s pleasing to the eye, it’ll be pleasing to the mind (and the stomach).

Plus , not only can good food presentation improve your dining experience—but studies have also shown it can, increase your appetite!

So , the next time you put your chef’s hat on, let your inner artist make their presence known onto your plate.

6. Don’t cook — let IGNITE do the work for you!

Man falls back trusting his colleague to catch him.
Text below: We've got your back.

We understand: cooking for yourself can be tough—especially when you’re also juggling assignments, studies, and work.

Don’t fret, ‘cause that’s exactly what IGNITE’s Soupbar is for.

At our Soupbar, we provide free 1 L and 500 mL, grab-and-go frozen containers of soup in a variety of gourmet flavours, like:

  • Beef barley
  • Tomato
  • Butternut squash
  • Indian daal
  • French onion soup
  • Thai coconut curry
Soup placed on a table with herbs set up to serve as aesthetic pieces.

There’s no catch—just hot and delicious soup to end your day with! You can grab yours today at either of the following locations:

  • Humber College North campus: IGNITE Student Centre, KX202.
  • Humber College Lakeshore campus: Humber Arts & Media Studios, 300 Birmingham St.

Whether you’re cooking at home or heating up a bowl from our Soupbar, IGNITE wants your next meal to truly satisfy.

Now that you know how to finesse your food prep, here are 5 quick and easy lunch ideas to try.

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