For young Indigenous Canadians embarking on their post-secondary journey, balancing a tight budget can be as challenging as managing course loads and new experiences. However, eating on a budget doesn’t mean sacrificing nutrition or straying from your cultural heritage. In fact, by incorporating Indigenous wisdom and embracing cost-effective ingredients, you can nourish your body, celebrate your traditions, and make every dollar count. In this article, we will explore a variety of budget-friendly recipes tailored to the needs and tastes of new post-secondary students.

Lentil and Vegetable Soup

Lentils are not only highly nutritious but also affordable, making them an ideal ingredient for budget-conscious students. In a large pot, combine cooked lentils with an array of seasonal vegetables like carrots, onions, celery, and kale. Add vegetable broth, herbs like thyme or rosemary, and a touch of salt and pepper. Simmer until the vegetables are tender and the flavours have melded together. This hearty and budget-friendly soup is packed with fiber, protein, and essential vitamins.

Indigenous Taco Bowl

Create a flavourful and affordable Indigenous twist on a classic taco by replacing expensive proteins like beef or chicken with budget-friendly options like black beans or ground turkey. Season the protein with a combination of Indigenous spices such as chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika. Serve it over a bed of affordable cooked rice or quinoa, and top it with fresh ingredients like diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, chopped cilantro, and a dollop of plain yogurt or homemade salsa.

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry

Sweet potatoes and chickpeas are both budget-friendly ingredients that can be transformed into a delicious and nutritious curry. In a large skillet, sauté diced sweet potatoes, chickpeas, onions, and garlic in a fragrant blend of Indian spices like curry powder, turmeric, and cumin. Add coconut milk and let the flavors meld together as the sweet potatoes become tender. Serve the curry over cooked rice or with warm naan bread for a filling and economical meal.

Indigenous Wild Rice Casserole

Wild rice, a staple in many Indigenous communities, can form the foundation of a budget-friendly and satisfying casserole. Cook wild rice according to the package instructions. In a baking dish, combine the cooked wild rice with affordable vegetables like corn, peas, and carrots. For added flavour, mix in shredded chicken or diced tofu. Season with salt, pepper, and herbs like thyme or sage. Top with a sprinkle of cheese or breadcrumbs and bake until bubbly and golden. This comforting casserole celebrates Indigenous ingredients while being easy on the wallet.

Berry Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Start the day off right with budget-friendly homemade breakfast bars that are not only convenient but also packed with nutrients. In a mixing bowl, combine rolled oats, dried berries (such as cranberries or blueberries), chopped nuts, and a sweetener of your choice like honey or maple syrup. Press the mixture into a baking pan and bake until golden brown. These bars can be made in advance and stored for a quick and nourishing breakfast or snack on the go.

By embracing these budget-friendly recipes, you can nourish your body, honour your cultural heritage, and make your post-secondary experience more financially manageable. With a little creativity and a focus on nutritious and cost-effective ingredients, you can foster a sense of pride in your heritage while enjoying delicious and wholesome meals. Remember, nourishment is not a luxury but a fundamental right, and these recipes will ensure that you can thrive on your post-secondary journey without compromising your well-being or financial stability.

Chelsea Reid Headshot

Paige Hill

Mentorship Advocate, Indspire

Join Rivers to Success.

Signing up is quick and easy.