Busy days, busy nights – a reality familiar to most students. When it comes to deadline period or exams, the last thing I want to do is cook. These freezable, make ahead meals will make life a little simpler when you're just too busy to think about shopping for ingredients or cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner. Save time and money, and a little peace of mind, and try out these make ahead meals. 

1. Egg Muffins 

egg, dairy product, cheese, vegetable
Camila Bolívar

The mighty egg – versatile, cheap and oh so delicious. A filling breakfast is vital for a productive day of essay writing, and egg muffins are a perfect meal that you can make ahead of time, freeze and defrost when you need them. You can pack them with veggies, meat, or cheese (or all three) for a satisfying start to the day.

2. Overnight Oats 

Kassie McIntyre

Overnight oats are a brilliant way of making sure you have a good breakfast with minimal effort. With a basic mix of oats, yogurt, your choice of milk and chia seeds, you can make your overnight oats on a Sunday night, pop them in the fridge and have breakfasts ready to go for your busy weekdays! Keep it simple, or add fresh or dried fruit, spices, nuts or seeds to change up your make-ahead oats.

3. Bolognese Sauce

spaghetti, vegetable, meat, pasta, sauce
Katie Elliott

When it comes to Italian cooking, I live and breathe Marcella Hazan – her bolognese meat sauce is a staple make-ahead meal for me. The beauty of a bolognese sauce is that you can add as many vegetables as you want, from carrots and courgettes to peppers and mushrooms – you might be in a rush but at least you'll know you're eating a decent meal. Serve with tagliatelle for the classic dish, or mix with a béchamel sauce and make lasagne

4. Chili 

meat, vegetable
Stephanie Cozza

Chili is simple and hearty, not to mention an easy recipe to make without chipping away too much at your budget. Add as much or as little spice as you like, mix it up by adding some sweet potato, or make it vegetarian. Whatever you decide to do, this staple make-ahead meal is perfect for dinner after a full day of studying.

5. Butternut Squash Soup 

vegetable, sweet, cream, soup
Sarah Silbiger

Fancy something that's hearty, warming, and will generally make you feel great? A good soup is the meal you're looking for. Butternut squash makes fantastic soup for so many reasons. You can roast it for extra flavor, add a multitude of spices, or add cream for an even more satisfying dish. Make a big batch ahead of time, freeze in individual re-sealable bags, and defrost overnight when you're in need of a quick lunch or dinner on a busy day. 

6. Tomato Soup 

garlic, broth, vegetable, lobster bisque, parsley, cream, bread, soup
Hui Lin

When I'm feeling under the weather, or when I'm tired out from late nights at the library (or the pub), tomato soup is my saviour. Instead of spending money on cans of soup at the supermarket, try making your own with a simple base of tomatoes, onions and stock. Easy to make, and even easier to defrost for your lunch or dinner, it's a great meal to prepare ahead of time. Feel like adding a little extra flavour? Try adding lentils, roasted red peppers or chili flakes. 

7. Burgers

meat, hamburger, bread, tomato, beef, bun, lettuce, sandwich
Elena Damon

Whether you're using beef, turkey, fish or grains, burgers should be a staple in your freezer, to pull out and defrost whenever you don't have time to cook. While the beef burger is a classic, try changing it up with a well-seasoned turkey burger for a leaner alternative, or cut out the meat altogether with this chickpea burger recipe.

8. Fishcakes

smoked salmon, salmon steak, sushi, lemon, meat, steak, sashimi, trout, fillet, seafood, fish, salmon
Jonathan Chan

Like burgers, fishcakes are fantastic to make ahead and have in your freezer at all times. Perfect for lunch or dinner paired with a side of veg, they're most definitely worth the longer prep time. Try something a little different with these sweet potato and salmon fishcakes, sardine fishcakes, and spicy crab cakes.

9. Marinated Chicken 

pepper, fillet, pork, barbecue, beef, steak, meat
Alex Weiner

Simple chicken breasts or thighs can be transformed when you marinate them. All you need is your chicken, a re-sealable bag and your ingredients of choice. Try out this honey and mustard marinade, or make your own chicken teriyaki. Once you've marinated and cooked your chicken, let your meat cool down before you freeze it. Otherwise, store in the fridge and enjoy your pre-made lunch for the next few days.

10. Chocolate Brownies

Kristine Mahan

A little bit of sugar never goes amiss after a day of revision or essay writing. The beauty of chocolate brownies goes far beyond their amazing taste – you can freeze them and save them for when you'll need them most! Make these mint chocolate brownies, or try out these flourless brownies for a properly gooey dessert. 

The next time you have an important deadline coming up, when exams are looming, or when you just don't feel like cooking, these make ahead meals will mean fewer stressful moments in the kitchen. There's no need to spend your money on takeout or go without a decent breakfast, lunch or dinner when all you have to do is open your fridge or freezer and choose one of your many made-ahead meals to enjoy!