How to Create Delicious, Healthy Meals on a Budget
Cooking delicious, affordable meals does not always translate to eating unhealthily. While it can be tricky to master healthy meals on a budget at first (especially when you feel like you need a small cash loan just to cover your groceries), it’s not impossible! To help you, we’ve pulled together our favourite recipes and tips for creating healthy meals on a budget. Read on to learn more.
- How can I eat healthy and cheaply? 5 tips
- 5 healthy meals on a budget
How can I eat healthily and cheaply? 5 tips
1. Plan your supermarket run properly
Planning a shopping list before you head to the supermarket is a great way to save money. By looking at catalogues in supermarkets, you can easily see what’s on sale and in season, and plan meals accordingly. If you have competing supermarkets close to one another, it might also be beneficial to find the cheapest options for your meals to maximise savings.
Click and collect options are also valuable, as the temptation to wander through the snack or chocolate aisle can be completely avoided if you are simply going into the supermarket to pick up your groceries. But most importantly, the golden rule when it comes to grocery shopping is always this: don’t go on an empty stomach.
2. Cook large portions and freeze them
Cooking meals at home is the first step to making meals much more affordable. Cooking in bulk is even better, as it ensures there’s food readily available throughout the week. This means lunches for work are always easy, and if there are frozen meals ready in the freezer, there’s less incentive to order UberEats on a lazy night because you’ll have healthy, tasty food that just needs to be heated up!
Cooking larger portions can also save money, as some ingredients can be cheaper to buy in bulk, like cheese, meat and rice. In the case of cheese, pre-sliced or shredded cheese can also attract higher costs, but this is very simple to do at home.
3. Grow your own produce
Tending to a garden is a highly rewarding experience, and all the more so when you can benefit by eating the things you grow! Supermarket herbs can be very expensive, so maintaining a small herb garden can save a lot of money in the long run. Similarly, using vertical space for things like tomatoes, and ground space for whatever delicious fruits and vegetables you like to eat can mean dinner is even cheaper and more satisfying! Seeds are cheap, so there’s no risk in trying and you might be rewarded with some great organic produce.
4. Always buy produce that is in season
With particular fruit and veg being grown at specific times of the year, it’s important to keep an eye out for what’s readily in season. These will be much cheaper as they are produced locally rather than imported. Although spending five or more dollars on one punnet of strawberries might seem like a good idea in the short term, keep in mind that five dollars can likely buy you several kilograms of other fruit and veg, particularly at local markets. To make this even easier, plan meals around what vegetables are readily available to ensure you aren’t paying too much.
5. Keep it simple
When you’re learning how to cook healthy meals on a budget, the key is simplicity. Choose 3 elements: protein, vegetables and carbs. Then dress them up in different ways! Limit each recipe to one “expensive” ingredient and cheap out on the rest. For example, if you are making a pasta bake, spend most of the money on the cheese and buy cheap pasta and veggies.
With all of this in mind, here are a few quick, easy healthy meals to get you started.
5 healthy meals on a budget
Roast and veg
Pick a cheap cut of meat, a jar of seasoning and some potatoes and other veg to roast. You can either cook the meat in the oven or opt for a slow cooker, which can make any piece of meat tender. Depending on what cut of meat you choose, this one can be as cheap as $2.50 per serving.
Another super simple and healthy meal on a budget. For this one you can either pick one main vegetable or try a bag of mixed frozen veggies to mix through. Pick a sauce, and sprinkle some cheese on top. This one pictured is broccoli and cheese sauce. Try tomato sauce with olives or pesto sauce with pine nuts.
The cost for this one can easily blow out, so follow this one simple rule: cut everything yourself! Buying pre-cut meat and veggies makes this way more expensive than it should be. If you are worried about cooking too much at once, cut your veg and bag them in individual portions. You can even freeze them with the sauce in the bag for a ready-to-fry portion.
Bangers and mash
In order to make this one healthy, you’ll need to add some colour! Add a healthy side serve of veg and dress up this old classic for a super easy, cheap healthy meal.
This take-out favourite can be healthy with a few tweaks! Stick to brown rice (the texture and flavour is richer and you’ll stay fuller for longer). Then add lots of veg and go light on the oil. This one is great for meal prep, which means you can make a big batch and freeze it for later.
We hope you’ve found some inspiration for creating healthy meals on a budget. As you can see, a little creativity and extra work in the kitchen go a long way! If you’ve been hit by a few bills at once or just need a little bit of cash to get you through the weekend, Swoosh is here to help. You can apply for a secured loan up to $5000, even if you have bad credit. If you have any questions about our small personal loans, please get in touch with our friendly and helpful team.
Healthy meals on a budget: FAQs
What is the cheapest and healthiest meal?
This would have to be the roast veggies and meat (especially if you opt for cheaper cuts of meat or meat that’s on sale). This is because you’re getting both protein and essential nutrients with the veggies.
What food can I make a lot of for cheap?
The cheapest meal to bulk make is definitely pasta bake, especially if you make it vegetarian. To make it as cheap as possible, buy homebrand pasta, use frozen veggies and bulk buy your cheese.