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35 Cheap And Healthy Meals For When Youre On A Budget

While maintaining a healthy diet on a limited budget can seem daunting, it’s achievable with some strategic planning and effort. This comprehensive collection of 35 meals offers an impressive array of nutritious and delectable options that won’t put a strain on your wallet.

Whether you’re in the market for a speedy weeknight meal or a special occasion feast, this list has something for everyone. The diversity of dishes includes comforting soups and stews, vibrant stir-fries teeming with fresh vegetables, and satisfying pasta dishes that are sure to please even the most discerning palates.

What’s more, each dish is crafted using only the freshest, whole ingredients, ensuring that you can serve them to your loved ones with confidence. So, if you’re seeking inspiration for healthy meals on a budget, be sure to explore this exhaustive list of 35 affordable and nutritious meal ideas. You won’t be disappointed!

35 Budget-Friendly and Healthy Meals

Vegetable Stir-Fry


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Embracing the versatility of this meal, you can effortlessly utilize any vegetables lingering in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer. To elevate its satiety level, consider adding a serving of rice or quinoa, transforming it into a satisfying and nutritious option.

Lentil and Vegetable Soup


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Incorporating lentils into your diet can be a nutritious and filling choice, as they provide a significant amount of protein and fiber. When combined with an assortment of vegetables and rich broths, lentil-based soups can prove particularly satisfying, providing sustained energy for hours to come.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Bowls


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With its impressive nutritional profile, this meal truly stands out as a health champion. The sweet potato brings an array of essential vitamins to the table, while the black beans contribute a valuable dose of fiber and protein, making for a well-rounded and satisfying culinary experience.

Chickpea Salad


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Prepare yourself for the ultimate convenience in meal prep with this innovative salad recipe. By combining the protein-rich goodness of chickpeas with an assortment of crunchy vegetables, a tangy dressing, and a generous serving of leafy greens, you’ll be enjoying a satisfying and wholesome lunch that’s as easy to make as it is to devour.

Quinoa and Vegetable Stuffed Bell Peppers


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Bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C, a vital nutrient that plays a crucial role in fortifying the immune system. When stuffed with quinoa and various vegetables, they make for a nutritious and satisfying meal option.

Spicy Tuna Bowl


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Packed with protein, canned tuna is an economical choice that can be easily elevated into a satisfying meal. Try mixing it with a tangy sauce, fluffy rice, and a medley of sautéed vegetables to create a nutritious and flavorful bowl that’s sure to please.

Lentil Tacos


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Offering a fantastic plant-based option, these tacos showcase the versatility and nutritional benefits of lentils. As a rich source of both fiber and protein, lentils bring a significant amount of value to any dish, making them an exceptional choice for those looking to reduce their meat intake.

Vegetarian Chili


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Warm up on a chilly evening with this hearty and wholesome chili, packed with an abundance of vegetables, beans, and aromatic spices. The perfect remedy for a cold winter’s night.

Avocado Toast with Egg


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While avocado toast is a straightforward and nutritious choice for either a morning meal or afternoon pick-me-up, consider elevating it to a more satisfying and filling option by incorporating a rich source of protein like an egg.

Greek Yogurt Smoothie Bowl


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Greek yogurt is a standout dairy product, boasting impressive levels of protein and calcium. Its unique characteristics make it an ideal base for a nutritious breakfast, especially when paired with a medley of fresh fruits and crunchy granola.

Roasted Veggie Quinoa Bowls


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Unlocking the natural sweetness of vegetables through roasting, this cooking technique elevates their flavors while creating a satisfying and wholesome meal experience when paired with quinoa. A nutritious and filling combination that’s sure to please even the most discerning palates.

Baked Salmon with Vegetables


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Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon offers a potent anti-inflammatory punch that can have a profound impact on overall health. When paired with a variety of colorful vegetables, baking this nutritious fish creates a well-rounded and flavorful meal option that’s perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or special occasion.

Thai Peanut Noodles


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Indulge in this savory and protein-packed meal, elevated by the rich flavors of peanut sauce and satisfying noodles. Boost its nutritional profile further by incorporating an assortment of colorful vegetables.

Zucchini Noodles with Marinara


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While traditional pasta can be high in carbs, zucchini noodles offer a tasty and nutritious low-carb alternative. By topping these ‘zoodles’ with a rich marinara sauce and an assortment of colorful vegetables, you can create a well-rounded and satisfying meal that’s both healthy and flavorful.

Mushroom and Spinach Quesadillas


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To create a satisfying and affordable meal, start by cooking a flavorful base of sautéed mushrooms and spinach with garlic. Once tender, fill whole-wheat tortillas with the mixture and top with shredded cheese. Then, simply cook the filled tortillas in a skillet until crispy, resulting in a nutritious and budget-friendly option that’s perfect for any time of day.

Sweet Potato Hash


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Sweet potatoes offer an impressive nutritional profile, boasting high levels of dietary fiber, essential vitamins, and valuable minerals. When combined with a medley of favored vegetables and a protein source of choice, they form the foundation for a satisfying and wholesome meal experience.

Hummus and Vegetable Wrap


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A nutrient-dense duo, hummus offers a substantial amount of both protein and fiber. When paired with an array of colorful vegetables and wrapped in a whole-grain tortilla, this combination yields a satisfying and flavorful meal option that’s ideal for a speedy lunch.

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables


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When it comes to nutritious ingredients, quinoa stands out as a top contender. Not only is it an excellent source of protein, but it’s also rich in dietary fiber. Pair it with a medley of roasted vegetables and your go-to dressing for a filling meal that will keep you satisfied until the next one.

Stuffed Acorn Squash


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Rich in vitamins A and C, acorn squash plays a vital role in boosting the immune system. This versatile vegetable can be transformed into a nutrient-dense meal by filling its cavity with a mix of wholesome grains and vegetables, offering a delightful combination of flavor and nutrition.

Tuna Salad Lettuce Wraps


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A readily available and budget-friendly option, tuna offers a substantial boost to your daily protein intake. When paired with crisp lettuce leaves and served as a salad, this versatile ingredient transforms into a nutritious and filling meal that’s sure to hit the spot.

Omelette with Veggies


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Protein-packed eggs offer endless versatility, allowing you to incorporate a variety of vegetables into your meal. Whether you’re seeking a nutritious breakfast or a satisfying dinner, whipping up an omelette is a great way to get started.

Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry

Transform your taste buds with a rich and aromatic curry featuring the humble cauliflower, creamy canned chickpeas, and an expertly blended mix of spices. Pair this flavorful dish with a comforting serving of fluffy rice or crispy naan bread to create a satisfying and budget-friendly meal that’s sure to become a new favorite.

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

With its adaptability and affordability, couscous makes an excellent base for a variety of dishes. Consider combining it with a colorful medley of ingredients, such as diced tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, crumbled feta cheese, and a squeeze of lemon juice, all tied together with a drizzle of olive oil. This effortless salad not only satisfies our taste buds but also provides a nutritious and rejuvenating meal option.

Turkey Meatballs with Veggie Sauce

By incorporating these meatballs into your diet, you can easily boost your intake of lean protein. But that’s not all – pair them with a rich and flavorful vegetable-based sauce, and you’ve got yourself a well-rounded meal that will keep you satisfied until the next one.

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Ground Turkey

Craft a nutrient-dense filling by incorporating lean ground turkey into your bell pepper recipe. This protein-rich component pairs perfectly with the natural sweetness of the bell peppers when combined with a medley of vegetables, cooked rice, and a flavorful tomato sauce. The result is a well-rounded and satisfying meal that’s sure to please even the pickiest eaters.

Cottage Cheese Pancakes

A high-protein breakfast option can be achieved by combining the nutritional benefits of cottage cheese with the simplicity of a pancake recipe. By mixing cottage cheese with eggs, oats, and desired seasonings, one can create a stack of fluffy pancakes that not only provides a boost of protein but also offers a cost-effective and wholesome meal solution.

Homemade Veggie Pizza

Transforming the classic pizza experience, start by crafting your own pie featuring a nutritious whole-wheat crust. Then, take it to the next level by topping it with a generous helping of part-skim mozzarella cheese and an assortment of your favorite vegetables. Not only will this creation satisfy your cravings, but it’s also a more cost-effective and wholesome alternative to ordering in.

Tofu and Vegetable Stir Fry

Packed with plant-based protein at an affordable price point, tofu is an excellent addition to any meal. Simply sauté the versatile ingredient alongside a medley of colorful vegetables and a savory stir-fry sauce, then pair it with brown rice or noodles for a well-rounded and nutritious culinary experience.

Pasta with Pesto and Cherry Tomatoes

Pairing whole-wheat pasta with a rich and flavorful pesto sauce is a match made in heaven. To elevate this classic combination, simply add in some halved cherry tomatoes that burst with juicy sweetness. This straightforward yet satisfying pasta dish is not only delicious but also easy on the wallet.

Black Bean and Corn Salad

Indulge in a vibrant and nutritious salad crafted with the harmonious union of black beans, sweet corn, tangy red onions, and a revitalizing lime dressing. This fiber-rich delight is not only an affordable meal option but also ideal for alfresco gatherings or spontaneous evening meals.

Egg and Veggie Breakfast Burritos

Kick-start your day with a nutritious twist on traditional scrambled eggs. Combine fluffy eggs with your favorite sautéed veggies, such as spinach, mushrooms, and bell peppers, then wrap them in whole-grain tortillas for a filling breakfast or dinner option that’s both satisfying and healthy.

Honey Mustard Glazed Chicken

Savoring the sweet and tangy union of honey and mustard, this uncomplicated yet mouthwatering chicken recipe presents a delightful solution for a quick and budget-friendly meal. To prepare, simply coat chicken pieces in a rich honey mustard glaze and let the oven do its magic until the meat is cooked through to perfection. Serve with your preferred accompaniments and indulge in the harmonious balance of flavors.

Brown Rice and Lentil Pilaf

Savory goodness awaits in this harmonious union of nutty brown rice, protein-packed lentils, and an array of aromatic spices. This frugal yet satisfying meal offers a nutritious and filling solution for a wholesome evening repast.

Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

Kick-start your day with a deliciously healthy breakfast or treat yourself to a guilt-free dessert by layering low-fat yogurt with an assortment of fresh or frozen fruits and crunchy granola. This straightforward yet satisfying combination checks all the boxes for being quick, budget-friendly, and nutritious.

Cabbage and Sausage Skillet

A cost-effective way to savor a wholesome meal is by pan-frying cabbage with sliced sausage and your preferred seasonings, creating a satisfying and filling dish. When it comes to maintaining good health without straining your wallet, the key lies in exercising imagination and foresight. With a repertoire of 35 budget-friendly, nutritious meals at your disposal, you can effortlessly prioritize your overall well-being while staying within your means.