Skip to Content

45 Cheap Healthy Meals For A Budget-Friendly Diet

Maintaining a healthy diet on a limited budget is an obstacle many of us encounter. The pressure to prioritize nutrition while keeping costs in check can be overwhelming. However, it’s entirely possible to craft nutritious meals that won’t break the bank. This collection of 45 affordable and wholesome meal ideas empowers individuals to stay committed to their dietary goals without sacrificing quality or breaking the bank. Whether you’re starting your day with a hearty breakfast or wrapping up dinner, this comprehensive list has got you covered.

45 Cheap Healthy Meals

Greek Yogurt Parfait

image source

Start your day off right by blending together Greek yogurt, your preferred fruits, and crunchy granola to create a nutritious and satisfying breakfast option that’s sure to keep you energized and focused throughout the morning.

Fruit and Oatmeal Breakfast Bowl

image source

Starting your day with oatmeal can be a nutritious and budget-friendly choice. By incorporating fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey, you can add natural sweetness without compromising on the meal’s overall health quotient.

Brown Rice with Black Beans

image source

Savoring a delectable and wholesome culinary delight, this mouthwatering dish boasts an impressive nutritional profile, boasting a generous helping of protein and a satisfying dose of dietary fiber.

Spaghetti Squash Baked Feta Pasta

image source

When it comes to finding a low-carb substitute for traditional pasta, spaghetti squash stands out as a budget-friendly and nutritious choice. Not only is this option more affordable than many other alternatives, but its mild flavor also makes it an excellent canvas for a wide range of sauces and seasonings.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

image source

It’s time to shatter the misconception that tacos can’t be a nutritious option for your meal. In fact, when made with wholesome ingredients, tacos can be both delicious and good for you. One great example is the sweet potato and black bean taco – a simple yet satisfying dish that’s packed with flavor and nutrients.

Chickpea Curry

image source

Transforming dried chickpeas into a mouthwatering curry is an accessible and budget-friendly endeavor. This humble ingredient, often overlooked in favor of fresh options, holds a wealth of flavor potential when combined with aromatic spices and sautéed vegetables.

Lentil Soup

image source

As a nutritious powerhouse, lentils pack a punch when it comes to fiber and protein content. A hearty pot of lentil soup can be a satisfying and filling option for both lunch and dinner, making it an excellent addition to any meal routine.

Zucchini Noodles with Tomato Sauce

image source

By opting for zucchini noodles, individuals can indulge in a significantly healthier alternative to traditional pasta. To elevate this nutritious choice to new heights, consider topping it with a rich and tangy homemade tomato sauce. The result is a scrumptious meal that not only satisfies the palate but also promotes overall well-being.

Greek Salad

image source

Salads are often misunderstood as being limited to bland and uninspiring creations, but the truth is that they can be incredibly vibrant and satisfying. Take a Greek-inspired salad for example – by combining crumbly feta cheese, briny olives, and juicy tomatoes, you can create a dish that’s not only filling, but also bursting with flavor.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad

image source

A nutrient-dense salad that’s both a satisfying and affordable lunch choice, boasting impressive levels of protein, fiber, and essential vitamins. This simple yet flavorful creation offers a wealth of health benefits without putting a strain on your wallet.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

image source

While bell peppers offer versatility when it comes to stuffing, the options are endless. From traditional combinations like rice, beans, and vegetables, to more creative pairings, the possibilities for filling these sweet treats are limitless.

Cauliflower Fried Rice

image source

Ditch the takeout menu and cook up a delicious homemade cauliflower ‘fried’ rice instead. Not only is this option lower in carbs, but it’s also a healthier alternative that can satisfy your cravings without compromising on taste.

Vegetable Stir-Fry

image source

Transform your dinner routine by crafting a delectable and nutritious stir-fry using your preferred vegetables. Simply combine them with some savory flair and you’ll be serving up a meal that’s both satisfying and good for you.

Baked Salmon with Roasted Vegetables

image source

For those seeking a nutritious dinner option, pairing grilled or baked salmon with a variety of roasted vegetables can be an excellent choice. Not only do these two ingredients complement each other in terms of flavor, but they also provide a boost to your overall health due to the omega-3 fatty acids found in the fish and the vitamins and minerals present in the vegetables.


image source

For a cost-effective and nutritious dinner solution, consider preparing a substantial quantity of chili and preserving any remaining portions in the freezer for future consumption. This approach not only saves money but also promotes a sense of culinary convenience and sustainability.

Roasted Chicken with Vegetables

image source

Whole roasting a chicken is a straightforward and economical option for a satisfying meal. For an even more filling and flavorful experience, pair it with roasted vegetables for a well-rounded dish. Not only does this method provide a nutritious meal, but it’s also easy on the wallet. Try combining it with some of our other healthy meal ideas, such as 35 Healthy Snacks to Power Up Your Day or 35 Quick and Healthy Lunches the Whole Family Will Love, to make mealtimes a breeze.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

image source

Packed with fiber and protein, this hearty chili makes for a nutritious and satisfying meal that won’t break the bank. Whether you’re craving a comforting lunch or a flavorful dinner, this budget-friendly recipe delivers on both fronts.

Baked Crispy Tofu & Peanut Sauce Stir Fry

image source

When it comes to affordable and wholesome protein sources, tofu stands out as a top contender. This versatile ingredient can be easily combined with a medley of roasted or grilled vegetables to create a satisfying and nutritious dinner that won’t break the bank.

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

image source

Innovating on the classic Italian dish, this lasagna recipe makes a remarkable shift towards wholesome goodness by substituting traditional layers with a vibrant medley of roasted vegetables. This creative approach not only reduces the calorie count but also amplifies the flavors and textures, making it an absolute game-changer for those seeking a guilt-free indulgence.

Tomato and Basil Omelet

image source

When it comes to breakfast, omelets offer a convenient and straightforward solution. Elevate this classic dish by incorporating fresh tomato and basil, combining flavors and textures in a nutritious and satisfying meal.

Quinoa Salad with Avocado

Quinoa’s creamy texture pairs perfectly with the richness of avocado when combined in a salad. Add some sweetness from cherry tomatoes, crunch from cucumber, and a burst of citrus flavor from a squeeze of fresh lime juice to create a revitalizing and wholesome dish that will keep you feeling great.

Grilled Vegetable Wrap

Transform your lunchtime routine with a flavorful and nutritious wrap. Simply fire up the grill and toss on a medley of colorful veggies like bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant until they’re tender and lightly charred. Then, wrap these vegetable delights in a whole wheat tortilla for a satisfying and wholesome meal that will keep you going all afternoon.

Hummus and Veggie Sandwich

Transforming a simple whole wheat bread into a nutritious meal, start by spreading a layer of creamy hummus as the base. Then, add some crunch and freshness by topping it with thinly sliced cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, and crisp lettuce leaves. This combination not only satisfies your hunger but also provides a boost of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.

Baked Falafel with Tzatziki Sauce

Transform the flavors of the Middle East in the comfort of your own kitchen by crafting your own falafel from humble canned chickpeas. Simply combine the chickpeas with a blend of aromatic spices, herbs, and breadcrumbs to create a crispy exterior and fluffy interior. Once formed, bake the falafel until golden brown, then serve with a refreshing dollop of homemade tzatziki sauce, crunchy pita bread, and a side of crisp greens for a delightful and satisfying meal.

Black Bean Quinoa Salad

Savoring the perfect blend of textures and flavors, combine cooked quinoa with the trio of nutritious ingredients – black beans, corn, and crunchy bell peppers. Add a sprinkle of fresh cilantro for an explosion of herbal notes that will leave you craving more. This hearty salad is not only a feast for the senses but also packed with protein to keep you energized throughout the day.

Veggie and Bean Burritos

Indulge in a flavorful and nutritious snack by stuffing whole wheat tortillas with a harmonious blend of sautéed vegetables and your preferred type of bean. Once assembled, roll the tortillas up tightly and place them in the oven to bake until they emerge golden brown and satisfyingly crispy.

Tuna and White Bean Salad

Combine the convenience of canned tuna with the nutritional benefits of white beans, sweet and tangy cherry tomatoes, and peppery arugula to create a protein-packed and filling salad that’s perfect for a quick lunch or dinner.

Roasted Cauliflower Tacos

Transform cauliflower florets into a flavorful and nutritious filling by roasting them with aromatic spices until they’re perfectly tender. Then, simply wrap them in tortillas along with your preferred toppings to create a delightful and meat-free taco alternative that’s sure to please.

Caprese Quinoa Salad

Transform the simplicity of cooked quinoa by marrying it with a medley of vibrant ingredients, including succulent cherry tomatoes, creamy fresh mozzarella cheese, fragrant basil leaves, and a rich drizzle of aged balsamic glaze. This harmonious union yields a salad that’s as refreshing as it is delectable.

Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry

Savor the rich flavors of India by crafting a delicious curry featuring sweet potatoes, protein-rich lentils, and an array of aromatic spices. This hearty dish is perfect for serving over fluffy basmati rice or paired with crispy naan bread for a truly satisfying meal.

Greek-style Stuffed Eggplant

Transform eggplant into a delectable Mediterranean-inspired dish by filling its halves with a savory blend of cooked quinoa, juicy tomatoes, briny olives, and crumbly feta cheese. Allow the mixture to meld together as it bakes until tender, releasing an explosion of flavors that will leave you wanting more.

Mexican Quinoa Skillet

Transform the essence of a hearty one-skillet meal by harmoniously combining sautéed aromatics like caramelized onions, crunchy bell peppers, and sweet corn kernels with the nutty goodness of cooked quinoa and the plant-based protein boost from black beans.

Spinach and Mushroom Omelet

In a harmonious blend, whisk together eggs, fresh spinach, and sautéed mushrooms to create a protein-packed breakfast that’s both satisfying and nutritious.

Lentil and Vegetable Curry

For a wholesome and affordable evening meal, combine lentils with a medley of colorful vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, and fresh spinach, all bathed in the rich flavors of a tantalizing curry sauce.

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Transform bell peppers into a flavorful and nutritious treat by stuffing them with a savory blend of cooked rice, black beans, corn, and salsa. The combination of textures and tastes will delight your senses as you bake them until they’re tender and the filling is piping hot.

Quinoa and Black Bean Burgers

To create a savory and plant-based burger, combine cooked quinoa with black beans, breadcrumbs, and a blend of spices for added depth of flavor. Once prepared, serve these unique patties on whole grain buns and customize with your preferred toppings to elevate the overall dining experience.

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

Combine the convenience of canned chickpeas with the vibrant flavors and textures of fresh ingredients like cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and red onion. Add in crumbled feta cheese for an extra boost of protein and a tangy zip from a lemon-herb dressing. This salad is not only a feast for the eyes but also a satisfying and filling meal option.

Asian Stir-Fried Rice Noodles

Indulge in a deliciously simple meal by cooking stir-fry rice noodles with a medley of colorful vegetables, protein-rich options like tofu or succulent shrimp, and a savory soy-based sauce that adds depth to this Asian-inspired culinary delight.

Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry

Transform the flavors of India by cooking cauliflower florets and chickpeas in a rich, aromatic curry sauce infused with the deep warmth of spices. This vegetarian delight can be served steaming hot over fluffy basmati rice or paired with crispy, buttery naan bread for a satisfying meal that’s sure to please even the most discerning palates.

Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms

Transform portobello mushroom caps into savory delights by stuffing them with a medley of flavors. Combine cooked quinoa with wilted spinach, crumbled feta cheese, and crunchy breadcrumbs. Then, place the filled mushrooms on a baking sheet and let them tenderize in the oven until the filling turns golden brown.

Baked Lemon Herb Salmon

Transform your salmon fillets by seasoning them with a blend of aromatic herbs and the brightness of lemon zest. Then, bake them to perfection until they’re flaky and tender. For a well-rounded meal, pair your salmon with a selection of roasted vegetables, their natural sweetness enhanced by the savory flavors of the fish. Alternatively, opt for steamed greens, whose subtle bitterness is beautifully balanced by the richness of the salmon.


To create a vibrant and savory vegetable medley, arrange layer upon layer of sliced zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, and tomatoes within a baking dish. As the layers cook together in the oven, the natural sweetness of each vegetable will meld with the subtle flavors of its neighbors to produce a richly flavored and visually stunning final product.

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Transform bell peppers into a flavorful and nutritious vessel by stuffing them with a harmonious blend of cooked quinoa, black beans, corn, and aromatic seasonings. As the peppers roast in the oven, the filling will absorb all the delightful flavors, resulting in tender peppers and a warm, satisfying dish.

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Transform humble portobello mushroom caps into a culinary masterpiece by filling them with a savory blend of sautéed spinach, crumbled feta cheese, crunchy breadcrumbs, and fragrant herbs. As the mushrooms tenderize in the oven, the filling will golden to perfection, delivering a satisfying and wholesome treat. Meanwhile, remember that eating healthy on a budget is not only achievable but also incredibly empowering. With 45 affordable and nutritious meal options at your fingertips, you can indulge in the flavors and benefits of healthy eating without compromising on your financial goals. As you experiment with various recipes and ingredients, discover what works best for you and treat yourself to a culinary adventure that nourishes both body and soul.