There are plenty of ways to keep costs down and be healthy on a budget. From making meal plans to growing your own garden, follow a few of our tips!
For many families, "budget" is a dreaded word. The idea of having to tighten the purse strings when it comes to finances and budgeting can seem pretty difficult. The same goes for the dreaded grocery list! Fortunately, there are ways that you can keep calories down and stay healthy on a budget. Whether you meal plan or buy items offering more bang for your buck, there are many ways to get healthy!
It can be hard to know where to begin at the grocery store for a budget-friendly diet. The following foods are a good place to start when it comes to cheap but healthy eating:
The key to eating healthy on a budget is finding filling foods that pack plenty of nutrients like protein, vitamins, minerals, complex carbs, and fiber. It also doesn’t mean that you have to be “dieting” with a measly meal plan filled with cabbage soup and celery. Nutritious foods require balance and adequate calories. Traditional budget-friendly recipes can often be packed with sodium, empty carbs, and non-healthy fats that won’t keep you feeling your best. While spaghetti and meat sauce or ramen noodles can be a life-saver in a pinch, you don’t make a habit of serving it too often for family dinner. Or, you can add some extra veggies to the sauce to boost the nutritional value.
Many people think that eating healthy food costs a bundle. But there are actually plenty of ways to keep costs down and still be kind to your body. Share these tips with other budget-minded parents on FamilyApp!
There are plenty of healthy, budget-friendly recipes that are more satisfying than plain salad and carrot sticks. Here are some of my favorite recipes for healthy meals on a budget:
One of my favorite ways to save money and eat well with a quick recipe is to make “bowls” that I can modify to switch things up. They always have four components: A grain, vegetable, protein, and sauce. Here are some ideas for things you can put into your homemade, protein-rich savory bowls:
Roast bell peppers, cauliflower, onion, sweet potato, broccoli, carrots with fajita seasoning. Whether you’re growing produce in your own vegetable garden or finding vegetables on sale at the grocery store, nothing will ever be healthier than fresh, unprocessed veggies. With a scoop of brown rice, this becomes a hearty and nutritious vegan meal. If you do eat meat, try adding ground turkey or your favorite lean meat.
Not too heavy but still hearty, this is a great recipe for any occasion. For this recipe, start by heating 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add 1 diced carrot, 2 diced large stalks of celery, 1 diced small, yellow onion, and 1/2 tsp kosher salt and stir to combine. Cover and let the vegetables sweat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).
Add 1 cup of dried red lentils, 4 cups of low-sodium broth, and 1 bay leaf and bring up to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer, covered until the lentils begin to fall apart (about 20 minutes). Turn off the heat and stir in 2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice. Taste and season with salt as needed. Ladle into bowls and serve with toppings if desired. You'll definitely want this to simmer on the stove for a cool fall night!. This coconut lentil soup is another delicious option if you're looking for something extra creamy.
One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it can use leftover rice! Because who among us hasn’t made a ridiculous amount of rice? Start by whisking together soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger in a medium bowl until just combined. Then combine the rice, tofu, and vegetables in a separate bowl. Add the sauce and gently fold together with a rubber spatula until the rice is fully coated. Spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet and cover it with aluminum foil. Bake at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until slightly browned, another 12 to 15 minutes. Garnish with chopped scallions and serve with hot sauce, if desired.
Pepper & Onion Frittata– A lot of people take eggs for granted, but they’re one of the most versatile foods in your kitchen. All you have to do is sauté veggies, add some eggs and cook it all in the oven for a satisfying, budget-friendly meal. You can even include all of your favorite fixings!
Bright and delicious breakfast treat
shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
fresh minced basil
sweet red peppers (chopped)
sweet yellow pepper (chopped)
sweet orange pepper (chopped)
garlic cloves (minced)
shredded parmesan cheese
Colorful Pepper and Onion Frittata
Preheat oven to 350°.
Whisk together first four ingredients.
Stir in mozzarella cheese and basil.
In a 10-in. cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir 2 minutes.
Add peppers; cook and stir until tender, 3-4 minutes. Stir in garlic; cook 1 minute.
Pour in egg mixture; remove from heat. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Bake, uncovered, until eggs are completely set, 20-25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut into wedges.
Oatmeal is one of the best affordable breakfasts meals. Be sure to buy the large container of steel-cut oats that’s much cheaper than smaller single-serving packets with added sugar. Combine your milk, oats, and mix-ins the night before and pop them in the fridge to avoid extra work in the morning. Top with bananas, cinnamon, brown sugar, vanilla, raisins, chopped almonds, chia seeds, or whatever toppings you want! With steel-cut oats, you can also make baked oatmeal if you want a hot dish in the morning.
Eggs are one of the most affordable, nutritious ingredients you can buy. Whether you make an omelet with spinach and tomatoes, or a fried egg sandwich with whole-grain English muffin and a slice of cheddar cheese, eggs will always be a budget-friendly option for breakfast or even breakfast-for-dinner!
With two simple ingredients, 1/2 cup of coconut milk and 2 Tablespoons of chia seeds, you can make a satisfying and tasty breakfast pudding that you can easily customize. Not only that, it's high in fiber, high in protein, and contains lots of healthy fat. Add vanilla, sweetener, fruit, or nuts to your own taste! Pop them in the fridge overnight, and you'll have a delicious breakfast, snack, or treat waiting for you the next day! Here are some more fantastic chia seed pudding options!
It might seem like eating healthy and staying on a budget is difficult, but there are ways to make it work! By buying bulk and planning your meals, you’ll have plenty of favorite foods to work with and create a balanced diet. Do you have a favorite eating healthy on a budget app? Share it with other economical eaters in our comments! Whether you start a garden or clip for coupons, there’s no reason your food plan can’t be budget-friendly.