Low cost healthy meals

Hi, I’m on a bit of a budget at the moment. Can any one suggest some cheap meals I can make to help lose weight?

Thanks x


  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,878 Member
    You lose weight with a calorie deficit and you can do that on any type of budget.

    Some of my favorite lower calorie meals are bean soups (black bean or lentil are favorites, chili also), sheetpan dinners with a favorite affordable protein and roasted vegetables (I like tofu for this), and pasta with beans and lots of vegetables.
  • Thank you, I think I just need to think about planning my meals better. X
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 26,132 Member
    Thank you, I think I just need to think about planning my meals better. X

    Yes, cooking from scratch is the most budget-friendly way to cook but does require planning. Rice and beans (bought in big bags not small boxes) are super cheap and filling. Dry beans are cheaper than canned but you have to plan to cook them. (I cook black beans overnight in my slow cooker.) Lentils cook up much faster.

    I shop depending on what's on sale where - I look at the supermarket flyers when they come in and plan meals and shopping.

    Whole chicken is generally the cheapest meat you can buy, and you can get several meals out of it, and make stock from the bones. (I also do this overnight in my crockpot. It is far superior to store-bought stock. I keep it in my freezer in various sized containers.)

    Farmer's markets (which are not in season now where I am) are great sources of inexpensive and great quality produce. (Unless their focus is organic, in which case not so much, in my experience.)

    You said "bit of a budget" - if you were downplaying this, do look into what resources might be available to you. Those programs are there for a reason :)
  • jeagogo
    jeagogo Posts: 179 Member
    I don't have any great recommendations because I'm a lousy cook, but I've been finding a lot of great meal prep and frugal meal videos on Youtube lately. I recommend browsing around there for some inspiration.
  • Leyalin
    Leyalin Posts: 22 Member
    Budget Bytes is my go to for cheap easy recipes.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 26,132 Member
    edited February 2020
    Leyalin wrote: »
    Budget Bytes is my go to for cheap easy recipes.

    I didn't post any actual recipes, because I knew someone would be along with that link :lol:
  • Morganafly
    Morganafly Posts: 22 Member
    Eatthismuch.com Its not very fancy but its full of wonderful recipes and it tells you down to the cent what the meal should cost.
  • MichelleMcKeeRN
    MichelleMcKeeRN Posts: 446 Member
    I think dieting is cheap because you eat so little, lol.
    Homemade oatmeal or eggs for breakfast.
    Chicken, ground turkey or lean meat prepared any way you like (buy what is on sale)
    5pound bag of brown rice
    Big bags of frozen mixed veggies
  • acpgee
    acpgee Posts: 6,972 Member
    There is a BBC series called "Eat Well for Less". If you are not in a country that supports BBC iPlayer I see episodes on youTube. The main themes are:

    1. Cook from scratch and ensure the whole family eats the same meal.
    2. Try supermarket brands instead of big name brands for yoghurt, breakfast cereals and condiments.
    3. Eat vegetarian at least once a week.
    4. Don't pay for any processing you can do yourself. This means no pre-grated cheese, pre-washed salad, skinned de-boned chicken thighs.
  • jennifer6677
    jennifer6677 Posts: 4 Member
    You may benefit from the subreddit eatcheapandhealthy: www.reddit.com/r/eatcheapandhealthy
  • nutmegoreo
    nutmegoreo Posts: 15,532 Member
    Leyalin wrote: »
    Budget Bytes is my go to for cheap easy recipes.

    I was going to suggest this one. Another site I use when trying to empty out my pantry at the end of the month is myfridgefood.com. You enter in whatever you have on hand and it will give you recipes.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 26,132 Member
    I was discussing high fiber foods with someone and found this tidbit about lentils:


    12. Lentils (7.9%)

    Lentils are very cheap and among the most nutritious foods on earth. They’re very high in protein and loaded with many important nutrients.

    Fiber content: 15.6 grams per cup of cooked lentils, or 7.9 per 100 grams
  • gremloBBPT
    gremloBBPT Posts: 48 Member
    edited February 2020
    Leyalin wrote: »
    Budget Bytes is my go to for cheap easy recipes.

    +1 I love that site!

    Do you know what types of food you find filling? Most people find protein, fiber, and/or fat very effective for that. So it might be helpful to think about which foods you like that can provide you with those things, and then selecting the ones that are most affordable and can be eaten within your calorie budget.

    I could rec some meals, but if we have different tastes, that won't help you. For example, I'm a big fan of beans but I know some ppl would hate a meal plan filled with them.
  • lporter229
    lporter229 Posts: 4,907 Member
    You hit the nail on the head when you said you need to think about planning your meals better. That is definitely the key. You can eat nutritious, filling meal within your calorie allowance on any type of budget, but you do need to plan for it. Some low cost and easy options to consider include omelets, stews and stir-frys, especially if you use lots of frozen vegetables. Stock up when they are on sale. Use tofu as a protein or buy chicken breast when it is on sale and freeze it. Chicken cooked in a crock pot with some salsa is another great, versatile and cheap way to make a meal (on a salad, in tacos, or over beans and/or rice).

    Oh, and +1 for the Buget Bytes website. It's awesome. Check out her beef and cabbage stir fry. Super cheap. Super easy. Super filling. Pretty delicious too!
  • shaumom
    shaumom Posts: 975 Member
    I go straight to the crockpot with soups, stews, and chili, when it's a real budget crunch.

    Then - I buy some cheap herb seeds and plant those for the upcoming months (inside or out, depending on weather). Go to some Asian or Indian markets where I can get some very cheap spices in bulk amounts, and also fresh ginger in larger amounts.

    Then I get veg is on the good sales, whatever protein is cheapest (beans or a really good sale on meat). Try and make sure to get onion, as well.

    And then toss these all into the crock pot with some water - veg, protein, herbs and spices and aromatics like onion - and bam, instant tasty food that's pretty healthy, pretty cheap, and also usually pretty low calorie.

    I know some folks get like a taco seasoning to use instead of spices, which might work if you could find a cheap place to get them.