Cooking healthy meals doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. On the contrary, healthy meals can be made with many of the items you probably already have on hand in your kitchen and in only a short amount of time. If you are looking for some culinary inspiration for your own weekly menu, here are five healthy meal ideas that are also budget friendly.
Breakfast is a delicious meal any time of day; brunch, lunch, even dinner, you can never go wrong with breakfast. Whip up eggs any way you please and add your favorite vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms, onions and spinach. Top with fresh avocado slices and serve with a side of diced potatoes, toast or another breakfast favorite like bacon or sausage and you have a complete and relatively inexpensive meal. A breakfast hash or quiche can also be a delicious way to use leftovers.
Broth may not be considered a meal in itself, but broth can be used as the base for homemade soups, stews and other recipes. One of the wonderful things about broth is that it can be created from almost any vegetable scraps you have leftover from the cooking and preparation process of other meals. Think of things like carrot tops, fennel fronds, garlic and onion skins even herb stems. As you prepare vegetables for other meals, save these food scraps and re-purpose them for a homemade batch of broth that you can use for your next pot of homemade soup.
Oatmeal can be enjoyed for more than just breakfast. Oats are super inexpensive and it only takes a half cup to create one full serving. Whether you enjoy overnight oats chilled or a hot bowl of oats, oatmeal is incredibly diverse and can be made sweet or even savory. If you prefer to create a sweet bowl of oatmeal, add a spoonful or two of nut butter and fresh fruit slices like apples, bananas, berries or peaches. You can even add a drizzle of natural sweetener like agave, honey or maple syrup. Other additional oatmeal toppings include artisan chocolate chunks, cinnamon or ginger. Looking for an added crunch? Toss in a handful of nuts.
Another easy and inexpensive meal is minestrone or vegetable soup. Simply grab your homemade batch of vegetable stock (as listed above), collect any stray vegetables fresh from your backyard garden or grab any vegetables you have in your refrigerator (I am looking at you bag of carrots that have been sitting there forever) and start cooking. For an added layer of flavor and nutrition, toss in a handful of your favorite go-to grain or legume that you love and create a beautiful batch of minestrone soup. Beans are bountiful in protein while grains include fiber, which will keep your stomach satiated and your tastebuds satisfied.
#5 Stir Fries
Sick of soup? Make a homemade stir fry. Add fresh vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, corn, mushrooms, onions and anything else you can think of. Add a protein source like chicken, grass-fed beef, pork or seafood like shrimp and serve over a bed of couscous, quinoa or rice. Add a drizzle of your favorite sugar-free or low-sugar stir fry sauce then top with a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Serve and enjoy!
Tip: Cauliflower stalks, radish leaves and coriander roots can all be incorporated into stir fries for an added burst of flavor.
Cooking healthy meals on a budget doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, all you need is some culinary creativity and a few inexpensive ideas. Bon appetit!