A bowl of spaghetti

Cooking on a Budget? Try These Simple, Inexpensive Meals

Cheap Healthy Meals to Enjoy at Home

Having to meal prep and budget at the same time might sound overwhelming, but the two often go hand in hand. Having a predetermined budget will help make it easier to select ingredients to make meals for the coming week. As a result, having cheap healthy meals ready for yourself and your family is easier than you may think.

Yes, some time and effort is required to plan in advance. However, we’ve put together a list of five meals that are sure to please even picky eaters.

Crock Pot Low-Calorie Lemon Chicken

This cheap healthy meal can cook away in your crockpot while you are at work. The dish tastes wonderfully fresh due to the zing from the lemons and despite being calorie-friendly, it will keep you full until breakfast.


  •  4 boneless skinless chicken breasts.
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon-pepper seasoning.
  • 1 pound of assorted fresh vegetables, chopped.
  • 10 ounces of cream of chicken soup.
  • 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary, crushed.
  • 1 teaspoon of mixed Italian herbs.


  1. Coat the chicken with the lemon-pepper seasoning.
  2. Coat a medium-sized non-stick pan with oil and warm over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, for five minutes, or until browned on both sides.
  4. Place the chicken in a crock-pot and add the vegetables.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the soup, half a can of water, the rosemary and the mixed Italian herbs.
  6. Pour this mixture over the vegetables and chicken.
  7. Cover and cook on a low heat for eight hours, or on high for four hours.

Mama’s World-Famous Spaghetti

This yummy spaghetti recipe is delicious. This dish takes a little longer to cook, so you may want to make it a weekend dish. Plus, we can see it being the perfect Saturday night dinner. You could make a large batch and store in the refrigerator to be used when you need a quick dinner throughout the week.


  • 2 pounds of Italian sausage, casings removed.
  • 1 small onion, chopped.
  • 3–4 garlic cloves, minced.
  • 1 (28 ounces) can of diced tomatoes.
  • 2 (6 ounces) cans of tomato paste.
  • 2 (15 ounces) cans of tomato sauce.
  • 2 cups of water.
  • 3 teaspoons basil.
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes.
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons brown sugar.
  • 1 teaspoon salt.
  • 1⁄4-1⁄2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes.
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon fresh coarse ground black pepper.
  • 1⁄4 cup red wine.
  • 1 pound of thin spaghetti.
  • Parmesan cheese to serve.


  1. In a large, heavy stockpot, brown the Italian sausage, breaking it up as you stir.
  2. Add the onions and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are softened.
  3. Add the garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water.
  4. Add basil, parsley, brown sugar, salt, crushed red pepper, and black pepper.
  5. Stir well and bring to a boil.
  6. Stir in the red wine.
  7. Simmer on a low heat, stirring frequently for at least an hour. A longer simmer makes for a better sauce; be careful not to let it burn!
  8. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions.
  9. Spoon sauce over drained spaghetti noodles and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese

Carrot and Cilantro Soup

The great thing about this soup is that it can be made in large batches, so you can freeze it and heat it up on busy days. Just be sure that the soup is fully heated up again, either on the stove or in the microwave. Nothing beats a cheap healthy meal that makes leaves loads of leftovers.


  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  • 1 small onion, chopped.
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed.
  • 1 pound of carrots, roughly chopped.
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin.
  • 1 teaspoons of ground coriander/cilantro seeds.
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
  • 1.5 pints of low salt vegetable stock.
  • Small bunch of fresh cilantro.


  1. Using a medium-sized saucepan, fry the onions and carrots in the oil until the onions start to soften
  2. Stir in the ground spices and garlic.
  3. Add in the vegetable stock and half of the fresh cilantro; once the water is brought to boil, simmer for around 20 minutes until the carrots are tender.
  4. Carefully blend the soup (either in a blender or with a hand blender). Be careful as the soup will be very hot, so it may be best to do it in two batches.
  5. Return to pan and add in the remaining fresh cilantro and bring everything up to the desired heat.

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Vegetable Enchiladas

Enchiladas are a constant favorite in many homes, and this vegetable version packs a real punch. We like making this meal on a Saturday night, accompanied by a big bowl of healthy rice with salad and tortilla chips on the side. This is a meal that is fun to make and even more fun to taste


  • 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter, divided.
  • 5 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
  • 12 corn tortillas.
  • 1 onion, minced.
  • 4 cups of unpeeled zucchini, grated.
  • 3⁄4 cup of black olives.
  • 1 (4 ounces) can of diced chili.
  • Minced garlic cloves (to taste).
  • 1 can of reduced sodium black beans.
  • 2 cups of Monterey Jack cheese, grated.
  • 20 fluid ounces of homemade enchilada sauce, or a canned equivalent.
  • 1 1⁄2 cups of cheddar cheese, grated.


  1. In a large frying pan, melt 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
  2. Heat the butter and oil together and fry the tortillas for about 5 seconds on each side.
  3. Remove as soon as they become limp and drain on paper towels.
  4. In a separate pan, sauté the onion in the remaining butter until it’s transparent.
  5. Stir in the zucchini, olives, garlic, black beans, chili, and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Sauté for 5 minutes.
  7. Heap a rounded ¼ cup of the sautéed mixture in the center of each tortilla.
  8. Top with a heaped tablespoon of Monterey Jack cheese.
  9. Roll up and place seam-side down in a 9 x 13-inch dish.
  10. When all the tortillas are rolled, pour the enchilada sauce on top, and top with cheddar cheese.
  11. Enchiladas may be covered and refrigerated overnight at this point.
  12. Bake uncovered in a preheated oven at 350°F for 15 minutes.
  13. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and green onions.

Healthy Lentil Burgers

This lentil burger is a great alternative to a traditional cheeseburger and is a great way to boost your vegetable intake. It’s a fun recipe to make with the family, and the more you cook them, the easier it gets. These lentil burgers may take a little longer to prepare but everything can be done in advance. The preparation is also a good activity for children to take part in, and allows them to begin understanding some aspects about eating healthy.


  • 1 large clove of garlic, peeled.
  • 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt.
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts, toasted.
  • 2 slices of whole-wheat sandwich bread.
  • 1 teaspoon of dried marjoram.
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper.
  • 1 1/2 cups of cooked or canned (rinsed) lentils.
  • 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce.
  • 3 teaspoons of canola oil, divided.
  • 4 whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted.
  • 4 pieces of leaf lettuce.
  • 4 slices of tomato or jarred roasted red pepper.
  • 4 thin slices of red onion.


  1. Coarsely chop the garlic; sprinkle with salt and mash into a paste with the side of a knife.
  2. Coarsely chop the walnuts in a food processor. Add the bread, marjoram, pepper, and the garlic paste; process until coarse crumbs form.
  3. Add the lentils and Worcestershire; process until the mixture just comes together in a mass.
  4. Form into four 3-inch patties (about 1/3 cup each).
  5. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook the patties until they’re browned on the bottom, 2–4 minutes. Carefully turn them over, and reduce heat to medium-low.
  6. Drizzle the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil around the burgers and cook until they’re browned on the other side and heated through, roughly 4–6 more minutes.
  7. Serve on buns with the lettuce, tomato (or red pepper), and onion.