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How To Cook Healthy On A Budget

June 24, 2021

How To Cook Healthy On A Budget


How To Cook Healthy On A Budget

I think it’s safe to say that by now, we all know eating healthy is very important. Many health problems are caused by bad eating habits, so healthy eating is something you really should focus on.

However, for a lot of people, healthy eating seems intimidating because it seems it’s always so much more expensive. When you can get a Big Mac for a few bucks, who’s going to spend more on something healthy?

Well, that’s not the right attitude. There are many ways you can eat healthy on a budget, without breaking the bank!

There are many healthy dishes that require only a few ingredients that you can whip up super quickly, and there are tons of affordable healthy ingredients you can buy.

Since there are many ways you can buy healthy food at affordable prices, and many tips and tricks for cooking healthy meals without going bankrupt, I am dedicating this post to exactly that – helping you learn how you can regularly cook healthy and delicious meals without breaking the bank.

How To Cook Healthy On A Budget

Let’s get into some of my favorite tips for cooking healthy and mouth-watering meals while being on a budget!

Buy Seasonal Produce

Buying seasonal produce is one of the best tips for cooking on a budget. Seasonal produce is always so much more affordable than produce that’s not in season at the time, and it’s also always healthier, since you know it was able to grow naturally.

So, whenever you’re going grocery shopping, go online and check which fresh veggies and fruits are seasonal at that time, and try to come up with meals that include those ingredients.

To help you, here’s a list of some great produce, categorized by the seasons:


  • Carrots

  • Bell Peppers

  • Spinach

  • Spring Onions

  • Rocket

  • Peas

  • New Potatoes

  • Asparagus

  • Eggplant

  • Cherries

  • Mangoes


  • Broccoli

  • Artichokes

  • Cucumbers

  • Tomatoes

  • Zucchini

  • Sweetcorn

  • Strawberries

  • Blueberries

  • Melon

  • Peaches

  • Green Beans


  • Celery

  • Mushrooms

  • Leeks

  • Butternut Squash

  • Sweet Potatoes and Yams

  • Pumpkin

  • Apples

  • Cranberries

  • Clementines

  • Pears

  • Figs


  • Brussel Sprouts

  • Cauliflower

  • Cabbage

  • Potatoes

  • Kale

  • Pomegranate

  • Oranges

  • Kiwi

  • Beets

  • Lemon

  • Parsnips

Buy In Bulk

Buying in bulk can save you so much money. Food is always cheaper in bulk, so stocking up on some ingredients that you know you’ll need, and that don’t expire super fast, is a great way to stay healthy on a budget.

Here are some things you can buy in bulk, and save up some money:

  • Rice (regular rice, brown rice, etc.)

  • Pasta (regular pasta, whole wheat pasta for a healthier option, etc.)

  • Flour (regular flour, almond flour, oat flour, etc.)

  • Olive oil – it gives you the healthy fats you need when you put it on salads, and when you buy it in bulk, you definitely save some money

  • Oats

Buy Frozen Fruits And Veggies

Frozen fruits and veggies are actually not any less nutritious than fresh veggies. 

So, if something isn’t in season and you want to get it, it would be a much better idea to get it frozen.

Frozen produce is usually more affordable than fresh, and like I mentioned before, fresh produce is much more expensive when it’s not in season compared to when it is in season.

So, when buying something that’s not in season, buying it frozen is saving you some money.

Another plus for buying frozen veggies and fruit is that when produce is picked, it begins losing its nutritional value. So, depending on how much nutrition was in it to begin with, it will probably lose some by the time it gets to your plate. So, when you freeze it, you lock all of the goodness in.

In conclusion, if you’re buying something that isn’t in season, you’re better off buying it frozen!

Meal Planning

Having a meal plan saves you time and money, and it helps tremendously with healthy eating. 

When you have a meal plan, you know exactly what to put on your grocery list, which can help you with budgeting.

It also allows
you to come up with healthy and delicious meals upfront so you always know what to cook next. That will help you avoid the situation that we all know well – you’re hungry, you didn’t plan your meals so you don’t have ingredients you need or you don’t even know what to cook, so you either order some fast food, or you cook ramen noodles. Well, when you create a meal plan, and plan all of your meals ahead, that doesn’t happen anymore!

Meal Prep

Meal prep became super popular over the last decade, and there’s a good reason for it – it not only helps you eat healthier, but it also helps you stay on a budget.

Let’s cover what meal prep even is, if you’re not familiar with it. 

Like the name already says, it’s preparing your food upfront.

Basically, you take a day and cook a larger quantity of food, that will be enough for the week, or enough for a few days.

You store it in the fridge or in the freezer (depending on when you plan on eating it), and when you want to eat, you just reheat it, and you have a healthy, delicious, home cooked meal ready in 5 minutes!

Many people end up eating unhealthy food when they don’t know what to eat (like I mentioned in the previous tip), or when they don’t have time to cook. So, meal prep takes care of both of those problems.

You prepare the food that you planned on in your meal plan in one day, and you have it for the next few days, so you don’t have to worry about cooking on those days. That’s such an easy way to get quick and easy meals all week long.

Here are some meal ideas that would be great for meal prep:

Veggie Burrito Bowl

330 calories


  • ½ cup Beans & legumes, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), cooked – 134 calories

  • ÂĽ cup Guacamole – 105 calories

  • ½ Bell pepper, red – 18.5 calories

  • ½ Bell pepper, yellow – 25 calories

  • 2 cups Leafy greens, raw – 30 calories

  • 1 Tbsp Vinaigrette, light (less than 50 calories per 2 Tbsp) – 17.5 calories

  • 1 Cumin, dash – 0 calories

  • 1 Salt, dash – 0 calories

  • 1 tsp Red pepper flakes, dash – 0 calories


  1. Drain and rinse chickpeas.

  2. Slice veggies.

  3. Spray pan with an oil spray. Cook veggies and chickpeas ~10 minutes, stirring frequently, on medium-low heat.

  4. Combine all ingredients.

  5. Top with seasoning and dressing.

  6. Note: I like Trader Joe’s fat free vinaigrette – but Paul Newman, Whole Foods, etc. all have good light dressings

Broccoli & Shells Bowls

348 calories


  • 2 cups Leafy greens, raw – 30 calories

  • 1 cup Broccoli – 31 calories

  • ½ oz Cheese, Parmesan, shaved (oz) – 55.5 calories

  • â…› cup Walnuts – 96 calories

  • ½ cup Pasta, cooked – 100 calories

  • 1 Salt, dash – 0 calories

  • 1 Pepper, dash – 0 calories

  • 2 Tbsp Vinaigrette, light (less than 50 calories per 2 Tbsp) – 35 calories


  1. Cook pasta as instructed on package.

  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

  3. Top with dressing and seasonings.

  4. Feel free to swap out these nuts for any nut/seed you prefer (roasted & salted are fine!).

  5. No dairy? Use a dairy-free cheese, or avocado or bacon. Gluten free? Use gluten-free pasta.

  6. Note: I like Trader Joe’s fat free vinaigrette – but Paul Newman, Whole Foods, etc. all have good light dressings

Have A Grocery List (And Stick To It)

When you’re going grocery shopping, it is so easy to end up with a huge bill and a cart full of expensive, unhealthy and unnecessary foods.

And that happens when you don’t have a grocery list

When you’re just shopping without a list, you will look at the stuff that you don’t actually need, and you’ll think to yourself “hmm, this seems delicious, I’ll add it to my cart” and then that same thing will happen 15 more times. So, you’ll end up spending waaay more than you actually needed to, and most of it will be random junk food and sweets.

But when you have a list that you prepared based on your meal plan, you know exactly what you need. Those groceries are healthy because you wrote them down based on the healthy meals you planned, and you are sticking to the budget you created.

Pro tip: Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. That makes it extra hard to stick to your list, because you’ll want to eat all of the things you see, and everything will seem even more delicious than it is.

Replace Meat With Other Sources Of Protein

You obviously don’t need to replace meat entirely, but you can definitely make some delicious and healthy meals without any meat in them, since other sources of protein can be much more affordable than expensive cuts of meat.

While pork chops, ground beef, rotisserie chicken, chicken thighs & chicken breasts and steak are all delicious, they can be more expensive than some meat-free options, so having a meat-free dinner every now and then isn’t a bad idea at all.

You just need to know which foods have lots of protein in them (besides meat, obviously).

For example, chickpeas are definitely more affordable than meat, and they are full of protein! They’re a great thing to put in a vegetarian dinner and can
be incorporated into meals in so many different ways.

Another great source of protein are beans. They are not only versatile, delicious, and healthy, but they’re also sooo much less expensive than meat.

A third example of high protein foods to replace pricey cuts of meat would be eggs. They are so much cheaper, have tons of protein, and can be made into so many different meals!

Grow Your Own Food

If you want to have fresh veggies and fruit all the time, and you have a garden, growing your own food would be a great idea!

It’s definitely much more affordable, and it can end up saving you a lot of money down the road, since fruit and veggies are something you regularly buy anyway.

So, if you have a garden, try growing some delicious and fresh veggies and fruits! You may end up liking it.

Another thing that would be amazing to grow is fresh herbs. Fresh herbs are always expensive in markets, and growing your own makes it so much more affordable. Plus, you can even do that if you don’t have a garden but you have a balcony!

Shop On Sales

No, fashion stores aren’t the only place where you should be taking advantage of the sales. 

In grocery stores, many items are on sale very often. So, if you see something is on sale, and you planned on buying it anyway, take advantage of the sale, and buy a little more, if it’s something you regularly get anyway.

That way, you’re saving some money.

However, don’t buy something you don’t need just because it’s on sale! If it’s not on your grocery list, you don’t need it, even if the price is great. Buy unnecessary foods just because they’re on sale is still wasting money.

Get your FREE 1-week meal plan here! 


How To Cook Healthy On A Budget

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