My goal today is to help all you busy people out there master meal prep so you can save money, eat healthy, and get back more of your time so that you can spend it doing what you love.
I have a confession to make. My wife and I really struggle with budgeting.
Don’t get me wrong, we have a budget! But our problem is actually sticking to it.
A few months ago we started to take this more seriously because we knew we weren’t saving to our fullest potential.
The biggest leak in our budget? Overspending on food. And not just a little bit over.
For months straight we were spending over $700/month on groceries. For TWO PEOPLE! The second I found this out, we started finding ways to cut our food spending.
The thing is we didn’t want to go on a ramen and hamburger helper diet.
We both like eating really good food. We also see our health as an investment so we try to eat quality food.
The biggest thing that has helped us is meal prepping. We knew that if we wanted to eat high quality food and stick to our budget that it would take some meal planning. Over the past year I’ve compiled a massive list of cheap meal prep recipes that are all less than $2/ serving!
This post used to just be a massive list of all of these meals, but I wanted to help people figure out how to figure out the nuts and bolts of meal planning!
If you just want to get this list of cheap meal prep recipes, just click this fancy link (50 Cheap Meal Prep Recipes) and it’ll zip you straight down the page.
Want meal planning done for you?
If you don’t want to spend the time meal planning yourself, go check out $5 Meal Plans by Erin Chase! For just $5 a month, she’ll put together a weekly meal plan for you full of cheap and easy to make recipes. This is a cheap way to get your meal planning done for you so you can save time! The best part is… at only $5/month, you’ll still end up saving money!
This meal prep guide is jam packed with info to help you put together a weekly meal plan, meal prep on a budget, and all kinds of other goodies.
I truly think this is the most comprehensive and helpful resource that exists on meal prepping so if you like it, give it a share!
Table of Contents
Use these links to navigate your way to whatever section you want to read:
- What Is Meal Prep?
- What Are The Benefits Of Meal Prepping? Reasons I Love Meal Prep & You Should Too!
- Meal Prepping Vs. Meal Planning
- How To Meal Prep & Meal Plan For The Week
- Meal Prepping For Beginners: 11 Tips
- 11 Strategies To Meal Prep On A Budget
- 50 Cheap Meal Prep Recipes You Can Make For $2 Or Less Per Serving
The list of 50 easy & cheap meal prep recipes below were not written by me, but by some of my favorite bloggers out there. Show them some love and check out their food.
What is meal prep?
Meal prepping is simple. All you have to do is pick a recipe you like, double or triple the ingredients, and eat that same food several times throughout the week.
Instead of cooking meal after meal throughout the week, you intentionally make more or “batch cook” your meals for the week. That way you’ve got leftovers on hand for grab & go breakfasts, lunch during the work day, or dinner ready when you get home!
Meal prepping can be as little or as extensive as you want it to be.
Unfortunately, most fitness experts and nutritionists make a living out of making some of the most simple concepts difficult.
I want to make this as easy as possible for you. Let’s get started!
How do I start meal prepping?
The easiest way to start meal prepping is to just cook a few meals you’ve made before and double up the ingredients! You’ll have leftovers for the week and you’ll get a taste for how much time and money you can save.
The rest of this step by step guide will show you how to create your own weekly meal plan that you can stick to!
Who is meal prepping for?
There’s no question in my mind that just about anyone could benefit from meal prepping. Unless you have all the time in the world or have more money in the bank than you know what to do, then meal prepping is a habit you should get into.
Meal prepping is great for anyone:
- Working professionals trying to be more productive
- Raising kids and want to have healthy meals on hand
- Students who need meals ready to eat so you can get back to studying
- Anyone who wants to eat healthy
- All the people out there trying to save money
Other Meal Prep Resources I’ve Written:
- 43 Easy Keto Meal Prep Recipes to Save Time and Eat Right
- How Meal Prepping Can Save you $215,000
- 28 Easy and Cheap Vegetarian Meal Prep Ideas to Eat Healthy
What are the benefits of meal prepping? Reasons I love Meal Prep & you should too!
Meal prepping is one of the fundamental habits that helps me reach my goals. It saves me time, money, and keeps me on track with eating healthy.
- The time it saves helps me balance a full-time job, grad school, blogging, and marriage!
- The money saved meal prepping helps me pay off debt and invest!
- Eating healthy gives me more energy and I feel way better throughout the day.
My goal with meal prepping is to maximize my time, health, and effort by cooking in bulk. I’d rather spend a couple hours each week making 3 lbs of roasted chicken and vegetables than spend an hour each day cooking and cleaning.
So if you want to save money, save time, and eat healthy–you should love meal prep too!
1. Meal prep saves money
The average restaurant meal these days is $10-12 and the average American spends thousands a year on eating out! Our list of cheap meal prep recipes below are all less than $2 a serving, saving you almost $10 every single meal you eat.
Read more: How Meal Prepping Can Save you $215,000
2. Meal prep saves time
The biggest advantage meal prepping has over cooking as you go is the time it saves. I love to cook and so I used to spend an hour every night cooking and cleaning up! That’s time I just don’t have these days with everything I’m trying to get done.
Now I spend a couple hours a week prepping 20+ meals for the week!
3. Meal prepping makes it way easier to eat healthy!
I love meal prepping because it keeps me on track with my diet. It’s way too easy some days to pick up take out, which is almost never healthy! When you cook your own food you know exactly what you’re putting into it and you avoid all of the hidden calories that even “healthy” restaurant food is full of.
When you have healthy food on hand ready to eat, then you’re setting yourself up for success!
Meal Prepping vs. Meal Planning
There’s not a whole lot of difference between meal prepping and meal planning.
Meal planning is exactly what it sounds like. Planning out your meals for the week, deciding what you want to cook, how much you’ll need, when you’ll eat what, and putting together your grocery list.
Meal prepping is actually cooking the food in one big batch process so that you’ve got the food ready to eat all throughout the week.
The problem for WAY too many people is that they spend all this time planning out their week but then they fail to meal prep. So when Wednesday night comes around it is 100x easier to pick up Thai food on the way home than go make those greek chicken wraps you found on pinterest.
So the food you bought ends up going to waste and gets thrown away.
Let’s work through the steps so you can stop wasting food, wasting money, and get back more of your time.
How to meal prep & meal plan for the week
Step one: Decide what meals you want to meal prep for
The first thing you’ve gotta do is decide how much meal prep you actually want to do.
If you’re new to meal prepping, start with prepping for one meal slot (breakfast / lunch / dinner) for the week!
So what’s your weakness when it comes to food?
- Are you always snoozing through your alarm and skipping breakfast every day?
- Are you trying to stop eating out for lunch?
- Do you work crazy long hours? Maybe you want to come home, heat up some food for dinner, and crash for the night.
Personally, we usually meal prep all of our lunches and a couple of dinners each week! Breakfast I make fresh or I’ll skip and grab a bar at the office.
Step two: Find recipes you want to try & map out your week
The next step is to find some good recipes (list of 60 cheap meal prep ideas down below!) and map them into your week.
You can use a meal planner or simply type them into a google spreadsheet like we do! We now have a database of various meal plans that we can re-use if we ever want to keep things simple.
- Typically the weekends are when we get creative and also prep food for the week ahead!
- We always keep some healthy snacks on hand
For this weekly meal plan, we only have to prep a few things:
- Taco meat for lunches
- Grilled chicken: works for both the greek & caesar salads
- Smoothies for breakfast
- Chopped lettuce & toppings for salads
What foods are good for meal prepping
Carbs: Brown Rice, Sweet Potato, Spaghetti Squash Lentils, Legumes, Whole Wheat Pasta, Quinoa, Low GI Fruit
Protein: Chicken, Turkey, Lean Ground Beef, Lean Cuts of Steaks, Tuna, Eggs, Fish
Veggies: Spinach, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Green Beans, Asparagus, Cucumbers, Brussel Sprouts, Kale, Mushrooms, Carrots, Bell Peppers
Step three: Put together a grocery list
After you have your weekly meal plan mapped out, all you have to do is put together a grocery list!
You can put this together split up by recipe or by area of the store. Whatever works for you. We put this in our google spreadsheet so we can have sample grocery lists on hand.
Step four: Set aside a time & get cooking
Now, go shopping and get cooking!
You can’t forget to actually set aside time to meal prep your food for the week! Put it in your calendar so you can get into a weekly rhythm.
My wife and I meal prep every Saturday or Sunday night so we have food for the whole week.
Meal prepping for beginners: 11 Tips
1. Create a rotation with your favorite cheap meal prep recipes
One of the keys to meal prepping is to keep things as simple as possible. These days, I stick to a short list of cheap meal prep recipes that I rotate through on a monthly basis. This takes the guess work out of meal planning every week.
2. Find Ingredient Overlaps
This is one of the best things you can do to have an easy meal prep. My favorite thing is to make 3-4 lbs of meat and then find ways to incorporate it into different meals. It makes my meal prep easier and cheaper because I don’t have to buy as many ingredients This also gives you decent variety throughout the week.
3. Chop veggies ahead of time
The biggest time-suck in meal prepping is chopping vegetables, especially onions! They make me cry EVERY SINGLE TIME. I can’t help it. But I freaking love onions, so I push through the pain. The point though, is that having to chop vegetables every meal is a huge time drain. If you don’t want to actually prep a whole meal, one simple tip is to just prep your vegetables early on in the week.
4. Break out the crockpot
The #1 way to have an easy meal prep is to use a crockpot! Dump the ingredients in, turn it on, and wait 6-8 hours. There really is no easier way to make a week’s worth of meals ahead of time.
5. Get the best meal prep containers
If you really want your meal prepping to be as easy as possible, then you want to invest in these meal prep containers. Glassware makes storing, reheating, and cleaning 10x easier.
6. You don’t have to cook everything you prep
I prefer to eat most of my vegetables freshly cooked rather than after 3-4 days in the fridge, so whenever my wife and I finish our weekly grocery trip, I usually spend an hour listening to a podcast while I chop up and bag a week’s worth of vegetables. The less work I have to do to eat healthy, the better.
7. Start Small & Simple (on guide post as quick tip)
If you’re new to meal prepping, don’t try to make and prepare an entire week’s worth of food on your first attempt! Take some time to learn what recipes you love and start small. You don’t want to waste a bunch of time and money on a meal you won’t enjoy.
8. Put it in your schedule
“Failure to plan is planning to fail.”
I hate that quote because it’s so freaking cheesy. But it’s also true. If you never plan to meal prep, then you almost never will. Set aside a time in your weekly calendar and block it off for meal prep.
9. Use a meal planner
I’ve been meal prepping for so long that it’s mostly intuitive for me. If you’re new to meal prepping, then go pick up a planner like this one! You can map out your weekly meal plan, recipes, grocery list, etc.
10. Well stocked fridge / freezer / pantry
There’s nothing more frustrating than not having that one ingredient that you need to complete a meal! We try not to buy more than we need, but we do have a list of staples that we keep on hand. We always have a pack of chicken (2-3lbs) and our favorite spices on hand so that if we’re in a pinch we can make some grilled chicken for the week!
11. Prepare ingredients ahead of time
You don’t have to do a massive meal prep every time. Sometimes prepping a few ingredients can go a long way to saving you time throughout the week. I’ll slice up carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers and have some ready to go veggie snacks throughout the week!
11 Strategies to Meal prep on a budget
1. If you’re trying out a new recipe, stick to the regular amount.
After you’ve tested it out, feel free to double or triple the amount so you can have more leftover. The last thing you want to do is spend a bunch of money only to cook a meal you don’t like at all.
2. Buy in Bulk
The easiest way to meal prep on a budget is to buy as much food in bulk as possible. You can get meat, rice, potatoes, oats and all kinds of spices and canned goods in bulk. Buying in bulk only makes sense if you know you’ll eat it before it all goes bad.
I eat a ton of protein and one of my favorite ways to load up on meat is when grocery stores run sales. Walmart, HEB, and some other stores do this, but when food is close to expiring, they’ll mark it way down. This is a great time to stock up and stick it in the freezer.
3. Unit Price per Food
If you’re trying to meal prep on a budget, the most important thing is to keep an eye on the unit price for the food you’re buying. The less you pay per ounce or pound of food, the better.
4. Eat Less Meat
If you’re used to a high protein diet, then you know how expensive meat can be. If you can find ways to eat sub in cheaper protein sources like nuts, beans, or dairy products, it can be a huge money-saver. Eating less meat is by far the easiest way to prep cheap meals.
5. Reduce Food Waste
The average American throws away over $600 a year in food! One of the easiest ways to meal prep on a budget is to simply eat the food you buy. The less food you throw away, the less food you have to buy!
6. Meal plan based on what’s on sale
Most people get to the store, buy everything on their list, and then hope to find some coupons along the way. One of the best ways to meal prep on a budget is to plan your meals based on what is on sale at the store. This will help you really make some cheap meals and spend less on groceries.
7. Freeze it
Whenever I make chili or soup, I try to make enough to freeze for the days where we haven’t had time to go by the store and don’t have any food. The biggest weakness when it comes to eating out is the desire for convenience. I’m all about finding easy meal prep recipes! If you’ve got any favorites, share them in the comments below!
8. Clean out the pantry & freezer
Go take a look at your pantry and freezer! It’s way too easy for pantry and freezer foods to start piling up. You probably have a bunch of half-eaten bags of rice, oats, grits, and pasta.
If you’re looking to save a bit of cash the next few months then do a quick check on everything you have stocked up to and use those foods for your next meal prep.
9. Keep convenience meals on hand
The biggest diet & budget killer is convenience. After a long day at work it is way too easy to stop by chipotle on the way home. Eating out for lunch and those quick take-out stops can quickly add up and break your budget.
Having a few convenience meals on hand can go a long way towards staying consistent. We love to make chili and freeze half so we always have a meal ready to heat up in a pinch.
10. Shop at cheaper stores
An easy way to meal prep on a budget is to shop at cheaper stores. Places like costco, walmart, and ALDI tend to be cheaper than upper-scale grocery stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.
11. Eat food in-season
Fruits and veggies are staples of any diet, but they can have wide swings in cost depending on the time of year. Sometimes we’ll see blueberries and strawberries going for $1/lb and other times they’ll be 3-4x as expensive!
Keep your eye on what’s in-season to save money meal prepping.
50 Cheap Meal Prep Recipes You Can Make for $2 or less per serving
After several of years of meal prepping, I’ve compiled some of my all-time favorite cheap meal prep recipes! All of these are cheap meals and can be made for $2 or less per serving! but I’ve broken them down into some more categories!
8 Cheapest of the Cheap meal prep recipes
Any meal I can make for $2 or less AND cook in 15 minutes automatically gets added to my meal plan rotation. I grew up chowing down on stroganoff. The only problem with this dish is I can’t eat only one serving. The mushrooms and beef with the creamy sauce is just too good.
This recipe is legendary within the personal finance realm. The Frugalwoods are a blogger couple living on a 66 acre homestead in Vermont and they write all about frugality and life on a farm. This recipe is their ultra frugal recipe that comes out to a crazy low $0.39 per serving!
I’ve made this recipe MULTIPLE times and it always saves me a ton of money. The rice, beans, and mushrooms mixture is amazing. Give it a try and add a bit of chicken or beef to up the protein a bit if you need to. When it comes to cheap meals, this is one of the best.
This recipe by Pioneer Woman might be the world’s easiest, high-protein, packed with flavor meal. With only 4 ingredients and a couple of spices, you’ll spend more time staring at your food than it’ll take to get in the oven. Warning, it does need about 6 hours in the oven to cook, but you’ll get about 13 meals (6oz protein per serving) at $1.08 each.
When I first published this list, I hadn’t made this recipe. After testing it out, I can guarantee you that it is amazing! Super easy to make and hardly any time spent prepping it. Cook the meat on low for 6-8 hours in a crockpot and then put the meat under a broiler to give it a nice char and crisp. This one will definitely be a staple.
This recipe might be the easiest on this whole list to make! All you need is a good sized hunk of beef, some spices, and 8-9 hours of crockpot time. Depending on the sale, this recipe could come out to less than $1/serving for 6+ ounces of beef. High protein and low cost makes this meal a staple.
I promise this is the last pulled pork recipe you’ll have to read about! It really does make the perfect pulled pork though. These pork sandwiches also come out to around $0.75 each, so if you’ve got a crowd to feed–this is the recipe for you! With 8-12 hours of brining time and another 8 hours of cooking, you definitely need to plan ahead for this one.
Pulled pork is probably the best cut of meat for those trying to save money. Usually you can find it anywhere from $1-3/lb, especially if you can get in on Costco’s legendary sales. The meat is super easy to cook with, but it needs a lot of time to break down the muscle fibers and meat. Once done, the meat is tender and loaded with flavor! If you’re a fan of bbq, this is a great recipe to pull off!
Growing up in Austin, my idea of chili was always “Texas Chili”. It had to be loaded with spices, beans, and tomatoes. The first time I had any kind of green chili with pork, I was blown away. It’s a delicious combo that will leave you happy and full, and better yet, it’ll save you money! Top your soup with some jalapenos to kick it up a notch.
10 chicken meal prep recipes
This one comes from one of my favorite food bloggers out there, FitMenCook. With only 4 ingredients, it is one of my favorite, cheap meal prep recipes for novices in the kitchen. Loaded with flavor, this chicken curry is a great high-protein option. The best part is, this recipe only takes about 20 minutes start to finish, so you can pull it off when you’re in a hurry! For those who are low-carb or keto dieting, this chicken is a great staple to put on a salad or in a veggie wrap.
The past 6 months I’ve been on a huge kick for African and other ethnic foods. If you want to branch out and expand your tastes, try this dish! If you’ve never used allspice and cumin on chicken, then you are totally missing out! This dish is super easy to put together and can be a great high-protein meal prep to get you through your week.
If you’re a fan of tomatoes, then this dish is for you! Put the chicken and spices in the crockpot, dump fresh or canned tomatoes in and then wait. It’ll definitely be a test to your patience as you have to wait 6-8 hours, but that makes this the perfect meal to put together before you head to work.
Come home to a the smell of a fresh-cooked meal with little effort.As a bonus, this one is also dairy-free, gluten-free, and whole-30. Did I miss anything? If you don’t own a crock pot or slow cooker, I can’t recommend this one enough→ InstantPot 6Qt. My wife and I use it on a weekly basis and it has paid for itself 10x over in the amount of time it saves us.
Want to know how to meal prep a week’s worth of food in an hour? Sheet pans. Load up a baking pan with chicken, different veggies, drizzle some olive oil, and season it all to your preference. The Italian seasoned broccoli, red onion, and cherry tomatoes go great with the chicken and pair well over rice or quinoa. The next four are all sheet-pan, easy meal prep recipes you can prep in 30 minutes or less!
One of my secrets to meal prepping is cooking a main dish of protein that can be dressed up and served a number of ways. This cilantro lime chicken is just as good in tacos as it is over a salad. Or you stuff them in a burrito or layer it on a bed of rice. Have kids? Make them some delicious, protein-filled quesadillas.
If you’re looking for a healthy chicken dish loaded with veggies, this is the one for you. Sweet potatoes, green beans, bell pepper, and broccoli served with chicken and topped in a cheese makes this budget friendly meal a winner in my book! Double the recipe and you’ve got healthy lunches for the whole week!
This is the second dish from Chelsea’s Messy Apron and is amazing! It has a totally different set of flavor than the other sheet-pan recipes, but is incredibly easy to throw together. The balsamic glaze takes no time to put together and serves well as a dipping sauce for the chicken and veggies. If you have a hard time eating broccoli, this recipe is for you!
If you love garlic, put this recipe at the top of the list for this week’s meal plan. This asian inspired chicken is perfect for feeding the whole family or getting you through the rest of the week! I love putting it over some rice for a great post-workout meal, but if you’re trying to avoid the carbs, double up on the veggies and call it a day.
Even though I’ve always been a huge fan of slow cookers, I’ve only just started using them to make soups and chili! It takes 6-8 hours to cook, but will give you 6+ servings. Put this on right before you go to bed, wake up, and pack your lunch!
What I love about asian dishes is how easy they are to make and how they stay good for several days! This healthy take on sesame chicken is lighter on the brown sugar and honey but still heavy with flavor. I wish it had some veggies tossed in, but get creative and add them yourselves! Red bell pepper, snap peas, and broccoli would be great to add.
7 Easy meal prep ideas that will save you hours a week
This right here is a home-run by Pioneer Woman. There’s nothing better than a hunk of meat slapped between two pieces of buttered and toasted bread with a bowl of au-jus broth to dip it in. If you’re able to find beef chuck roast on sale, you can come out at around $1.60 for each of the ten meals you’ll get to eat throughout the week! It seriously takes less than 10 minutes to get in the oven and then you’ll have to wait the most painful 6 hours while the amazing pot roast smell fills up your home.
We made this enchiladas a few months ago for a group of friends and everyone asked us for the recipe by the time the night was over. The best part: we were able to introduce them to the amazing blogger, Rosemarie Groner of BusyBudgeter. Double, triple, or quadruple the recipe and eat these enchiladas all week.
If you haven’t gotten sucked into the instant pot craze by this point, then I’m actually impressed! Instant pots are basically a pressure cooker, but they have taken the food blogging world by storm. Want to skip on the 6-8 hour wait times with a crockpot? Buy yourself an instant pot and get the same meal done in 10% of the time.
We were given one for Christmas this year and are obsessed! This instant pot beef stew is loaded with flavor and light on the budget. With only 6 ingredients, this is definitely a budget friendly meal you can cook in a hurry. Pinch of Yum is my favorite food blog by far. Anything you see on their site gets a huge vote of approval from me.
This pasta looks amazing and is incredibly easy to put together! You can add in whatever veggies you want to jazz it up a bit and make it a healthy option!
Goulash is a hungarian dish that is basically just stewed meat, veggies, and pasta that is seasoned well with paprika and other spices. What I love about this recipe is that there are only 5 steps to finish it. Brown the meat, cook the pasta, add in the veggies, and put it all together.
Unfortunately I don’t eat a ton of pasta these days because if I even look at carbs I’ll gain weight. That being said, every once in a while I like to treat myself to some rich, carby, cheesy pasta. This one pan penne is loaded with beef and chunks of mozzarella cheese, and you can do it all in one skillet
Sausage wraps were a staple in my house growing up. My dad would fire up the grill and 15 minutes later we’d be chowing down. This recipe definitely dresses them up a bit more but the mix of garlic, cheese, and tomatoes definitely take this to the next level.
7 Breakfast meal prep recipes to kick off your day
Oatmeal is one of the easiest things to meal prep for breakfast! If you’re looking for a quick breakfast idea, then this instant pot oatmeal is perfect for you!
This is also the best looking oatmeal I’ve ever seen. You can load up the toppings with whatever you have on hand. This one has apples, walnuts, blueberries, sliced up carrots, and flax seed.
I have an unhealthy obsessions with peanut butter so this recipe totally caught my eye when I saw it. This slow cooker oatmeal takes about 7-8 hours so you can put it on right before you go to bed or before you leave for work in the morning! You’ll have breakfast ready to eat.
Breakfast burritos make for a great grab & go breakfast. These sweet potato and black bean burritos are the perfect breakfast meal prep & they are vegetarian! You can re-heat them in about a minute and eat it on your way to work. You could also make a couple of eggs to stuff in the burrito for some extra protein.
Mostly Prepped Sausage and Eggs: “Breakfast bomb”
If you have a bit of extra time in the morning or you’re willing to get up a few minutes early, then this is what I recommend. Make a “breakfast bomb” of whatever meat & veggies you want. This is your base for breakfast.
Then each morning, crack some eggs into your pan and when they’re halfway done, drop a scoop of the meat & veggies in.
Do this and you’ll have a fresh breakfast every day while also cutting down on the time you have to spend each morning.
Quiche is a an easy meal prep idea! You spend a bit of time making one and you can eat away at it all week. If you want to sneak some veggies into your diet, this is a great option. I do recommend eating it within a few days of first making it though.
Finding breakfast meal prep ideas that taste good throughout the week is tough. Egg muffins usually work well for me! They reheat easily & with a little hot sauce, they taste great.
I usually make 20-25 at a time and eat 5 a day for breakfast or a quick protein packed snack.
You can also change up the meat and veggies used each time you make it! Once made, they take about a minute to heat up and can easily be eaten on the go.
Green smoothies are a regular for me! It’s by far the easiest way I load up on veggies in my diet. They’re super easy to make and store easily in mason jars.
3 Step Green Smoothies:
- Fill blender with spinach, kale, or mixed greens
- Fill halfway up with water & blend thoroughly.
- Add cucumber, celery, or both. Blend some more.
Jar it up and drink one every morning.
12 Cheap Meal prep lunches to save you money
This salad looks amazing! I love every ingredient in this salad and I’m sure it would make for an awesome side salad with chicken or salmon. If you’re looking for something light and fresh, give this one a try and let me know what you think!
I first had lentil soup a few months ago and was blown away! It was hearty, tasty, and incredibly filling. This lentil curry recipe will take a bit of effort and some of the ingredients are less common, but if you’re wanting to try something out of the box this is a great recipe to go with.
Now I’m super skeptical of vegan chili but after having some vegan queso last week with taco tofu on top, I’ve decided to give this one a try! This recipe is loaded with veggies and spices and might be the only way this meat lover gives vegetarian recipes a try. At 225 calories a serving, this recipe will help you save money, time, and eat healthy. Everything we’re all trying to do.
Apparently lentils are pretty common for vegetarian and vegan eating. They’re a cheap source of non-animal protein and adds great texture / heartiness to a meal. A full cup of lentils will give you about 20 grams a protein! This lentil soup recipe looks amazing! And since all of the ingredients are veggies or spices, it is super cheap to put together if you’re in a hurry!
One of my absolute favorite food combos is pasta with sundried tomatoes! Add in some spinach and other veggies and you have a super healthy, but really good tasting pasta. If you want to up the protein simply add some chicken. At less than $2/bowl this is a super great budget friendly meal!
This recipe comes from my wife! Last fall she I came home to the amazing smell of this sweet potato turkey chili! I’ve asked her to make it several times since then because it is so good! Healthy and with only 5 ingredients + spices, it’s so easy to make. If you’re a fan of chili, you will love this one. Also, Pinch of Yum is my favorite food blog that exists, so check them out. If I am craving anything the first thing I do is google, “______ pinch of yum”. Amazing food and even more amazing people behind it.
If you’re looking for a cheap, low carb recipe these meatballs have to be on your list! They are super easy to make but loaded with flavor. Combine these with a side salad and you’ll make your heart and wallet happy.
Now I know the name might throw you off, but this meal is incredible. The sausage and the potatoes soften up and almost create this mash of goodness. If you’ve got any meat & potato types in your family, this one HAS to be in your line-up. It’s one of those meals that really does warm you up all over.
This recipe comes from a fellow finance blogger, MrsMummyPenny! I’ve actually never had bolognese, but this recipe just got added to my list! This meal is loaded up with vegetables and since Lynn has been cooking this recipe for over 25 years I imagine she has perfected it! Check out her blog and give this recipe a try!
If you’ve never had cuban beef, you haven’t lived. This shredded beef recipe is seriously life changing. Sear the meat, drop it in a slow cooker, and put it over some rice and beans. I’ll warn you that this one is a bit more time intensive, but it’s worth it. And again, at less than $2/meal, this is an easy meal prep recipe you’ll want to make again and again.
These healthy burritos are one of the few vegetarian meal prep recipes on this list! They’re super easy to meal prep and all you need are tortillas, beans, rice, and any veggies you want to add. The beans give it some protein. You could even make some taco style tofu to add to them! Bake them, freeze them, and you’ve got a vegetarian friendly lunch ready for you.
I made this recipe the other day and my wife was obsessed! We both grew up eating chili on a weekly basis. This recipe is easy to make, cooks plenty for leftovers, it’s cheap, and healthy. Everything we’re looking for.
What set’s Texas chili apart is the use of non-ground beef. Get yourself a chuck roast, trim the fat, and you’ll be set.
6 Healthy meal prep recipes for weight loss
This is the second recipe from Chelsea and it is the perfect answer if you are dieting, but want to get your taco fix. Ditch the tortillas and put this delicious taco meat over a salad with all of your favorite fixings. I highly recommend guacamole, greek yogurt as a sub for sour cream, and some sliced up cherry tomatoes. Try this one and thank me later! Less than 30 minutes to prep and under $2/meal.
If you haven’t caught on yet, but of my favorite recipes are some form of meat & veggies. I generally try to avoid carbs, but sometimes it’s hard to eat on a budget this way. This recipe of turkey sausage and veggies is amazing! Super healthy, super easy, and a budget friendly meal you can cook over and over.
Last time I ran a Keto diet I ate this meal ALL the time. Eating healthy and saving money can be a difficult balance to strike. You need to try this one if you’re trying to save money and eat low-carb. It’s basically everything all of the goodness inside of eggrolls, stuffed into a lettuce wrap instead.
Tilapia is one of the cheapest cuts of fish, but can be questionable. Sure, it may not be best to eat farm-raised fish, but wild caught ain’t cheap and I figure if eating tilapia helps me lose weight I’ll end up better for it. This dish is SUPER easy to make and only takes about 20 minutes! Just make sure you de-thaw your fish if it comes frozen.
This one actually has 4 different fish recipes you can use! Not all of them fall into the $2 or less range, but the “Citrus Soy Salmon Fillet Recipe” is awesome! Salmon is by far one of the healthiest foods anyone can eat and this recipe knocks it out of the park. Easy to make and about as close to a budget friendly meal as you can get with salmon.
Here’s another easy to make skillet meal for you! My wife gives me a hard time, but most of the food I eat is basically just a mash of meat, veggies, and however many carbs I allow myself to eat. These take a bit longer to make because of the chopping involved but you can easily make a week’s worth of food in one go. Depending on your health goals you can double the meat, veggies, or rice to get the balance you want.