Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. With some frugal tips, you can eat delicious, healthy food on a tight budget. These cheap, healthy dinner recipes are all under $1.50 per serving!
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Cheap Sources of Protein
I have a personal goal to not spend more than $2.00 per pound on meat. Obviously, your goal will be different depending on your budget or the grocery prices in your area.
I stick to this budget by buying whole chicken or leg quarters rather than boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs, or by stocking up on meat that has been marked down for quick sale. I also keep an eye on sales as I can sometimes find ground beef for $2.49/lb or pork chops for $1.99/lb.
A bonus tip: Slice chicken breast in half to make cutlets or slices to help it stretch a little further. You don’t need a whole chicken breast per person.
An important thing to keep in mind, though, is that you can get protein from other sources such as beans, peanut butter, dairy and legumes. Try doing one meatless dinner per week and you’ll see a good bit of savings each month or it will allow you to spend a little more on meat for another meal.
- Dried or Canned Beans: Chickpeas, Black Beans, Pinto Beans, White Beans
- Legumes: Lentils, Split Peas, Black-Eyed Peas
- Grains: Brown Rice, Quinoa, Oats
- Dairy: Milk, Cheese, Yogurt, Cottage Cheese
- Peanut Butter
- Canned Tuna or Salmon
- Eggs: by far the most bang for your buck!!
Check out my recipes for Instant Pot Brown Rice and Slow Cooker Black Beans for tips on batch cooking to save money!
Cheap Sources of Fruits and Vegetables
The idea that you can’t afford fruits and vegetables on a budget is a huge misconception. You just need to be mindful of sales and buy when they are in season.
Bananas are a fantastic frugal option pretty much year-round, as well as apples and carrots. This seasonal food guide will let you know when to expect the lowest prices for each fruit and vegetable. Check out farmer’s markets in your area as they tend to mark down their prices at the end of the day. If you rely on SNAP or food assistance, ask in your area if they offer matching for fruit and vegetable purchases at stores or farmer’s markets.
Frozen vegetables are one of my favorite ways to buy vegetables because they are insanely affordable and you don’t have to worry about them going bad before you have a chance to eat them.
Check out your local Dollar Tree for bags of frozen fruit. They have the best prices I’ve ever seen for fruit that is perfect for smoothies or adding to oatmeal.
More Cheap Healthy Recipes
Cheap Healthy Dinner Recipes
Cheap Healthy Dinner Recipes
Making healthy food choices doesn't have to be expensive. Check out 35 cheap, healthy (and insanely tasty) dinner recipes that are all less than $1.50 per serving!
Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili
Sweet potatoes add an interesting twist to this easy, smoky chili and we keep the cost and calories low by using ground turkey.
Egg Roll in a Bowl (Easy 20-Minute Dinner!)
Cabbage is the best when it comes to budget meals because it is so filling, good for you, and so darn cheap!
Sheet Pan Maple Mustard Chicken with Roasted Winter Squash
Maple mustard chicken and roasted winter squash make for an easy, healthy one-pan dinner that's on the table in less than an hour.
Healthy Taco Soup
Make your chicken stretch by serving it in soup. Beans also provide a great source of protein for pennies.
Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
Instant Pot Chicken and Rice is an easy, one-pot dinner that's ready in less than 30 minutes total. Gluten-free and dairy-free, it's a dish the whole family can enjoy.
Fried Cabbage with Kielbasa
Smoked sausage is another budget-friendly favorite of mine. Saute it with cabbage for a super filling dinner that is less than $1 per serving.
Slow Cooker Irish Chili
This Irish Chili has Guinness beer along with tons of smoky spices for a full-flavor chili. Bonus: it cooks in the slow cooker for hand's off cooking and freezes beautifully for a fantastic freezer meal.
One Pot Broccoli Penne
Make this Broccoli Penne even more budget-friendly by using frozen chopped broccoli.
Instant Pot Lentil Soup
This hearty lentil soup is ready in minutes in the Instant Pot and it's vegetarian and gluten-free. Whether for dinner or make ahead meal prep, this soup will satisfy!
Avocado Filled Canned Tuna Ceviche Salad
Ground Chicken Salisbury Steak
Salisbury Steak is lightened up by using ground chicken. It still packs the flavor and it is on the table in 30 minutes!
Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Enchiladas Casserole
Crock Pot Ham and Bean Soup
Ham and Bean Soup is the perfect way to use a leftover ham bone. It's delicious comfort food that happens to be extremely budget-friendly.
Hamburger Stew with Rice (easy & economical)
Sheet Pan Chicken Dinner
Easy & Authentic Chana Masala (Chickpea Curry)
Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) are a staple in my frugal kitchen. Feel free to cook from scratch or use a can of chickpeas.
The Best Tuna Patties
You'd never believe this tasty cakes were made with canned tuna.
Easy Italian Wedding Soup
One Pan Spanish Chicken and Rice
Cabbage Roll Soup (Stovetop or Slow Cooker)
Lentils are a budget-friendly legume that are naturally gluten-free and high in protein.
Instant Pot Vegetable Stew - Vegan and Oil Free
Spaghetti with Beans & Garlicky Greens
Hearty Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup
Zucchini "Pasta" with Tomato Sauce
Invest is a spiralizer so you can make zucchini noodles whenever you want. Don't pay extra for the pre-spiralized zucchini.