6 Tips for Cheap Healthy Meals You Can Easily Make at Home
Tips for cooking amazing healthy meals at home that are delicious and don’t break the bank.
Cooking healthy can be surprisingly cost effective and delicious. It’s easier than a lot of people think, too. Your wallet, body and head can all get a serving of goodness when you’re making your own cheap healthy meals.
We’ve compiled this list of tips that can help you easily make healthy meals on a budget, Whether you’re living by yourself or with others, these tips can help you.
Get bigger containers, bottles and bags of products that you’ll use regularly, if you can. While it may be more of an investment upfront, generally as quantities of products increase, their cost per kg or litre decreases.
Bulk buying works well for lots of items, like:
- Cooking oils like olive, rice bran and coconut.
- Rice, noodles and pasta.
- Coffee and milk.
- Vegetable food staples that can keep reasonably well like onions and carrots.
- Even other household items like dish washing liquid, toilet paper and laundry detergent.
One thing is to be cautious of overcommitment to a huge quantity that you may not be able to get through before it goes bad. If you can get through a 10kg bag of onions, great. Though don’t stress if a 2kg or 5kg bag is more manageable for you – you’re still saving overtime.
Some community markets offer produce for significantly less than supermarkets. There can be great bulk buy options and different products that you couldn’t normally get at supermarkets. Plus, community markets provide a way you can support local small businesses.
Find nearby community markets by using your favourite search engine, check out your council website or ask some locals what they recommend.
Going for the wholegrain option is a great way to make your meal a lot healthier. Bulking a meal out with wholegrain food staples can help reduce costs, plus wholegrains are filled with health benefits. The Better Health Channel have a great article on wholegrains, all the different types and their benefits.
You can get wholegrain noodles, biscuits, pasta, bread and heaps of other products.
If you spot wholemeal products, they’re great too. Wholemeal is where the wholegrain has been ground down to flour.
You may have to shop around to find a wholegrain option that works well for you. One wholemeal option of a particular product may be delicious, have a great texture and in some cases, can be easier to prepare than the processed white version. Some wholemeal options on the market of that same product could leave a lot to be desired, to be diplomatic. Do not lose hope though as there are a lot of delicious wholegrain options available today. Plus, if you’re a keen DIYer, you could always make your own with wholemeal flour or similar.
Are you in a sharehouse or living with relatives? Consider buying essential cooking items in larger amounts and sharing these groceries and the cost amongst all of you. As quantities you purchase go up, generally the cost per kg or litre will reduce.
For example, purchasing large containers of olive oil and big bags of rice can be fantastic to keep a household stocked while reducing costs. You can even apply this to other household items.
The No Money No Time website provides recipes for cheap healthy meals that can be made quickly and easily at home. They even offer recipe categories based on how you want to prepare and cook your meal, whether that’s with an oven, frying pan, microwave, pot, blender, BBQ, sandwich press, along with many more options.
Dig deeper into the No Money No Time website and you’ll find guides to help improve your diet, meal planners and articles busting food myths. Try out the Healthy Eating Quiz to receive regular personalised recipe recommendations to suit you and your lifestyle.
If things are tight for you at the moment and you’re in need of support, there are a lot of great options available that can help you stock up on groceries and get a meal when you’re in need.
Lots of organisations exist in Victoria that help people in need get some food into them. These organisations can provide ready cooked meals and / or groceries. Some help with other essentials too.
Check what organisations are in your local area via the web, through local council or try the Ask Izzy website. Ask Izzy is an Australian website dedicated to helping people in crisis find what they need, including food, housing, clothing, medical care and many other support services.
Bonus Tips: There’s Lots More You Can Do to Make Cheap Healthy Meals
There’s lots you can do to make cheap easy healthy meals on a budget while at home. We’ve listed bulk buying, wholegrains, buying from markets, sharing with people you live with and getting support if you need it. Did you know you can also:
- Grow your own. If you have the space, grow our own vegetables, fruits and herbs. Once established and taken care of well, your own garden can yield a lot of produce. There’s benefits to being outdoors and in the garden too, from soaking up vitamin D to relaxation.
- Keep an eye out for specials. Lots of supermarkets and stores can have weekly or monthly specials, along with end of the day specials. Get creative by cooking with what’s on special for some cheap meal prep.
- Substitute for the healthier option. Does a dish call for white rice or pasta? Try using brown rice or wholemeal pasta instead. Does it really need so much sugar and salt? With salt and sugar, less can be more when it comes to our health.
- Avoid the processed snacks. Processed snacks aren’t necessarily the best for you, may not fill you up significantly and can cost a fair bit overtime. Make something yourself instead, if you have the time.