What are the best delicious, healthy and cheap dinner ideas?

When you’re on a budget, it can be difficult to come up with healthy meal ideas that everyone in the family will enjoy. But staying healthy while on a budget isn’t impossible, if you have a plan in place. One of the best ways to stick to your budget without indulging in unhealthy meals is to have a handful of delicious healthy cheap dinner ideas on hand. These simple meals are the perfect way to stay healthy without blowing up your budget.

healthy cheap dinner ideas for 2

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Dinner Ideas on a Budget

Cooking healthy meals for your family when on a budget doesn’t have to be difficult. With a plan in place, you can easily enjoy healthy dinners every night of the week without breaking the bank.

But that means finding delicious dinner ideas when you’re on a budget is essential!

With these easy recipes, you’ll have plenty of yummy meal ideas to add to your meal plan this month.

Ginger Chicken Legs

Using a cheaper cut of chicken, like chicken legs, is a great way to save money on dinner. And the flavorful sauce added to these ginger chicken legs from A Girl Worth Saving is so simple to make, you probably already have everything you need to make them right in your pantry. Combine onion, ginger, coconut oil, and seasonings to make this quick and easy dinner idea that everyone in the family will love.

Turkey Orzo Soup

Finding recipes that make use of leftover ingredients is another great way to save money on dinners each week. This easy turkey orzo soup recipe from the Oregon Dietician is a delicious way to use up leftover turkey. In addition to being a great dinner idea, this simple recipe is also perfect for batch cooking because it can be frozen for up to three months.

Sheet Pan Sausage and Potatoes

Sheet pan meals aren’t just easy to prepare, they’re also very budget friendly. This simple recipe for sheet pan sausage and potatoes from the Gourmet RD combines cheap slices of sausage with potatoes and peppers, allowing everyone in your family to enjoy veggies and protein without spending a ton of money to cook dinner.

Black Bean Tortilla Soup

Meatless meals are a simple way to save some money on dinner. But some meals without meat aren’t very filling. With the help of black beans and quinoa, this easy recipe for black bean tortilla soup from Alternative Dish is sure to fill up everyone in your family. Make an extra batch to freeze for later so you’ll have plenty of this delicious soup on hand for the future.

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Sometimes, you just need a simple dinner idea that doesn’t take much time or effort to prepare. These easy low carb buffalo chicken lettuce wraps from Amanda Seghetti are perfect for a busy weeknight dinner. Make your own buffalo chicken using budget-friendly chicken thighs in the slow cooker, then enjoy the spicy meat on lettuce wraps for a cheap and easy dinner idea everyone will love.

Healthy Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes are a popular budget-friendly dinner idea for many families. But most sloppy Joe recipes aren’t very healthy! By sneaking in some hidden veggies, you can transform an unhealthy cheap dinner into a delicious meal for everyone in the family. With the help of your Instant Pot you can make these healthy sandwiches from the Oregon Dietician using frozen hamburger meat in under 30 minutes.

Vegetarian Chili

Chili is a wonderful option for a budget friendly dinner idea. And with this easy vegetarian chili recipe from Seven Roses, you can skip the meat and cut back on your spending. Combine delicious vegetables, like tomatoes and corn, with your favorite beans to create a filling meal packed with flavor for your family for dinner tonight.

Skillet Chicken Thighs

While chicken thighs may be a cheaper cut of meat, that doesn’t mean they can’t taste amazing. When you season your chicken thighs properly and cook them in a cast iron skillet, they can be a delicious cheap option for dinner. This simple recipe for skillet chicken thighs from Bliss Health Coaching can help you make a budget-friendly dinner for your family without sacrificing any flavor.

Healthy Chili Mac

Although traditional recipes for chili mac are usually packed with fat, this lightened up version of healthy chili mac is a great budget-friendly dinner option. This simple recipe from Easy Chickpeasy is meat free, making it great for a meatless meal night. And with three different kinds of beans and pasta, it’s full of filling ingredients that everyone in the family will like.

Chicken Pasta with Broccoli

Finding kid-friendly recipes that incorporate veggies can be a difficult task. But with this easy recipe for chicken pasta with broccoli from Home Fresh Ideas, your kids will love eating their veggies! Use broccoli, chicken breast, bacon, and cheese to create a delicious family-friendly meal that’s also budget-friendly.

Tomato Basil Soup

Making a hearty soup is another great way to stretch your grocery budget during the week. And since this tomato basil soup from the Green Loot is meat-free, you can save even more money when you make it. Featuring a handful of common pantry ingredients, including tortellini pasta, this simple recipe is a great meal idea on a busy weeknight. 

Stuffed Pepper Skillet

This easy recipe has all the flavors of stuffed peppers without all the hard work! Combine bell peppers with ground chicken, rice, and beans to create a healthy and filling dish that’s perfect for serving your family. This easy stuffed pepper skillet from the Recipe Well is a great way to make a healthy meal packed with veggies, even when you’re on a tight budget.

Roasted Cauliflower

In addition to finding great main dish recipes for dinner, it’s also a good idea to have some cheap side dish options on hand. This simple recipe for roasted cauliflower from the Forked Spoon combines a cheap vegetable with oil and seasonings to create a simple side dish that will complement just about any meal.

Hidden Veggie Meatloaf

When you combine ground chicken with chopped vegetables, you can create a delicious budget dinner that everyone in your family will love. This hidden veggie meatloaf from Your Homemade Healthy uses a variety of vegetables to flavor a low-fat meatloaf, making it perfect for weeknight dinners. You can feed your kids their vegetables without a fight and save money while doing it with this simple dinner recipe!

Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Combining the delicious flavors of sweet potatoes and black beans is a great dinner idea. And since this simple recipe for black bean stuffed sweet potatoes is made up of meat-free proteins, like beans, quinoa, and lentils, it’s great for families on a tight budget. But while this easy recipe may be cheap to make, it doesn’t skimp on flavor! You’ll enjoy the combination of beans, mushrooms, and grains all stuffed inside a sweet potato.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Your family may enjoy going out to your favorite Mexican restaurant to eat fajitas. But could you get that meal for less than $2 per serving? With this easy recipe for sheet pan chicken fajitas from Easy Budget Recipes, your family can have their favorite Mexican dish without spending a fortune. And on top of being cheap to make, this simple recipe is also packed with vegetables, making a great choice for a healthy dinner idea at home with your family.

Slow Cooker Chicken Dinner

With just four ingredients, you can create a quick and easy healthy dinner for your family without much effort from you at all! Combine chicken, potatoes and green beans in your slow cooker to create this easy slow cooker chicken dinner recipe from a Ranch Mom. It’s a full meal that you can dump in the slow cooker, making it great for busy nights when you don’t feel like cooking.

Mashed Cauliflower

Instead of serving high-carb potatoes with your dinner tonight, why not lighten things up? This cheesy bacon mashed cauliflower recipe from Latina Mom Meals is a great low carb alternative to mashed potatoes. And since it’s packed with flavor, your kids probably won’t even know they’re eating their vegetables.

Zucchini Tomato Pasta

While pasta may be a cheap dinner option, sometimes it’s not the healthiest choice. If you’re watching your carbs, swap out traditional spaghetti for zucchini for a lighter dinner idea. This zucchini tomato pasta combines zucchini, tomatoes, and bacon to create a delicious budget-friendly dinner idea that’s perfect for a low-carb lifestyle.

Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

While many people complain how expensive it can be to eat a healthy diet, finding ways to stretch your dollar when you’re trying to eat healthy doesn’t have to be complicated.

Knowing these easy tips for eating healthy on a budget will make it easier to stay on track, both on your diet and on budget.

Always start with a plan. Meal planning is one of the best ways to stay on budget – especially when you’re trying to eat healthy meals. Taking the time to plan your menu for the week will not only ensure you have plenty of ideas for healthy meals, it will also help you stay on budget. Since you have a plan for each meal, you’ll know exactly what ingredients you need to purchase at the grocery store.

Make a list. After planning your meals, take the time to make a detailed grocery list of all the food you’ll need to prepare your meals that week. A list will help you stay on track as you shop, ensuring you stick to your budget and helping you prevent those impulse purchase that cause you to overspend.

Plan your meals according to the season. Incorporating fresh produce into your dishes is one of the best ways to enjoy a healthy meal at dinner time. But fresh produce can be expensive if it’s not in season. On top of being fresher and tasting better, seasonal produce will usually be cheaper than produce that isn’t in season. To make your grocery budget last longer, try planning your meals around the seasons so you’re always incorporating seasonal produce into your weekly menu. 

Or freeze produce when it’s on sale. Another great way to add produce to your healthy meals without the need to plan around the seasons is to stock up on seasonal produce when it’s on sale. The produce you don’t use during the week can be frozen and used later on, allowing you to always have healthy fruits and vegetables on hand when you need them, no matter the season.

Buy produce at a farmer’s market. Skip the grocery store markups and buy your fruits and vegetables directly from the source to save even more money on healthy ingredients. When you purchase your produce at a farmer’s market, you’re not only able to save money on seasonal fruits and vegetables, but you’re also helping out a local farmer in the process. And since locally grown produce is fresh and usually organic, it’s usually a healthier option than store-bought fruits and vegetables anyway.

Use sales to help plan your meals. You can also save money on more expensive grocery items, like meat and produce, by using your grocery store’s weekly circular to plan your meals. Check for deals on those pricey items before you go shopping, then plan your healthy dinners around the ingredients that are on sale that week.

Use cheap foods to make your meals. Learning how to cook healthy foods on a budget starts with understanding the costs associated with meal prep. One of the best ways to save money when cooking is to make meals with cheap foods. There are a variety of healthy cheap foods, including beans, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, low fat meats, and dairy products. The next time you go shopping, take a look at the prices of some of your favorite healthy ingredients to figure out which ones are within your budget and which ones are too expensive. Then, try to make recipes that incorporate the less expensive menu items to help decrease your grocery spending from week to week.

Cook less expensive meats. Adding meats to your dinner can be the most expensive part of the meal. By using less expensive cuts of meat (ground beef, chicken thighs, pork shoulder, chuck roast, etc.), you can add more protein to your meals without spending extra money.

Consider going meatless. Since meats can often be expensive, leaving meat out of your meal completely is another great way to eat healthy on a budget. And since you can find protein in a variety of cost-effective meat alternatives, it’s a great way to save money each week. Instead of adding meat to a meal, consider getting protein from cheaper options like beans, nuts, cheese, or tofu.

Use up your leftovers. Avoiding waste is a simple way to help stretch your weekly grocery budget, and that means making sure you use up all the leftovers you have from your dinners throughout the week. You could set one night a week as leftover night, enjoy leftovers for lunch, or repurpose leftovers into other meals.

Stretch your meals with healthy add-ins. Another simple way to stretch your grocery budget is to bulk up your meals with cheap and healthy add-ins, like whole grains and seasonal vegetables. This will allow you to use less meat in your meals while also ensuring your family gets plenty of healthy food to enjoy at each meal.

Freeze the extras. Avoiding food waste is one of the best ways to ensure your groceries last as long as possible. And one of the easiest ways to make your food last is to freeze it. Whether you make extra and freeze the food by batch cooking or simply set aside extra ingredients to freeze for later use, making use of your freezer is a great way to help save money on groceries from week to week.

Try going homemade. On top of helping you eliminate preservatives from your diet and cutting back on your salt intake, making foods from scratch can also help you save money. Convenience foods, like premade sauces, breads, and meals, may be quicker and easier to prepare, but they’re also more expensive. To save money and make healthier food for your family, consider making some homemade foods in place of those convenience foods you currently enjoy.

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cheap healthy meals for family

Thoughts on other tasty, healthy and cheap dinner recipes?