Easy 25 Cheap Healthy Food Prep Recipes to try

Having a Cheap Healthy Food Prep is great for those on a budget. The first step to making your favorite dishes is to purchase the right ingredients.

You need to be careful with your purchases as you can’t sacrifice ingredients that are important to your dish’s flavor and texture. Buying fresh fruits and vegetables will save you money and give you the best nutritional value, but canned and frozen produce is also an option.

Cheap Healthy Food Prep
Cheap Healthy Food Prep

The way we eat has changed drastically over the last century or so. We lived off of home cooking and grew our produce, but now we depend on fast food chains for meals.

There are many benefits to switching back, such as saving money, having more energy, and reducing stress levels. When you prepare food yourself, you know exactly what goes into it.

What is the Healthy food meal prep?

Healthy food meal prep is a great way to manage your weight and stay healthy. The idea is that you prepare all of your meals in advance, place them into Tupperware containers, and store them in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to eat them.

This makes it easier to cook delicious dishes every day because you don’t have to worry about preparing everything at the last minute. Healthy food meal prep doesn’t have to be complicated.

All you need is a little bit of time, an oven, and the right ingredients. The more time you spend preparing your meals in advance, the better they’ll taste and the easier it will be for you to stick to your plans.

How can I eat healthy and cheap for a week?

The first step to eating healthy on a budget is to plan your meals for the week. It’s important to make sure you have everything you need, so stock up on items on sale or in season.

When planning your shopping trip, it can be helpful to use a price book. This is an easy way to track the prices of items you commonly buy. When prices go down, it’s best to stock up and buy extra.

Once you’ve got your healthy food meal prep plan in place, the next step is cooking everything when you get home from work, so it’s ready to eat by the time you need it. This isn’t necessary if you know what meals you’ll be eating that week, but it’s helpful if you don’t.

How can I save time?

You might think healthy food meal prep is impossible because it takes so much time to prepare your meals for the entire week, but there are ways to make things easier on yourself. Once you know what ingredients you need and how long each step takes, you can plan accordingly.

For example, if you’re cooking a large pot of protein to use throughout the week, it’s best to make enough food for two or three days at once. This helps reduce the amount of time spent in the kitchen and eliminates extra trips to the grocery store because you always have what you need on hand.

Top 25 Cheap Healthy Food Prep Recipes: 

1. Healthy Oatmeal

Healthy Oatmeal
Healthy Oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of oats
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds or ground flaxseed
  • 2 tablespoons honey, coconut sugar, or stevia berry
  • Dash of cinnamon and salt

Method

Mix all ingredients in a bowl with water the night before eating to have a delicious healthy breakfast all week!

2. Slow Cooker Chicken

Ingredients

  • 4-6 large chicken breasts (frozen is okay)
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 chopped onion (optional)
  • 1 sliced bell pepper (any color you like!) (optional)

Method

Put everything in the slow cooker and set it low for 9 hours or high for 4-5 hours. You can also leave it overnight to have it ready for breakfast!

3. Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of quinoa, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 chopped cucumber​
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained  *(add spices or hot sauce if desired)
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels (add spices or hot sauce if desired)
  • Dressing (mix)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime (about 2-3 tbsp.)

Method  

Mix all ingredients except dressing in a large bowl. Add dressing and stir until evenly coated. Chill until ready to eat!

4. BBQ Chicken

Ingredients

  • 4-6 chicken breasts (frozen is okay) (add spices or hot sauce if desired)
  • 2/3 cup BBQ sauce (add less for lower calories, more for more flavor!)

Method

Mix all ingredients in a bowl with water the night before eating to have a delicious healthy dinner all week!

5. Baked Sweet Potato

Ingredients

  • 1 sweet potato, washed (or use pre-washed!)
  • Coconut oil or olive oil spray (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Pierce the skin of your sweet potato with a fork multiple times and place it on a baking sheet. Bake for 40-50 minutes.

6. Turkey Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of lean ground turkey (or ground chicken if desired)
  • 2 chopped green onions (optional) (add spices or hot sauce if desired)

Method

Mix all ingredients until evenly combined. Roll into balls, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

7. Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

Banana Oatmeal Pancakes
Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of oats
  • 1 egg (or 1/4 cup ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tbsp water) *(add spices or hot sauce if desired)
  • 1 banana, mashed (about 1/2 cup)
  • Optional: cinnamon, vanilla extract

Method

SEE ALSO:   Healthy Food Katy: Top 15 Healthy Food Items

Mix all the ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. In a large pan over medium heat, pour about 1/4 cup of your batter and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Top with desired toppings!

8. Baked Sweet Potato Nachos

Ingredients

  • 1 sweet potato, washed (or use pre-washed!)
  • Coconut oil or olive oil spray (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Pierce the skin of your sweet potato with a fork multiple times and place it on a baking sheet. Bake for 40-50 minutes. For more information on how to make the chips, check out this recipe!

9. Cauliflower Fried Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into small pieces  *(add spices or hot sauce if desired)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion (optional) *(add spices or hot sauce if desired)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil for frying on the stove

Method 

Put the cauliflower in a blender and blend until it reaches “rice” consistency. In a large pan over medium heat, pour about 2 tablespoons of oil and add your green onion and cauliflower. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and any other spices you’d like to give it more flavor! Cook for 5-7 minutes until soft. You can also add in chicken or shrimp!

10. Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of oats
  • 1 egg (or 1/4 cup ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tbsp water) *(add spices or hot sauce if desired)
  • 1 banana, mashed (about 1/2 cup)
  • Optional: cinnamon, vanilla extract

Method

Mix all the ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. In a large pan over medium heat, pour about 1/4 cup of your batter and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Top with desired toppings! 

11. Quinoa Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of quinoa, cooked according to package directions
  • 3 tbsp. chopped red pepper
  • 1/8 cup chopped green onion (optional) (add spices or hot sauce if desired)
  • 2 tsp grated ginger root
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil

Method

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Form into small balls and refrigerate.

12. Healthy Chicken Burrito Bowls:

Ingredients:

  • 5 lean chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 1/2 c salsa
  • 2 cups frozen black beans
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ c red onion, diced small
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Prepare:

Step 1.

Heat a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the chicken thighs to the pan, skin side down, to sear.

Step 2.

Flip the chicken and cook until opaque in the center, about 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and allow it to cool slightly. Cut into 1-inch pieces and set aside.

Step 3.

Add the beans, salsa, onion, garlic, paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper to a large slow cooker or Crockpot. Stir to combine. Add the chicken thighs on top of the mixture in your slow cooker—Cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours.

Step 4.

Serve over fresh, cooked brown rice or quinoa and top with guacamole and salsa.

13. The Lemon Detox:

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 4 tablespoons of lemon juice and the zest of one lemon

Instructions:

Step 1. Bring a medium pan of water to a boil and add the broccoli.

Step 2. Cook for 3 minutes

Step 3. Remove the broccoli and either purée or blend it in a food processor with the lemon juice and zest

Step 4. Serve immediately with mixed-leaf salad and some grilled fish or chicken, for example.

14. Dried Fruit Salad with Blueberries and Pecans:

Ingredients:

  • 1 apple, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • ½ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)

Instructions:

In a medium bowl, combine the apples, apricots, cranberries, pecans, and blueberries. Toss to coat. Serve immediately or chill for an hour before serving.

15. Strawberry Cashew Smoothie:

Ingredients:  

  • 2 cups of fresh or frozen unsweetened strawberries.
  • 1/4 cup raw shelled almonds
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds or ground flax seeds
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk (canned or homemade)

Instructions:

Combine all the ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Serves two.

16. Mixed Bean Salad:

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of kidney beans
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced finely
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or to taste)

Instructions:  

(serves 2)  Add the black and kidney beans, olive oil, and garlic to a large bowl. Add the bell pepper and onions to the bowl and stir to combine. Serve cold.

17. Greek Chickpea Salad:

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, diced finely
  • 1 cup cucumber, diced finely
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped finely
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced (or to taste)

Instructions:  

Combine the ingredients in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil. Serve chilled or at room temperature. 

18. Lemon Ginger Detox Salad:

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of butter leaf lettuce, chopped
  • ½ head of red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 bunch of kale, chopped and stems removed
  • 3 carrots, sliced thinly into matchsticks
  • 1 cup of raw broccoli florets

• For the dressing:  

Juice from 1 whole lemon Juice from ½ a lime 2 cloves garlic chopped Pinch of sea salt Freshly ground black pepper Olive oil.

Instructions:  

Step 1.

Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Set aside.

Step 2.

Place all the greens in a large bowl and toss gently to combine. Pour dressing over greens and toss to combine – be careful not to break up the leaves too much! Serve chilled or at room temperature. 

19. Grilled Vegetables and Panini:

Ingredients:  

Fresh pesto

  • a small jar or can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced thinly
  • 1 red and yellow pepper, 4 green onions
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ tsp salt Freshly ground black pepper.  Olive oil.

Instructions:  

Step 1.

Place all the ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth. Use a spoon to spread the mixture on your whole wheat bread (two slices).

Step 2.

Top with another slice and sprinkle a few more pine nuts on top. Wrap in foil and grill until browned on the outside and heated through about 15 minutes. Serves 4.

20. Tomato and Black Bean Salad:

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup black beans drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced finely
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half (or 1 large tomato sliced)
  • 1 tsp lime juice  

Instructions:  

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and toss gently to combine. Serve chilled or at room temperature. 

SEE ALSO:   Healthy Food Bordeaux: Top 10 Healthy Food Items

21. Spinach Quinoa Salad:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups mixed baby spinach
  • ½ cup quinoa, cooked and cooled
  • 1/3 cup roasted almonds,
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 radishes, diced
  • ½ cup roasted pumpkin seeds (pumpkin seeds)

Instructions:

In a large bowl, add the spinach, quinoa, and almonds. Stir to combine and add the rest of the ingredients – avocado, radishes, pumpkin seeds, and cashews. Toss to combine and serve chilled or at room temperature.   

22. Meal Prep Shrimp Taco Bowls:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 small yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder  (or ½ tsp chipotle powder)  (optional)  – salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (about ½ cup dry)  (or rice or couscous if you are gluten-free).

Instructions:  

Step 1.  In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and sauté for 5 minutes or until the shrimp turns pink.

Step 2.  Stir in chili powder (or chipotle powder), salt, and pepper, and stir to coat.

Step 3.  Remove from heat and add quinoa to the skillet, stirring well to combine.  

Step 4.  Serve on 8-ounce tortillas with your choice of toppings – lettuce, tomato, cheese, etc.

23. Beet Salad with Feta Cheese:

Ingredients:  

  • 1 can of beets (drained and rinsed)
  • ¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup walnuts, chopped finely

Instructions:  

Combine the ingredients in a large bowl and toss gently to combine.  This salad is best served chilled, but you can also do it at room temperature.  

24. Tomato, Onion, and Pepper Stir Fry:

Ingredients:  

  • 2 cups of cooked brown rice (prepared according to the directions on the package)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced into matchsticks
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced thinly into strips

Instructions:

Add the oil and onions to a large sauté pan or wok over medium heat. Cook until soft, stirring occasionally. Add the peppers and onions, and cook a few minutes more. Add the zucchini, stir-fry for 4 minutes, and then remove from heat. Serve in a bowl over rice.  

25. Chicken and Sweet Potato Stew:

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato, cubed finely (about 2-3 cups)
  • 1 small onion, diced finely
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary or ½ tsp dried rosemary (optional)  – salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • – 2 cups of cooked white beans (drained and rinsed) (or chickpeas)  -(about ½ cup dry beans)    (you can also substitute brown rice for.
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced thinly    
  • ½ cup pasta sauce (you can use any flavor you like)

Instructions:

Step 1.  Add the sweet potatoes to a large pot of boiling water and cook for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.

Step 2.  In a large pan over medium heat, sauté the onion in olive oil until transparent – about 3 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary and mix well to combine. Toss in the beans, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Season with salt and pepper generously. Add some vegetable stock or warm water (optional) and let the ingredients simmer for about 15 minutes.

Is meal prepping cheaper?

Yes, it is! But, this is if you compare the value of your pre-cooked groceries to that of your regular takeout or restaurant meals.

After all, you’re saving time and effort, and money by cooking in bulk once a week. The only trade-off would be convenience; sometimes, we all need those moments where we can chow down without having to think about how much we’re spending.

When you consider the time and effort to cook, prepping can be cheaper because it reduces your trips out for takeout or food at restaurants (Woah, look at us saving up the planet) which will likely save you money in the end! So next time you want that burger, think about making it yourself!

What is the cheapest meal prep?

Chicken meal prep! Chicken is a great option because it’s pretty much flavorless and goes with almost anything. If you check the price of chicken breast at your local grocery store, you will probably notice that it’s relatively cheap compared to other meats. You can also use chicken in a lot of different meals- from fried rice to soup.

The reason why chicken is usually cheaper than beef or pork is that it’s breast meat. Breast meat usually has more fat and less connective tissue, which makes the price of chicken lower than other meats. You can also keep costs down by buying processed (or pre-cooked) chicken like tuna instead of cooking your own!

How can I eat $15 a week on?

You can eat $15 a week on meal prep by keeping things simple and focusing on some staple ingredients that you use in multiple recipes.

For example, if your goal is to eat $15 a week, you can buy 2 packages of chicken (2 x 7 dollars), 1 pack of tofu (4 dollars), and 1 spaghetti squash ($3.5). That way, you can get more use out of your ingredients and save more money in the long run!

What if I only have time for one meal prep?

If you are short on time or want to eat something easy, the acai bowl is a good choice! It’s really simple to make and doesn’t require any cooking, so you don’t have to waste time cleaning! Plus, the acai base is free of added sugar. You can top off your bowl with berries for extra sweetness and flavor!

What are some tips for eating cheaply?

  • Plan out your meals ahead of time. This way, you can do proper grocery shopping instead of just stopping by the grocery store for something at the last minute!
  • Please don’t go to restaurants or drive-throughs unless it’s needed.
  • You can save money on food by buying items that are about to expire- this often goes on sale.
  • Visit the farmer’s market for cheap produce! Remember that fruit and veg are always cheaper when they’re in season (less expensive to harvest).
  • Buy bulk! Larger quantities equal fewer trips out to buy more food.

The Bottom Line

I hope you enjoyed this post about how to save time and money on healthy food prep. If you have any questions, please leave a comment or share your thoughts in the comments section below. Thank you for reading!

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