3-ingredient meals to save time and money

Dietitian Melissa Meier shares five nutritious and cost-effective meal ideas, consisting of just three ingredients each. Bon appetite!

There’s nothing worse than finding a new recipe you’d like to try, only to realise it requires a trip to the supermarket and $50 worth of ingredients you’ve never used before (and probably will never use again). To save you time and money – and do your bit for your health, too – here are five three-ingredient recipes that are economical, tasty, oh-so-good for you and make use of what you probably already have in your fridge and pantry. What’s not to love?!

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Baked beans on toast = $2.53 per serve

The perfect plant-based breakfast, lunch or dinner, baked beans on toast is a wholesome meal that gets my tick of approval. Beans are packed with hunger-busting protein and gut-loving fibre, and even count as veggies. For a healthier spin on this old favourite, opt for reduced-salt beans and pair them with dense, grainy brown bread. For a little extra ‘yum’ factor, sprinkle with a little feta cheese just before serving.

Banana brekkie smoothie = $1.04 per serve

A ripe banana, a cup of cow’s or calcium-fortified soy milk and half a cup of rolled oats is a well-balanced breakfast that’s perfect for busy mornings. A base of milk provides a protein punch as well as all-important calcium for strong bones and teeth. The rolled oats offer low-GI carbs to balance blood sugars and keep you feeling full, while the banana adds a hint of natural sweetness and extra fibre. Tick, tick, tick.

Tuna crispbreads = $3.98 per serve

The humble tin o’ tuna is an excellent way to get seafood in your diet on the cheap. Full of top-notch protein, it will help to keep hunger pangs at bay long after lunch. Pair a tin of tuna with a quarter of an avocado and some whole grain crispbreads for slow-burning carbs to round out the meal.

Veggie omelette = $4.13 per serve

Eggs are a real winner in my eyes. Cheap as chips, easy to use and packed with good nutrition, they’re a staple in any healthy kitchen. Not only do they provide muscle-building protein, but also heart-healthy fats and a range of micronutrients, like vitamin C for healthy eyes and iron to carry oxygen around your body. For an easy-peasy healthy meal, pan fry a handful of halved cherry tomatoes, then pour over whisked eggs and grated zucchini. Cook on each side until the egg is set and voila – dinner is done.

Pesto pasta = $3.36 per serve

Yes, pasta can be very good for you – the trick is to avoid a carb-filled mountain of it and instead, opt for a sensible portion of one cooked cup. Choosing wholemeal over white is another good decision as it contains far more fibre and micronutrients than the plain white variety. Pair your wholemeal pasta with a spoonful of store-bought pesto and stir-through a large handful of roasted cherry tomatoes. Delish.

Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.