Healthy eating often seems intimidating due to the cost and effort of procuring healthy ingredients for elaborate recipes. But dietitian Melissa Meier is here to show you that you can enjoy delicious, easy and healthy meals on the cheap.
If you’re bored of the same old mid-week dinners, listen up.
Here’s five of my all-time favourite meals that hardly put a dent in your pay check, coming in around $7 a pop or less.
The best part? They’re easy-peasy, tasty and oh-so good for you, perfectly portioned with lots of veggies, hunger-busting protein and slow-burning carbs to fill you up and keep you feeling satisfied.
5 healthy dietitian-approved meals under $10
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1. Healthy homemade fried rice = $3.81 per serve
It’s usually thought of as a side dish, but fried rice actually has all the trimmings of a nutritious main course.
Start with brown basmati rice (a microwave pouch is perfectly fine) for a base of top notch carbs to balance your blood sugars and keep you feeling full – I’d suggest roughly one cup of cooked rice per person.
Then, add in as many veggies as you can (think: onion, peas, broccoli, carrot, squash…) and throw in an egg or two for a protein punch. Stir through a dash of chilli jam or oyster sauce for flavour and ta-da! Dinner is served in the blink of an eye.
2. Chicken tacos = $6.90 per serve (2 tacos)
Tacos are the perfect bundle of fun that can tick all the nutrition boxes – as long as you don’t load them up solely with meat and sour cream!
I like to start with corn tacos and skinless chicken thighs for the filling, flavoured with Mexican chilli powder rather than pre-made taco seasoning.
Then it’s all about veg – and lots of them! Red cabbage, homemade tomato and lime salsa, avocado and grilled corn are my favourite healthy additions, topped with thick Greek yoghurt. Olé!
3. Fish cakes and salad = $7.04 per serve
Seafood has a reputation for being exxy – and while that might be true if you’re shopping at your local fishmonger, it’s certainly not the case when it comes out of a can. I know, I know – that doesn’t sound very appealing, but tinned tuna and salmon can offer some serious nutritional goodness and flavour for a fraction of the cost of fresh seafood.
I like to mix canned tuna with spring onion, herbs, lemon and steamed potato to form tuna patties, then fry them up in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO, for short) and serve them with a simple side of dressed greens. Delish!
4. Cherry tomato omelette = $5.68 per serve
Isn’t breakfast for dinner just the best thing ever? This is my go-to after a long day when I just can’t be bothered standing in the kitchen for longer than five minutes.
My fail-safe omelette recipe involves half a punnet of cherry tomatoes, three whisked eggs and a drizzle of EVOO. That’s it!
Top it with a sprinkle of goats cheese and a slice of toast with a quarter of an avocado. Protein – tick. Fibre – tick. Tasty – you bet.
5. Stuffed potato = $5.01 per serve
The humble spud cops a lot of flack, but truth is, they’re not all that bad. In fact, potatoes are rather nutritious, offering a range of vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre if you leave the skin on. Sweet potatoes in particular are low GI and contain beta carotene, an antioxidant that supports healthy eyes.
For another Mexican-inspired dish, I like to bake them in foil, cut them open and fill them with black beans and reduced-fat cheese.
Then, roast them again until the cheese melts and top with fresh tomato salsa, avocado and thick Greek yoghurt. Dinner, anyone?
Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.