Dietitian Melissa Meier proves that you don’t need to break the budget to eat healthy with her five best healthy dinners that come in at under $5 per serve.
“Healthy eating is too expensive” said no dietitian, ever.
While it’s true that ingredients like nuts, fresh seafood and raspberries when they’re not in season can put a hefty dent in your bank balance, you don’t have to spend up big in order to tick all the nutrition boxes.
Don’t believe me? Here are five good-for-you dinners that cost less than $5 a pop.
Crumbed chicken with rice and veg = $4.19 per serve
The humble chook is a winner when it comes to inexpensive meals. For a healthy portion, I’d recommend half a chicken breast per person – and to keep it on the lighter side, I’d suggest baking rather than frying once it’s coated in some breadcrumbs (wholemeal if you can).
To round out the meal, serve it with a small portion of cooked brown basmati rice along with half a zucchini and half a bunch of broccolini cooked in a little reduced-salt soy sauce for some flavour.
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Chickpea tacos = $3.07 per serve (3 tacos)
Vego meals can really help to keep the cost of your groceries down – not to mention, the perks they can add to your health. A tin of chickpeas, for example, is jam-packed with gut-loving fibre, plant-based protein and low-GI carbs… all for the pittance of 80 cents a can!
After sautéing chickpeas in a little olive oil to make them crisp, add them to a couple of soft taco shells along with a little avocado (one quarter per person), shredded red cabbage, a spoonful of dry-fried corn kernels (opt for frozen to save $) and a spicy sauce made of yoghurt and a dash of chipotle tabasco. Yum!
Pasta with peas and ricotta = $3.78 per serve
An all-time favourite in my household, this one brings the goods in terms of flavour and cost savings.
Start with a base of wholemeal pasta for extra fibre and micronutrients, and once it’s almost cooked, add one handful of frozen baby peas per person to the water. Then simply drain and stir through a generous mixture of light ricotta cheese, parsley and lemon juice and season with plenty of black pepper. All I’ll say is: you’re welcome.
Fish fritters = $4.74 per serve
Yes, seafood can be costly… if it’s fresh. Tinned seafood, on the other hand, is far thriftier but just as nutritious, packed with hunger busting protein and heart-healthy fats if you opt for something like salmon, sardines or mackerel.
I like to mix tinned salmon (tuna works just as well) with onion, grated veggies (whatever you can find in your crisper will do) and cooked potato – then all you have to do is fry them up in a little olive oil and serve them with a simple side of dressed leafy greens.
Poached eggs on toast = $4.94 per serve
Finished work and CBF cooking? Eggs can satisfy your dinnertime needs in a matter of minutes… and seriously, what’s better than breakfast for dinner?!
I love anything from an omelette to a frittata to shakshuka… but the quickest, easiest way to enjoy eggs in the evening is to simply poach a couple and serve them alongside some sautéed veg (think: cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach) and a slice of sourdough for added goodness in the form of gut-lovin’ probiotics. Egg-celent.
Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.