Don’t lie. You love food as much as the next person, but usually, your budget is the one making your meal planning decisions. Do ramen and cold cereal sound familiar? I’ve been there myself–suddenly motivated to cook all these amazing dishes until I look at my bank account. Well, don’t give up yet because there are plenty of cheap delicious food options that won’t break the bank and will do more than just keep you alive. Here are 5 of my go-to cheap, healthy, and delicious foods.
I am always down for Mexican food, be it a burrito, enchilada, tostada, or street taco. Tacos are great because they can stand in for any meal. Need breakfast? Throw some eggs and bacon in a flour tortilla. Have guests coming that you weren’t expecting? Grab that handy can of refried beans, grate some cheese, and open the sour cream. Tacos can be filled with nearly anything, which is why I call them the ultimate meal.
I live for potatoes. Who wouldn’t with their diversity? Even Samwise knows how easy it is to boil ‘em, mash ‘em, or stick ‘em in a stew. Baked potatoes are especially great because you can eat one every day with a completely different set of toppings. Simple butter with salt and pepper, chili, stroganoff, or sautéed vegetables will have your mouth watering every time. If you aren’t restricting yourself to fries and chips, then yes, healthy potatoes can definitely be a thing.
If we’re talking about being overtly healthy, salad is the obvious answer, but it’s more than that. Salads are customizable down to the lettuce leaf option, which means you can add foods specific to your health needs without worrying too much about how it will affect the taste of the whole meal. Your salad can be as simple or extravagant as you want, and if you plan it just right, even a small salad will fill you right up.
I realize not everyone loves eggs, but they are brilliant because they can take you from breakfast straight through dessert. If you don’t like the yoke or egg white, it’s easy to separate the two. Impress your friends with a deviled egg or throw some scrambled eggs between two pieces of toast when you’ve got to run. And don’t forget, if you have basic baking ingredients, you’re never too far away from a batch of cookies. (Who said you have to eat healthy all the time?)
Pasta is often seen in large portions with fancy seasonings and names–not something that you could ever hope to achieve, right? Not true. A package of noodles is one of the cheapest things you can get your hands on. There are so many varieties and there are always plenty of leftovers once you’re done in the kitchen. If you have dependable recipes for a white sauce and a red sauce, you can impress all your friends with a delicious meal that takes about 20 minutes. With a little practice, you’ll be able to substitute ingredients in and out to make it healthier or more delicious.