Food is one of our biggest expenses each week and we obviously can’t go without it – but we can monitor what we’re splashing our cash on and get cheap healthy meals for the whole family.
And the good news is you can eat well on a budget without having to cut up coupons!
We have chosen some recipes from the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge below to show you how YUMMY and healthy budget food can be for you and the whole family!
10 Top Tips To Eat Healthily On A Budget
1. Make a meal plan
YES it’s true, we are still talking about meal planning. That’s because it’s the NUMBER ONE way to save money on your groceries week to week.
Knowing what you are going to eat for each meal and snack means you will know exactly what you need to buy. So nothing gets forgotten, and nothing goes to waste.
2. Shop less often (and go online)
The fewer times you hit the supermarket the better. How often do you pop to the shop to pick up one or two things, and walk out with an armful of groceries? It’s too tempting to overspend.
So do your best to do one big shop per week, either online or in person. And always use your shopping list from the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge so you don’t forget anything. Shopping online is great as you can see your total spend before you commit to it.
3. Double up
It takes just as much effort to cook a double batch as it does to cook a single one – so always double up! So if you’re cooking this delicious Choc-Hazelnut Freezer Pie, make two and freeze one!
Or if you’re cooking up the Simple Chicken Curry, freeze the second batch in single serves for your lunch or in one tub as a family sized portion.
Knowing you have snacks and meals on hand is a great way to lose weight on a budget, as you won’t be tempted by a raspberry muffin at the café or a chicken madras from the takeaway.
4. Use economical ingredients
Make the most of kitchen staples to bulk out your meals – think frozen peas, tinned chickpeas, oats, eggs, rice and tuna. Go through the kitchen and find ingredients that need to be used up.
Then jump on the recipe hub of the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge and find something that you’d like to cook (ideally with ingredients you already have on hand).
5. Switch up ingredients
If one of our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge recipes asks you to use a specific ingredient that you don’t have, feel free to mix and match to what you do have (or what’s cheaper).
For instance, you can dollop sour cream on your soup, but if you don’t have any, some Greek yoghurt will work too. If a stir fry calls for chicken breast, you can easily use chicken thighs or some tofu instead to save money.
6. Put meals on Repeat
We offer tons of variety on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge, but that doesn’t mean you have to prepare three brand new meals and three different snacks each and every day. Lots of the mums on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge choose to alternate between just two breakfasts across the week for instance, and that’s perfect for them.
Many mums will make extra of their dinner (like these Baked Sweet Potatoes With Spinach & Feta from the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge to eat for lunch the next day rather than making something from scratch. Make the plans work for you and your lifestyle.
Get more budget-friendly recipes in our free recipe pack. Everything works out to be $2.50/serve or LESS!
8. Reduce processed foods
It’s so easy to fill your trolley with boxes of food that claim to be ‘natural’ which in fact are anything but. By reducing the amount of processed food in your trolley, you’ll save money as well as calories and additives.
It’s easy to make your own muesli bars and slices for your own snacks (that can work well for lunch boxes too). Make your own simple sauces for stir fry and pasta rather than buying them in a jar or sachet (they’re often ¼ sugar by the way).
9. Keep it simple
It’s perfectly fine (and delicious) to have some boiled eggs and toast soldiers for dinner sometimes. Having a few cheap and cheerful meals up your sleeve can save you a TON of cash (and calories), as it means you won’t feel tempted to order a pizza or eat out when you’re tired and hungry.
10. Take full advantage of the Healthy Mummy App
In the Healthy Mummy App, home to the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge all portion sizes, shopping list and nutrition are taken care of for you plus meals are budget and family friendly.
Staples to keep in your cupboard:
- Tinned legumes
- Stock cubes
- Sweet potatoes
For more on what items to stock here in your pantry read this! 5 pantry staples you need to be stocked in at all time
Lifestyle changes to help keep costs down:
- Become a flexitarian and swap meat for beans (which are loaded with protein) a couple of times a week.
- Rather than throw out leftover veg, why not make a soup or broth?
- Even if you just start out by growing your own herbs then veg, it’ll save you money and a supermarket run.
Cheap Healthy Family Meals – all from the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge:
Lemon and Thyme Roast Chicken
- 1 whole large chicken around 3-4kg
- 1 lemon try to find unwaxed if possible
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary (or use dried thyme, sage or mixed herbs)
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper
This recipe only includes four ingredients (chicken, thyme, lemon), but if you chuck some roasted sweet potatoes in you can feed the whole family for $6, excluding leftovers.
For more on this recipe, click here.
15 Minute Healthy Chicken Satay Salad Tacos
- cooking oil spray
- 1 chopped red capsicum
- 4 stalks thinly sliced celery
- 400 grams chicken breast fillets
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce salt reduced
- hard taco shells
- mixed lettuce leaves
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh coriander
This delicious meal only takes 15 minutes to prepare, and you can feed the your family for $6.80. For full recipe, click here.
10 Minute Corn Salsa With Egg
Ingredients per meal:
- 1/2 cup corn kernels fresh or tinned
- 1/4 avocado diced
- 1 spring onion finely sliced
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp dried Italian herbs
- cooking oil spray
- 1 free range egg
- 1 slice wholegrain bread of choice
You could feed an average family (2 adults and 2 kids) for $7 – note this includes two adult sized portions ($1.90 per serve) and two kid-sized portions.
For more on this recipe, click here.
Homemade Pizzas With Less Than 5 Ingredients
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, sliced
- 100g red ripe cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (add just before serving)
This works out at around $5 per meal for the family. For full recipe, click here.
Meanwhile, this Mum Kaitie spent SIX HOURS prepping meals for 12 weeks and it only cost $500!
Check out Kaitie’s top 6 tips that will help YOU meal plan like a pro and achieve your weight loss goals on a budget too!
1. Utilise your appliances!!
2. Bulk dishes out with veggies and lentils
3. Shop online and look at sales!
I love planning my meal prep around the current shop sales to get the most bang for my buck!If on a strict budget shopping online can be a game changer! You can always see the total before reaching the checkout, you can easily compare prices and you can limit impulse shopping!
Freeze EVERYTHING!!! All leftovers – curry paste, tomato paste and liquid stock, place in an ice cube tray and transfer into labeled ziplock bags to reduce wastage. Freeze herbs in an ice cube tray with a little olive oil, bananas going bad? FREEZE them, perfect for smoothies or defrost when you are making banana bread next time!
Always label and date food you are freezing, whether it is uncooked meat, curry paste, bananas, meals or prepared snacks. All containers should be labelled with the date and you should make sure you rotate if you are adding extras to the freezer regularly.
5. Use the ingredients you have on hand and make a plan to cook a variety of meals that use similar ingredients
Pick recipes from the Healthy Mummy App which use the same ingredients so you can buy in bulk and save money that way, this will also make your meal prep day a lot easier. If mince is on sale you could make:
- One pot Spaghetti Bolognaise,
- Mexican Lasagna
- Porcupine Meatballs
- Beef san Choy bow
- Slow cooked lasagna soup all at the same time.
You could add lentils to bulk these out and use the same grated veg for each recipe – carrot, onion, zucchini and capsicum.
Planning is key when it comes to meal prep and weight loss! It helps you set yourself up with the correct ingredients and it helps you get the most out of your time in the kitchen. Having a weekly meal plan and sticking to it really helps with smashing weight loss goals but it also helps with weekly budgeting.
Are you ready to become a Healthy Mummy?
If you are wanting to lose weight and improve your energy – not to mention – help improve your overall health and wellbeing – our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge is an awesome program to check out.
Our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge includes:
- 28 days of at home exercise routines (no gym needed) – with video instruction
- Customisable and breastfeeding friendly meal plans (including 7 Day Cleanse)
- Time-efficient exercises for busy mums – under 30 mins
- Challenge combines Pilates exercises with interval and circuit training (HIIT)
- Suitable for basic to advanced fitness levels
- Home to thousands of EASY-TO-MAKE recipes!