10 Healthy Meal Ideas That Don’t Break the Bank
We want to help you get more vegetables and fruit in your diet. The easiest way to have a balanced meal is to choose your vegetable first, then a grain or protein.
Here are some healthy meal ideas that follow this principle and are cost-effective for the family budget.
1. Veggie Noodles: Replace pasta with zucchini. Use a spiralizer (affordable to purchase) to make noodles out of zucchini. Serve the noodles fresh topped with a warm marinara sauce and sautéed vegetables or a vegan pesto sauce. Can be served with homemade meatballs.
2. Lettuce Wraps: Choose either romaine or iceberg lettuce leaves and fill them with your favorite warm or cold salad. Our favorites are egg salad, tuna salad, ground turkey taco meat with taco toppings, or sautéed chicken. Sauté the chicken in either coconut aminos for an Asian flavor or shawarma sauce for a savory alternative.
3. Cauliflower: This cruciferous vegetable is your friend! Serve it instead of mashed potatoes or rice. For mashed potatoes, steam the cauliflower and whip it. Or buy it already riced and sauté it with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. You will not miss your regular potatoes, we promise. Round off the meal with baked fish and sweet peas for a little protein and green.
4. Sweet Potatoes: These are a favorite in our home, as it can be so versatile. Bake the potatoes in the oven with the skin on until fork tender or cube it first, then roast it in a pan with olive oil. Get fancy and julienne them to roast into oven fries, or slice and steam them to whip into sweet potato mash. Serve with a green salad or other root vegetables.
5. Roasted Veggies: These are a must for every family. We do roasted veggies multiple times a week. They are easy to prepare, and if you rotate the veggies and seasonings, they are far from boring. Some veggies taste great roasted alone with olive oil brushed over them; like whole beets or sliced cabbage. Others can be diced and tossed together like potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and onions. Stir in a little olive oil, herbs, seasoning, and sea salt for a meal in an hour or less.
6. Salad: Who doesn't love a good salad?? "Beet" up your salad. Serve a big green salad with roasted beets and other vegetables, fermented veggies and a delicious homemade dressing. Try our favorite Basil Balsamic, Greek, and Dairy-Free Ranch dressing recipes.
7. Marinated Grilled Veggies: These veggies are a real treat for the whole family! We like to slice peppers, onions, baby portabello mushrooms, and zucchini, and marinate them for a couple of hours with our favorite healthy salad dressing or a mix of olive oil, fresh herbs, crushed fresh garlic, and salt and pepper. Place these veggies on a grill until tender and they can serve as a meat alternative in a wrap, on top of cauliflower rice or grain, or with whipped sweet potatoes or cauliflower.
8. Soup: You can never go wrong with soup. Use up your veggies in the fridge by dicing them into a delicious soup. Do a combination of water, coconut milk, chicken, or veggie stock as the base and flavor it with your favorite herbs. You may want to blend part of the soup up and pour it back in for a creamy base. Add in meat OR potatoes (not both) for a heartier meal or keep it light with just veggies. See all of our soup and stew recipes.
9. Breakfast: Why not have breakfast for dinner! Scramble eggs and serve with avocado and sauerkraut. Sauté some veggies in the eggs or on the side.
10. Smoothies: Don't forget the simplest meal of all! Make a homemade smoothie bowl. Blend up your favorite smoothie and top it with amazing superfoods. We like to use fresh-cut fruit, coconut flakes, cacao nibs, and hemp seeds. Even more simplistic is a bowl of fruit. In the warm months, we regularly start our day with a large bowl of fruit salad.