The ultimate budget-friendly meal plan

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Meal planning is exhausting if you don’t have the right direction or motivation, and if you’re on a budget, it can feel overwhelming.

But if you ever struggle to plan out healthy meals without breaking the bank, we’ve got the perfect solution for you here.  

We’ve created a simple, cost-effective budget meal plan that will help you reach your health goals. 

Read on to discover:

  1. Great ingredients to add to your budget-friendly meal plan diet.
  2. Quick and easy recipe ideas for batch cooking.
  3. Pro tips to make sure you stick to your budget.

What are the best ingredients to use on a budget?

Definitely seasonal ingredients.

Apart from giving your cooking a bit of variety, seasonality affects the price of the ingredients you buy.

If it’s in season, it’s more readily available, and therefore cheaper.

Being aware of this will help you save money and enjoy different dishes all year round.

Some cheap seasonal options regarding vegetables include:

  • Summer: carrots, cucumber, and garlic.
  • Spring: green beans, strawberries, and spring onion.
  • Autumn: pumpkin, brussel sprouts, and eggplant.
  • Winter: beet, clementine, and squash.

When it comes to meat, don’t shy away from the cheaper cuts.  

You can pick these up for a fraction of the cost of “premium” cuts and they often have better flavor.  All you need is to give them a little love.  

Some of the cheaper cuts include…

  • Beef shoulder, shin, and flank
  • Whole chicken, chicken legs, thighs, or drumsticks
  • Pork top sirloin steak, collar, and skirt steak
  • Lamb shoulder, neck, and leg.

Try to stay away from cheap but unhealthy treats.

The aim of the game is to create a healthy meal plan on a budget, and while you’ll be allowed treats from time to time, it’s important to have as few distractions as possible when it comes to snacks.

Useful tips for creating a meal plan on a budget

Whatever you include in your meal plan needs to be realistic.

If you HATE spinach, adding it to your meal plan isn’t going to make you happy – even if it saves some money.

And you want this meal plan to be as appealing as possible, otherwise, it’s too easy to give up. 

If the weather’s cold, you might not want to eat a salad, and just a soup for lunch may not fill you up.

Keep all this into account when planning your meals, and choose cheap, seasonal ingredients that you like.

Budgeting isn’t always easy, and sometimes distractions happen.

That’s why sticking to a meal plan is fundamental.

Once you know what you’re eating throughout the day, make a shopping list, and when planning your meals, remember to include every meal you’ll have during the day, including snacks (breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and supper).

A great way of avoiding distractions is to write a shopping list and stick to it.

Allow for maybe 1-2 treats on your shopping trip, but do your research. 

Find out what the best seasonal ingredients are, choose your portions and your cuts of meat, and get started building your perfect budget-friendly meal plan.

Some quick ideas to add to your meal plan on a budget

We’ve included some recipes you can follow if you’re following a budget-friendly meal plan. 

You can adapt these,  but try to stick to seasonal ingredients and inexpensive options.

Here are a couple of budget-friendly breakfast options.

Budget-friendly breakfast meal plans

A good breakfast helps you feel fuller for longer – which means you’re less likely to fall victim to cravings. 

If you’re looking to start the day off right, the below options might be the perfect way to wake up.  

Protein pancakes

Pancakes are a great way to start your morning if you have a sweet tooth (and don’t have to watch your sugar intake).

They’re quick and easy to make, the ingredients you need are cheap, and if you follow our recipe, these pancakes will keep you full and within your daily-calorie count for weight loss.

Most of the ingredients (such as the baking powder or the cinnamon) can be used for dozens of pancake breakfasts, so even if you have to get every single ingredient on the list for your first batch of pancakes, they’ll come in handy for future recipes.

Let’s take a look at the recipe:


  • 1 egg (a dozen eggs approx $1.79)
  • 1 scoop protein powder (between $0.6/0.8 per serving)
  • ½ cup oats ($0.43 per serving)
  • ¼ cup plain greek yogurt (4-6 oz cost about $0.49)
  • ⅓ cup milk ($1.43 per liter)
  • 1 tsp baking powder (from $1.5 per 10 oz)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (around $2.57 per pound)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (from $1 per 8 oz bottle)


  1. Mix all the ingredients together until you have a lump-free batter.
  2. Heat up a pan and use a little butter or oil.
  3. Pour the mixture into the pan little by little.
  4. Flip the pancakes when you start to see bubbles forming on the surface.
  5. Finish cooking the second side and serve

Peanut overnight oats

The beauty of overnight oats is that they take very little time to make, and they’re a great healthy alternative to kickstart your day.

Oats pack a good amount of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and they’re a really popular option in weight loss plans.

And if they also come with peanut butter, your morning just got 100% better!

Check out the recipe:


  • ½ cup of oats ($0.43 per serving)
  • ½ cup milk ($1.43 per liter)
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter (from $2.50 per jar)
  • Any seasonal fruits you like
  • A small bowl or jar


  1. Add all the dry ingredients to your container of choice.
  2. Then, add all the wet ingredients and make sure the milk covers the oats completely.
  3. Cover and leave to set in the fridge overnight.

Budget-friendly lunch and dinner meal plans

A good meal is fundamental to keeping your metabolism working properly.

A meal that fills you up and offers all the nutrition you need is key to hitting your health goals.  

We bring you 7 meal ideas for the week.

Feel free to use, adapt, mix and match any of the following recipes!

Tuna melt sandwiches

Apart from being an important source of protein, tuna also offers generous amounts of vitamins, minerals, and omega-3.

With around 340 calories per serving, this light lunch is deceivingly filling, incredibly nutritious, and super easy to make.

You can complement it with a healthy dessert, such as low-fat yogurt or a fruit of your choice.

Let’s take a look at the recipe!


  • 2 cans of tuna (from $1.60 per can)
  • 1 diced small red onion ($1.50 per kilo)
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise (from $1.50 per 400gr)
  • 1 lemon juice (around $1.75 per kilo)
  • 2 oz of mozzarella, normal or low fat (from $2 for 8-16 oz)
  • 1 large tomato ($1.91 per pound)
  • 2 slices of sandwich bread (around $1.53 per loaf)
  • Optional – 1 tbsp capers (from $3.00 per bottle).


  1. Mix the mayo, tuna (previously drained), onion (diced), capers (chopped), and lemon juice, and stir well to combine.
  2. Pre-heat your pan over medium heat while you mix the ingredients together.
  3. Use a small spray of oil and cook the sandwiches until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted.

Turkey BLT salad

At just 230 calories per serving, this salad is a cheap and healthy option for lunch.

Apart from giving you a healthy amount of veggies and protein, this light lunch makes a perfect filling meal for warmer days and includes a healthy version of croutons.

You can also change the turkey for cooked ham or chicken, and you can add any seasonal veggies you fancy!


  • 2 slices of bread, diced into cubes (around $1.53 per loaf)
  • ½ tbsp oil (from $3.15 per liter of vegetable oil)
  • 4 strips of bacon (from $4.48 per pound)
  • 1 tomato ($1.91 per pound)
  • ½ cucumber (from $0.5 per pound)
  • 8 oz turkey (from $1.85 per pound)
  • 1 lettuce (from $0.31)
  • Low-fat ranch dressing (from $1.48 per 16 oz)


  1. If you bought the turkey uncooked, cook it before you start assembling the salad. Here’s a quick and easy recipe. If you’re using cooked turkey (or ham/chicken) then keep reading.
  2. In a 400°F preheated oven, put the diced bread with the oil of your choice, and bake until golden and crispy, for around 10 minutes.
  3. Fry and crumb the bacon while you’re toasting your bread. Then, get a large bowl and mix the croutons, bacon, tomato, turkey, or cooked ham, cucumber, and lettuce.
  4. Mix all the ingredients together with enough dressing to coat everything lightly.

Red pepper fettuccine

Budget meal plans don’t have to be cooked pasta tossed in tomato ketchup. This simple pasta recipe is proof you can create a cheap and healthy meal that also tastes great. 

At 390 calories per serving, this red pepper fettuccine is a great way to spice up your meal plan and have lunch or supper worthy of a restaurant – minus the cost!

It’s also very quick, easy, and cheap to make, so it won’t hurt your budget.

Let’s take a look at the recipe!


  • Around 10 oz of dried fettuccine (from $0.92 per pack)
  • 1 ½ tbsp butter (from $1.59 per pound)
  • 1 ½ tbsp flour (from $0.94)
  • 1 cup of milk ($1.43 per liter)
  • ¾ cup chopped roasted red peppers (from $1.38)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (from $0.47 per bulb)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (from $2.22 per 6 oz)
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Cook the pasta following the instructions on the packaging.
  2. While you cook the pasta, cut the peppers in quarters and roast them in the oven until soft and shriveled (around 30 minutes at  450°F)
  3. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat.
  4. When the butter is melted, add the flour and cook for about a minute, until you can see no lumps. Then, add the milk little by little, whisking constantly to prevent lumps.
  5. Add your roasted red pepper and garlic and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  6. Add in the Parmesan cheese and keep stirring. Season with salt and pepper. 
  7. Drain the pasta and place it in the pan with the rest of the ingredients, mixing well to make sure all the pasta is coated with the sauce.

Chicken tacos in salsa verde

The beauty of tacos is that nearly everybody loves them.

These light bites can be filled with your favorite ingredients, they’re tasty, easy to make, and the star of the show in any meal plan.

With just 345 calories per serving, this chicken tacos with salsa verde meal plan will definitely improve your day without costing a fortune.

They’re also very easy to assemble, cheap, and delicious.

Let’s take a look at this recipe:


  • 8 corn tortillas (from $1.48)
  • 3 cups of shredded chicken legs (from $1.36)  
  • ½ cup feta cheese (from $2.74)
  • 1 ½ cups salsa verde (from $2.24)
  • 1 minced onion ($1.50 per kilo)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro (from $0.88)
  • 2 limes (from $0.48)


  1. Remove the skin from the chicken legs, season to your taste, and cook it in the oven for about 30minutes at  400°F.
  2. When the chicken legs are ready, heat the tortillas in a pan until they’re lightly toasted on both sides.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the shredded chicken with the salsa verde, and divide it between the tortillas.
  4. Top your tortillas with cheese, onion, and cilantro.
  5. Serve with the lime wedges for an extra flavor kick.

Grilled cheese pimento sandwich and tomato soup

At 320 calories for the sandwich and 130 for the soup, this cheap, easy, and comforting meal has a place in your weight loss plan on a budget.

You can cook it quickly when you come home from work, or put it together before you leave the house.

It’s the perfect idea for lunch or dinner and is sure to fill you up while helping you stick to your budget and meal plan.

Ingredients (for the sandwich)

  • 1 ¼  cups shredded Cheddar cheese (from $1.98)
  • 1 jar diced pimentos (from $1.22)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (from $0.76)
  • 2 slices of sandwich bread (around $1.53 per loaf)
  • A dab of butter.


  1. Combine the cheese, pimento, and jalapeno in a mixing bowl.
  2. Divide between the slices of bread.
  3. Heat a bit of butter in a pan over medium heat.
  4. Cook the sandwich, turning them once. Cook for about 10 minutes to ensure the cheese is melted and stringy.

Ingredients (for the soup)

  • 3 lbs tomato, cut in half  ($1.91 per pound)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (from $2.48
  • 4 cloves of garlic (from $0.47 per bulb)
  • 3 cups chicken stock (from $0.98)
  • Salt and pepper.


  1. In a preheated oven (425 F) put the tomatoes cut side up, and drizzle them with olive oil.
  2. Put the garlic cloves inside aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, and close the foil to roast the garlic.
  3. Roast both tomatoes and garlic for about 40 minutes until both are very soft and show no resistance when poked with a fork.
  4. Using a blender or any other food processor, mix the tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil together, and mix them.
  5. When all the ingredients are well mixed, put them in a pot, add the chicken stock and let simmer for about 15 minutes.
  6. Add salt and pepper, and serve.

Healthier mac & cheese

A staple comfort food, mac and cheese definitely deserves a spot in your budget meal plan for the days when you just want to binge.

And by bringing you a 360 calories version of this iconic meal, we’re also making sure this is a great recipe to keep you on track during your weight loss journey!

Perfect for lunch and dinner, this cheap, quick, and tasty meal is sure to find a permanent spot in your weekly meal plan.

Let’s look at the recipe:


  • 2 cups macaroni pasta (from $0.92)
  • 2 tbsp butter (from $1.59 per pound)
  • 2 tbsp flour (from $0.94)
  • 2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk (from $2.17)
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese (from $1.98)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan (from $2.22 per 6 oz)
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt (4-6 oz cost about $0.49)
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs (from $0.92)
  • Black pepper.


  1. Cook the pasta following the instructions on the package, and once it’s done, drain and keep aside for later.
  2. Melt the butter in a pan at medium heat. Once the butter melts, add the flour and keep stirring for about a minute. Add the milk little by little, constantly stirring. Simmer your sauce for about 5 minutes, until it starts to thicken and looks more like heavy cream.
  3. Add the cheddar and ¼ cup of the Parmesan, and keep cooking until they’re completely melted.
  4. Kill the heat and add the yogurt.
  5. Add the pasta and make sure everything’s coated evenly.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400F and pour your macaroni into a baking dish. Top with the remaining Parmesan, breadcrumbs, and some pepper, and leave for 5 minutes until the bread crumbs look golden brown. 

Burrito bowl

If you love burritos, this cheap meal plan recipe is for you.

At 413 calories per serving, this very complete meal provides you with the energy and nutrients your body needs while also fulfilling your burrito cravings.

This burrito bowl is filling, delicious, and a great addition to a weight loss meal plan on a budget.

This is a very quick, cheap, and easy recipe, so keep reading to find out how to make it!


  • 8 oz of shredded chicken legs (from $1.36)  
  • 3 tbsp of salsa (from $0.93)
  • 2 cups of cooked quinoa (from $1.98)
  • 1 cup chopped tomato (from $1.91 per pound)
  • ¾ can black beans rinsed and drained (from $0.72)
  • ¾ roasted corn (from $1.82)
  • ½ cup red onion ($1.50 per kilo)
  • 1 avocado (from $0.88)
  • 2 tbsp lime juice (from $0.48)
  • 1 garlic clove (from $0.47 per bulb)
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro (from $0.88)
  • Salt and pepper to taste.


  1. Remove the skin from the chicken legs, season to your taste, and cook it in the oven for about 30minutes at  400°F.
  2. When the chicken legs are ready, shred the meat and combine them with the salsa in a bowl.
  3. Divide the quinoa among 4 bowls. Then, add the tomato, black beans, corn, chicken, onion, and avocado in different layers.
  4. In another bowl mix together the lime juice, cilantro, salt, pepper, and garlic. Whisk until well combined and distribute among the bowls.
  5. Cover up and let rest. It will last in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Healthy snack ideas

Let’s face it, getting through the day on just 3 meals isn’t possible for everyone.

And if you’re stressed or working long hours, chances are you’ll be tempted to look at the vending machine for a snack during your coffee break.

We’re bringing you 5 healthy snack ideas for you to include in your meal plan on a budget for weight loss so that you can have a snack (or 2) without feeling guilty afterward.

These snacks are cheap, healthy, filling, and delicious.

Let’s look at our list!


Cheap, easy to carry, and already wrapped to go, bananas are a great contender when it comes to choosing a snack.

They’re packed with the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body needs to keep doing its thing, and the calories they contain aren’t crazy at all. 

A medium banana only has 105 calories, a good level of protein, potassium, and fiber, and very little fat.

Bananas keep you fuller for longer, help you get 1 of your 5 a day, and keep you away from the temptation of unhealthy snacks.

All in all, they’re a pretty good snack to add to your weight loss budget meal plan.

Boiled eggs

Just like with bananas, hard-boiled eggs are cheap, easy to fit in your lunch box, and already wrapped to go.

They’re full of protein, good cholesterol, and vitamin D.

With 78 calories per egg, they’re a fantastic snack to include in your meal planner for weight loss.

Eggs work really well as a snack because their high protein content helps you feel full for longer.

And because you’ll have boiled them in advance, all you have to do when you’re packing your lunch is reach for a hard-boiled egg and put it with the rest of the food – no prep needed on the day!

Just be careful where you eat them as some don’t take kindly to boiled eggs in the office!

Protein yogurt

Protein yogurts are a bit more expensive than bananas or eggs, but you can find some good contenders for a little over a dollar.

To stick to your meal plan budget, you can include 2-3 of these snacks in your plan for the week. You can always get more later in the week if you still have some leftover money (and cravings).

Protein yogurts come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors, so we’re pretty confident you’ll find something you like.

They’re packed with protein and don’t normally have a lot of calories, so they’ll keep you full for longer while keeping calories at bay.

This is one of the cheapest alternatives, packing 15 grams of protein and bringing only 90 calories to the table.

Carrot sticks and hummus

Easy to make, very cheap, and sure to take your mind off unhealthy snacking, carrot sticks are a great option.

You can have them on their own, or you can dip them in a low-fat of your choice (we quite like the carrot + hummus combo).

Packed with fiber and members of the 5-a-day club, carrots will keep you full for longer while contributing to your overall health.

And calorie-wise?

If you have the carrot sticks on their own, you’ll get around 50 calories per serving, and if you decide to use some hummus, you’re looking at adding around 70 extra calories.

Apple slices

Finally, we have yet another great snack to add to your meal plan on a budget for weight loss.

Apples are pretty awesome (they’re another member of the 1 of your 5-a-day club), and they make for an unstoppable snack that’ll help you feel full, healthy, and satisfied.

Apples are high in fiber and water content, keeping you fuller for longer and helping your digestion. Apparently, one apple a day seems to be great for keeping doctors away, but we haven’t found any conclusive studies on this just yet.

A medium-sized apple as a snack will amount to around 95 calories.

Not bad, right?

The reality of creating a meal plan on a budget

We get it, meal planning isn’t the best thing to do on a Sunday night.

It’s even harder to build a healthy meal plan when you’re on a budget.

But it is possible.

We’ve given you a few ideas to mix and match for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and we’ve thrown in some snacks as well.

This should be enough to get you started in the world of meal planning and batch cooking.

We’ve also included different recipes to help make your life easier.

If you need an extra push to stick to your budget meal plan, Miboko is the perfect tool for you.

You can track your progress and log your meals, and you’ll also get personalized recommendations based on how your body metabolizes different food.

Miboko will help you build a new relationship with food, so that you can look and feel your best without giving up the meals you love.

Sign up to our mailing list and we’ll let you know when our world-first sensor is ready.

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