Healthy Frugal Living Recipes
If you want to save money and have a smart budget then one of the best ways to do this is with food, and by food, I mean the food you make at home. And if you don’t make food at home, now is the time to start learning so that you can get savvy in the kitchen, with your expenses, and learn frugal living recipes.
Whenever I talk about frugal living, this is not in reference to being a tightwad with your money, it is about learning to live the way you want and spend money on exactly what you need and want. Every family has a different budget and income needs, one family might need £3000 a month, another £5000, the next £10,000, and then the next simply £2000 a month. None of these are right or wrong, it’s about getting clear on your finances and creating a lifestyle that suits your priorities that fulfil you and meet your needs.
That being said, creating healthy frugal recipes can help you be healthy, appreciate food, and save money. And kids love to get involved! My daughter loves to help me prepare food in the kitchen. We all eat. We all need food. Learning to prepare and cook your own food is an essential of life (in my opinion!)
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What is a Frugal Meal?
Making a frugal meal is simply creating a meal that is budget friendly. There are many ways you can look at this meal – to save money, to be smart with your money, to cut back on expenses, to keep meals simple, to see that you don’t need to spend a tonne of money on food, or to see that a delicious healthy meal doesn’t need to be expensive.
One of the main areas you can save money is on food. If you need to cut back on expenses, start by looking at what you spend on food. Do you eat out at restaurants and on the go often? Do you buy ready made meals from the supermarket? Do you buy chopped up vegetables in a bag from the fresh food area? Do you make huge meals and then throw away the leftovers after each meal? This is where frugal living recipes will help you create meals that fit the budget.
If you need to sort out your expenses, download this free budget planner to get started!
How Do You Make a Frugal Meal?
To make a frugal meal, it is simple and does not cost a tonne of time or money. What I love about these types of meals is how simple they are in ingredients, preparation, time and the weekly food shop bill. Like I have said before, creating a frugal meal is not about being a tightass with money, it is about seeing that I don’t need or want to spend all money on food, or rather on unnecessary ingredients and meals. There is so much more to life than a fancy meal!
When you allow yourself to simplify food, the ingredients and the preparation it has a huge positive impact on appreciating food and your body. I have grown up with a healthy mindset to food, I was a personal trainer and wellness coach for many years as I loved to help others with creating a healthy lifestyle. What I learned as a child and know within myself, is the beauty of keeping it simple.
Keeping it simple with food (and anything in life) helps to calm the mind and bring great appreciation for what you actually need to provide your body with the basics to feel good. Frugal living recipes are very simple and satisfying!
Frugal Meal Basics:
- Do your main food shop once a week – if you need to top up during the week do it, but focus on getting the main food once a week as it creates ease for food planning and saves a tonne of money.
- Weekly food plan – you don’t need to write an exact detailed plan of every single meal every single day as that’s a bit OTT in my books. However, having an idea of some meals you want to make and what meals will make more than one serving will help you to plan how much food you actually need to buy at the supermarket.
- Buy cupboard staples – have rice, oats, lentils, beans, tinned tomatoes, cereals, peanut butter and plant-based milk in the kitchen cupboard. You don’t need to bulk buy, but do buy these foods regularly as they are affordable and are a good staple for filling the belly.
- Buy fresh staples – fresh fruit and vegetables can add up when you buy a huge variety regularly, however, we do want to be healthy! Certain fresh fruit and vegetables are budget friendly such as apples, pears, bananas, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, celery, potatoes and onions. All of these foods are filled with nutrition that can be enjoyed daily.
- Prepare your own food – Chopping, mixing, cooking, baking are all part of the process for making healthy, delicious, simple, easy and affordable meals.
- Make bigger batches – I am not one for cooking a tonne in order to fridge and freeze for later days. However, I always cook a big batch of quinoa for the week so it’s easy to grab for my lunches. And for some dinners, I make two meals worth so I can save time the next day. Making some meals in bigger batches does save money!
32 Healthy Frugal Recipes
To get started with creating healthy frugal recipes I have put together a list for you. They are all vegan as I am vegan so I will only promote vegan meals. They are healthy, delicious and simple to make. You can make batches of these recipes to save time during the week.
Many of the recipes include oats, beans, lentils or rice as these are affordable, healthy and filling foods.
- Instant Pot Steel Cut Oatmeal
- PB&J Overnight Oats
- Easy Vegan Oatmeal
- The Perfect Bowl of Oats
- Vegan Banana Oatmeal
- Banana Overnight Oats
- Budget Friendly Vegan Breakfast Ideas
Mains (Lunch + Dinner)
- Easy One-Pot Pasta
- Instant Pot Dal Tadka
- One Pot Pumpkin Curry
- Instant Pot Rice & Beans (Only 5 Ingredients!)
- Vegan Slow Cooker Bean & Quinoa Chili
- One Pot Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff
- Feel Good-Red Lentil Soup | Only 8 Ingredients
- Hearty Sweet Potato & Lentil Soup
- Best-Ever Thai Green Curry
- 5 Ingredient Hummus Pasta (in One Pot!)
- 20-Minute Tofu Stir-Fry
- Cheesy Chili Baked Potato Fries (Oil-Free!)
- 1-Pot Everyday Lentil Soup
- 1-Pot Vegan Minestrone (Gluten-Free)
- Easy Vegan Fried Rice
- Green Chickpea Curry with Couscous
- Potato Pea Curry
- Roasted Red Pepper Pasta | 5 Ingredients
Dessert (Cakes + Pudding)
- Easy Banana Ice Cream
- 10-Minute Chocolate Truffles
- 4-Ingredient Easy Vegan Brownies
- 3-Ingredient No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies
- 5-Ingredient Vegan Peanut Butter Pudding
- Gluten-Free Vegan Lemon Drizzle Cake
- Gluten-Free Vegan Banana Walnut Bread
FAQ About Frugal Living Recipes
What Are Some Very Frugal Dinner Recipes?
To make a frugal dinner the best place is to start with a complex carbohydrate that will fill the belly with fibre, nutrients and calories. Pick rice, quinoa or pasta (wheat or gluten free pasta). Then add an affordable vegetable such as tinned tomatoes, carrots, peas or potatoes. From there add another carb protein rich food such as lentils, chickpeas or beans. Work with these basics and you can start to create a simply delicious meal.
Follow the recipe links above to get ideas for creating a healthy frugal meal.
How to Learn to Cook Healthy, for Cheap?
When getting started with creating a healthy cheap meal the best advice is to follow a recipe. Once you have followed that recipe you can start to tweak it to make the meal your own. Perhaps you prefer less of one ingredient and more of the other, or you like a particular vegetable more than another. It’s ok to go off track from a recipe – this is how cooking becomes easy as it is adapted to your style of food and cooking!
If you need ideas for making money at home, check out 19 Creative Ways to Make Extra Money from Home.
What are Essential Kitchen Tools for Frugal Living?
It’s important to remember that frugal living is about living within your means and creating an affordable lifestyle When it comes to buying kitchen tools it might seem a big upfront cost, however, they will save you money in the long run towards making meals. And yes, it does make sense to invest in quality over cheap!
Here are some essential kitchen tools for a frugal kitchen:
- Optimum 9400 Domestic and Commercial Blender, 2 Litre
- Wooden Chopping Boards
- Kitchen Knife
- Pots and Pans Set
- Baking Tray
- Roasting Tin
- Wooden Spatulas
- Casserole Dish
- Kitchen Scales
- Tin Opener
- Mixing Bowl
- Cake Tins
- Glass Food Storage Containers
- Freezer Bags
- Slow Cooker
The Last Thing You Need to Know About Frugal Recipes
It is very easy and simple to make frugal living recipes that fill the whole family’s bellies and tastes yummy. The best thing you can do is to stop overthinking the ‘how’ part of making food and just start the process of putting a meal together. You do not need to create a 5* fancy meal. This is real eating for a real appetite that feeds real life.
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