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Healthy Low Cost Low Calorie Meals

Updated on December 13, 2010

Healthy Meals on a Budget

Cooking healthy meals for the family without emptying out your wallet, can be a challenge, especially in times of economic instability. Challenging, but not impossible. With a little ingenuity and a bit of skill in the kitchen, you can feed your family healthy meals for less and maybe drop a few of those extra pounds you've been trying to lose at the same time.

We all need to budget these days, but food isn't a luxury that we can cut down or skimp on. Feeding the family is right up there with paying the rent and keeping the power on.

The following recipes are family favorites. They are budget friendly, healthy and delicious. Perhaps they will become favorites of your family too.

Uncle Willy's Chili

250 calories per serving - Low cost - low calorie
250 calories per serving - Low cost - low calorie

Uncle Willy's Chili

1 lb dried pinto beans

6 to 10 cups of water

2 to 3 Tbsp of Chili powder

1/2 onion diced

Crushed red peppers to taste

Garlic salt to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Soak beans over night in water.

Cover beans with fresh water and add other ingredients.

Simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until beans are tender.

Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and diced onion.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Calories - approximately 250 per serving

Cost under $1.00 per serving

Chicken Noodle and Mashed Potatoes

3 to 4 skinless chicken breasts

3 cups of egg noodles

6 medium sized potatoes

4 chicken bullion cubes

salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken breasts in lidded pot and cover with water.

Cook on stove top, keeping temperature at medium heat, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until tender. During this time add seasoning and bullion cubes.

Remove breasts from water (gravy) and chop into bite sized pieces. Return to pot.

Bring gravy to boil and add egg noodles.
Cook until tender.

Thicken gravy with cornstarch or flour.

Boil potatoes until tender and mash with milk and margarine

Serve chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Calories - 450 per serving 281 w/o noodles

Cost - Under $2.50 per serving

Spinach Salad

250 calories per serving - low cost - low calorie
250 calories per serving - low cost - low calorie

Spinach Salad

Ingredients are per person

2 cups fresh spinach cleaned with stems removed

1 hard boiled egg

4 slices of cooked bacon

1/4 cup bacon grease

2 green onions sliced

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

For variety you can add sliced strawberries, finely grated Parmesan cheese, or mushrooms.

Hard boil egg, cool, peel and slice.

Fry bacon and reserve grease. Cool and break into pieces.

Place clean spinach on plate. Top with bacon, onion and egg.

Make dressing using bacon grease and vinegar. Season with pepper.

Serves one

Calories - 250 Save calories by forgoing the dressing. Strawberries, cheese and/or mushrooms will add calories to the salad.

Cost - under $2.00 per serving


350 calories per serving - low cost - low calorie
350 calories per serving - low cost - low calorie


When I was a child my mother made her spaghetti sauce from scratch.  Over the years I moved away from her recipe and started using bottled sauce.  The results are nearly as good and the time saved is well worth the sacrifice.

1 jar commercial spaghetti sauce

1/3 pound lean ground beef

salt, pepper and crushed red peppers to taste

Pasta ( I prefer angel hair pasta or vermicelli)

Brown crumbled meat in sauce pan. Drain.

Add spaghetti sauce and seasoning.  Simmer for 30 minutes.

Cook pasta until tender.

Serve sauce over pasta.  Top with Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4 to 6

Calories - 300 to 400 per serving

Cost - less than $2.00 per serving

German Clups

6 cups 2% milk

1 lb lean hamburger

juice from 1/2 lemon

6 potatoes

1/4 cup minced onion

3 chicken bullion cubes

salt and pepper to taste

Season hamburger with salt, pepper and onion.  Form into meatballs.

Heat milk in sauce pan.  Keep temperature medium/low to avoid scorching.  Add meatballs, bullion and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until meatballs are thoroughly cooked.

Boil potatoes until tender.

Just before serving, add lemon juice to milk.  Thicken with corn starch or flour.

Serve milk gravy and meatballs over boiled potatoes.

Serves - 4 to 6

Calories - 400 per serving ( a little high, but oh so good )

Cost - less than $2.00 per serving

Enchilada Casserole

200 calories per serving - low cost - low calorie
200 calories per serving - low cost - low calorie

Enchilada Casserole

1 can enchilada sauce

6 to 8 corn tortillas

1 small can green chiles drained

1/2 lb grated cheddar cheese

1/2 onion diced

1/2 cup black olives diced

In casserole dish, layer tortillas, cheese, chiles, onion and black olives.  Cover with half of the enchilada sauce, then repeat layer.  Top sauce with more grated cheese.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 to 45 minutes.

Serves - 6 to 8

Calories - approximately 200 per serving

Cost - less than $1.00 per serving


Submit a Comment

  • kjrzeek1 profile image

    kjrzeek1 5 years ago from New Jersey, USA

    Thank you, this hub made me hungry just reading it. I can't wait to give these recipes a try.

  • profile image

    Melanie Munn 7 years ago

    Great recipes! One tip for everyone is to try to eat as much raw foods as possible and minimize your processed sugars and dairy. Happy healthy eating!

  • lafenty profile image

    lafenty 7 years ago from California

    Thanks for you comments Michael Jay. Enjoy!

  • Michael Jay profile image

    Michael Jay 7 years ago

    Great recipes and a very good hub. Thank you for sharing these healthy and tasty recipes.

  • lafenty profile image

    lafenty 7 years ago from California

    Thanks for your comments tonymac04. It's nice to know that you can eat healthy, watch you calories and not break the bank. Enjoy!

  • tonymac04 profile image

    Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

    The second Hub about food I've bookmarked today! Does that say something about me?

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful looking recipes!

    Love and peace


  • lafenty profile image

    lafenty 7 years ago from California

    Thanks scorpion123. Go eat something healthy.

  • scorpion123 profile image

    scorpion123 7 years ago

    really nice hub

    im feeling hungry now lol

  • lafenty profile image

    lafenty 8 years ago from California

    Thanks notorious.

  • profile image

    notorious_HAI 8 years ago

    Some great recipes there Lafenty. I've shared this :)