Do you want to make healthy budget-friendly meals more often yet feel too busy to make it happen?
If so, I’ve happily compiled them for you! These easy meals are cheap, yet healthy, and suitable for an array of special diets (Paleo, Keto, Whole30, and more).
3 Tips For Frugal Meals On A Budget
The biggest temptation when trying to save money on food is to skimp on quality. My goal with this post is not only to provide economical recipes for you, but to help you make choices that are kind to the planet and animals.
#1 — Buy Meat In Bulk
Buy a whole or half of an animal. This tip takes planning ahead, as a large pig can cost as much as $700 including butchering. But our pasture-raised pig this year cost less than $4/pound by buying it in bulk directly from the farmer.
Find local farms and begin this practice. It will bring you joy and the best quality meat for the best price!
Hunting for wild game is also an ideal approach if it fits your family’s lifestyle.
#2 — Find Vegetarian Recipes… Then Add Meat!
I love this approach, and you’ll see a handful of vegetarian or vegan meals below.
Ground meat is affordable and offers variety: pork, beef, turkey, chicken, buffalo and lamb are all easy to source. Ground beef and pork are especially economical.
Simply sauté up your favorite ground meat, and add it to a vegetarian soup or stew recipe that’s already delicious. You can add as little meat as you want to keep it thrifty, but your family will get that added bit of protein and flavor!
#3 — Stretch Your Meat
When serving meat as a part of the main course, here are some ways to save money:
- Serve it over rice, cauliflower rice or caulitatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, or a big salad.
- Slice the meat before serving, and fan it over the rice or salad.
- Ask your butcher to slice meat like pork chops for you, to 1/2-inch thickness.
- Sub the meat called for in a recipe for what you have on hand in bulk.
And enjoy your people! When we’re thankful for the ones we love and the food we have, every meal is more special. 🙂
Image courtesy of Eat Drink Paleo.
- Chili Con Carne with Beef and Chorizo (Gluten-free, Paleo, Whole30)
- Salmon, Corn and Black Bean Chili (Gluten-free)
- Venison or Elk Chili (Gluten-free, Paleo)
- Instant Pot Chili (Gluten-free)
- Instant Pot White Chicken Chili (Gluten-free, GAPS)
Thrifty Meat Dishes
Image courtesy of Eat Beautiful.
- Creamy Coconut Meatball Korma (Gluten-free, Paleo, GAPS, Whole30, Low Carb)
- One-Pan Crispy Chicken Thighs with Veggies (Gluten-free, Paleo, Whole30, AIP)
- Asian Roasted Chicken Thighs (Gluten-free, Paleo)
- Salsa Verde Pork Chops (Gluten-free, Paleo, GAPS [if salsa is compliant], Whole30)
- Paleo Burgers with Caramelized Balsamic Onions and Avocado (Gluten-free, Paleo, Whole30)
- Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Breast (Gluten-free if gluten-free bread crumbs are used)
- Paleo Sloppy Joes (Gluten-free, Paleo)
Image courtesy of The Rising Spoon.
- Cabbage Roll Soup (Gluten-free, Paleo option)
- Creamy Pumpkin Soup (Gluten-free, Primal, Lacto-Vegetarian)
- Pizza Soup (Gluten-free, Primal)
- Veggie Lentil Soup with Sprouted Lentils (Gluten-free, Grain-free, GAPS, Vegetarian)
- Chicken Tortilla Soup (Gluten-free)
- Whole30 Mediterranean Soup with Sausage (Gluten-free, Paleo, Whole30, GAPS)
- Instant Pot Cauliflower Cheese Soup (Gluten-free, Primal)
Image courtesy of Real Food Real Deals.
- Spicy Fall Sausage Lentil Stew (Gluten-free)
- Instant Pot Morroccan Lamb Stew (Gluten-free, Paleo, Whole30)
- Irish Lamb Stew (Gluten-free, Paleo, Whole30, GAPS [once potatoes have been re-introduced])
- Instant Pot Beef Stew (Gluten-free, Paleo, Whole30)
- Instant Pot Palak Paneer (Gluten-free, Primal, Lacto-Vegetarian)
- Red Lentil Dahl (Gluten-free, GAPS (can add meat to the lentils), Vegetarian)
- Vegan Shepherd’s Pie (Gluten-free, GAPS [once potatoes have been re-introduced], Vegetarian, Vegan)
Thrifty Stir Fry
Image courtesy of Whole New Mom.
- Egg Roll in a Bowl (Gluten-free, Paleo, Whole30, AIP, Keto, Low Carb)
- Skirt Steak Stir Fry (Gluten-free, Paleo, GAPS)
- Black Bean Pork and Vegetables Stir Fry (Gluten-free)
- Chicken Stir Fry with Veggies and Garlic Sauce (Gluten-free, Paleo, Whole30)
Image courtesy of Cheap Recipe Blog.
- Tuna Melts in a Bowl (Gluten-free, Primal [sub the sugar for coconut sugar or omit])
- Paleo Chicken and Cauliflower Rice Casserole (Gluten-free, Paleo, Whole30)
- Caveboy Ground Beef Casserole (Gluten-free, Paleo)
- Spaghetti Squash Pizza Casserole (Gluten-free, Primal, GAPS, Lacto-Vegetarian)
- One-Pot Mac and Cheese with Hidden Veggies (Gluten-free)
Want more budget-friendly Keto, Low Carb, Paleo, and GAPS meals? See THIS post for 50 Keto & Low Carb Meals on a Budget (that are also Paleo and GAPS-friendly).
Interested in more real food recipes? Try 45 Real Food Copycat Recipes (Olive Garden, Chipotle & more!)
Do you love saving money with thrifty meals too? Share your frugal cooking tips below in the comments section! We’d love to hear your best ideas for healthy dinners on a budget!! 🙂
save time, spend less, and get healthy... simple & delicious traditionally-cooked meals using ingredients you already have... even leftovers... 30 min or less!
free worksheet + videos:
Healthy Dinner in 30 Minutes... While Spending $0 Extra!
We only recommend products and services we wholeheartedly endorse. This post may contain special links through which we earn a small commission if you make a purchase (though your price is the same).