Is your New Year’s resolution to be a healthier person?
To quit buying $16 lunches every day at work?
To learn how to cook something bon app the queef-worthy, from scratch?
After a truly debaucherous holiday season, the thought of a lean steak and a salad sans a side of garlic bread might actually be appealing to you.
If so, here are 9 meals that are healthy, easy and above all else, cheap. They’ll make you feel a million buckaroonies.
1. TUNA BEAN MESS
I will admit, the name sounds wholly unappealing.
But it doesn’t get much healthier and fibrous than tuna, beans and spinach.
A 400g can of organic black beans that’ll stretch across at least two meals (depending on how hard you want to fart) will set you back $2. A can of tuna? Another $2. Guess how much a bag of pre-washed baby spinach costs?
My colleague Ashli swears by this fish dish. She ate it, no exaggeration, every single work day of 2016. Why does she love stinking out the office with this meal so much?
“It’s cheap, it’s convenient, it’s delicious, it’s healthy and I don’t have to think about it ’cause I know I’ll like it,” she says.
2. THE OL’ BOILED EGG & SMASHED AVO TOAST
Again, this ain’t the kinda dish you’d see Alain Ducasse serving up, but it ticks many a healthy box.
Eggs, especially when boiled, are nothing but healthy. They’re inexpensive, especially for the amount of pure protein they pack. Fresh eggs can be kept refrigerated and in their carton for up to six weeks, so if you’re packing for one, you don’t have to worry about your produce going off. The boiled variety lasts for about a week, so you can meal prep on a Sunday and have a few of your week’s lunches ready to go.
Buy a loaf of wholemeal bread and whack it in the freezer. Since you’re toasting it, you don’t have to worry about a tricky defrosting process – just dunk ’em in and watch them crisp up. If you’re a white bread sort of person, don’t fret – when toasted, wholemeal is just as (if not more) satisfying.
The avo is where you may blow up your budget. The best way to do wrangle it so you’re not watching your precious green goodness go to waste? Have your avo egg toast for lunch one day, and have plain avo toast with salt, pepper and a squeeze of that lemon you stole from the neighbours for breakfast the next day.
A dozen free range eggs – $4A loaf of wholemeal bread – between $2 and $5, depending on how fancie you areAn avocado – $2.80
This meal’s so full of healthy fats and protein that you’ll stay fuller for longer and won’t even feel like cheeky mid-arvo servo snack.
3. THIS WOULDN’T BE A CHEAP HEALTHY EATING LIST WITHOUT A STIR FRY
A stir fry is great for a few reasons.
You can throw in any old vegetables that tickle your fancy. Capsicum, carrot, green beans and mushrooms, you name it, you can stir fry-ify it. How expensive it is will depend on what you include, but a chicken breast, soy sauce and a few veggies is cheap as homebrand chips.
It’s a hot meal. Never underestimate the joy of a hot meal. You can reheat it the next day and it will be even juicer and more flavoursome.
Some recipes you should try?
Basic chicken and vegetable stir fry (for newbies!)
4. GREEK YOGURT WITH MUESLI AND BLUBES
Some yogurts are like that really hot guy in high school.
You’ve heard that he’s pretty good (healthy) but after you go on a few dates with him (him being Bulla Yogurt Crunch Summer Berry, for example) you realise his sweetness comes at a cost and he’s actually full of shit.
So many of us assume yogurt is healthy when in reality it is a sneaky lil cunnie. That Bulla one I referred to earlier? It packs the same amount of kilojoules as an Almond Magnum ice-cream, but has three more teaspoons of sugar. This handy little guide by Choice is a good indication of what to avoid:
Healthy-or-not tangent aside, a Greek yogurt with some fresh blueberries and granola. Granola is another sneaky one – a lot of the store-bought varieties are laden with sugar and additives. If you’ve got the time to make your own, you can pick and choose what to include and save a tonne of cashola. Jamie Oliver‘s recipe is a goodun.
7. A FROZEN BERRY SMOOTHIE
Lest we forget the great frozen berry recall of 2015.
With the risk of contracting Hepatitis from a pack of Nanna’s now over, they’re a solid choice for those wanting some fruity sweetness on the cheap (around $4 per pack).
They keep in the freezer longer than you can remember them, and when blitzed in a smoothie make for a fantastic breakfast option or afternoon snack.
Chuck a handful of mixed berries into a blender with a banana, some milk and a drop of honey for a sweet pick-me-up. That, or you can defrost them in the fridge and have ’em over your morning yogurt and muesli.
Experts are divided as to whether pulverizing your fruit and veggies into smoothie form is a good idea, but if it’s the only way to get your fruits in, so be it.
8. HOMESTYLE FRIED RICE
Fried rice isn’t healthy, but if you make it at home, it can be.
Steam some rice (or, if you’re extra lazy, buy the microwavable kind), mix in a frozen veggies mix, perhaps a bitta egg and heat it up in the microwave with a dash of soy sauce. The beauty here is you can buy each element of the meal in relative bulk, meaning you get as much as 10 meals worth for less than $10.
9. A LENTIL STEW THAT’LL MAKE YOU YEW
Again, a hot meal that’s cheap and easy to heat up? Hook it to me veins.
Two cups of lentils, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 3/4 of a stick of butter, a diced brown onion, a clove of garlic (minced) and a pinch of dried dill (or any other herbs you fancy that you’ve got on hand). Chuck those ingredients in a big pot, add enough water to cover them and bring it to boil. Bring it down to a simmer and cover for 45 mins. Kablammo, you got a stew you can store in the freezer.
(You can even toast some of your wholegrain bread and dip it in for a bit more fibre.)
Bone apple teeth!!
Photo: Deposit photos.