Cooking Low-Calorie on a Budget

You have established that you need to abide by a calorie budget, but your wallet reminds you that you need to stick with a grocery budget, too. With the common misconception that eating healthy is expensive, you may wonder what a low-calorie cook on a budget can do to stay both health- and money-conscious.

The good news is that with the right tools, you can cook fresh, healthy and delicious food on a budget. Though this list is just a drop in the bucket, read on to discover a few easy tips and...MORE recipes for meals to satisfy a crowd as well as your bank account.

  • 01 of 05
    Bowl with Chinese noodles, vegetables and chicken meat
    Getty Images/Rosmarie Wirz

    Perhaps one of the fundamental rules of budget cooking: stock up when it's on sale! Boneless, skinless chicken breast often goes on sale, and can easily be frozen for future use. With a portion of well-priced chicken breast, one bag of frozen vegetables, and a few staples from the kitchen, you have a delicious, ethnic meal of Chinese chicken stir-fry atop steamed rice for a meager cost.

  • 02 of 05
    High Angle View Of Sweet Potato And Chili Cooked In Pan
    Getty Images/Svitlana Pavelko / EyeEm

    Going vegetarian a couple times per week can really save you a bundle on your grocery bill. If you have preconceptions of vegetarian meals meaning only tofu and buckwheat noodles, you might want to explore the world of vegetarian cuisine a little further! This vegetarian chili, for example, is simply a traditional chili, chuck full of peppers, onions, and kidney beans, minus the beef. The beans and veggies still make for a hearty, satisfying, and spicy meal.

  • 03 of 05
    two Mexican Tostadas served with beans
    Getty Images/MiguelMalo

    It may not get any cheaper than this! Not only does this dish conform to a caloric budget and a monetary budget, but it is great when you are on a time budget, too! A package of corn tortillas and a can of fat-free refried beans will not run you much at the grocery store. Top with fresh veggies from the crisper, and you have a low cost, low calorie, quicker than quick satisfying meal.

  • 04 of 05
    Delicious Mexican red pozole soup
    Getty Images/jmalov

    The pork tenderloin in this low-calorie posole recipe is the most expensive ingredient, but it does not require a large amount to achieve the desired effect. Divide the remaining pork tenderloin into several portions, label, and freeze for future meals. By using other hearty ingredients, such as hominy, in the bulk of the dish, you end up with a hearty meal that does not require a large amount of costly meat.

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  • 05 of 05
    Black Bean Burgers
    Black Bean Burgers. Jason Lugo/E+/GettyImages

    Perhaps your idea of a low-cost meal is a burger at the drive-up window. But is this going to conform to your calorie budget plan? Most likely, it will not! Your solution is in these tasty black bean burgers topped with all the typical burger condiments. Again, going meatless is the real money-saver here, and with a hearty black bean patty, you will not even notice the meat is gone.