BUDGET MEAL PREP | healthy recipes under $3 (using high-quality ingredients)


I know it’s been a while since I’ve done a meal prep video, but I’ve got a new one for you today. And it’s budget-friendly meal prep. If you’re new to my channel, I have an entire series of meal prep videos that cover every season, as well as big batch and freezer-friendly recipes like chia puddings and chicken marinades.

But in today’s video, I’ll show you that healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive and you don’t have to sacrifice with low quality or filler ingredients even if you’re on a budget. I’m using all high-quality and organic ingredients to meal prep 11 different items for easy mix and match meals throughout the week.

And each of those meals cost less than $3. As usual, I’ve got a free downloadable PDF linked in the video description box below so you don’t have to worry about taking any notes. And make sure to watch all the way through to the end of today’s video because I’m revealing the cover of my brand new cookbook, which is now available for pre-order. But right now let’s dive into this healthy budget-friendly meal prep. As usual, we’ll start with the item that takes the longest to prep first.

And for this meal prep, that’s baked sweet potatoes. I love sweet potatoes as they’re loaded with nutrients and give me that carby energy boost in a healthy way. And yes, while they’re more expensive than white potatoes, the added nutrients are worth every penny, in my opinion.

Give the sweet potatoes a good scrub with a soft bristled brush to remove any lingering dirt or debris, then dry them with paper towels or kitchen towel. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, and then poke each sweet potato with a fork a few times so that they’re less likely to burst in the oven.

I like to line a baking sheet with parchment paper as the sweet potatoes can ooze a bit when baking. And that liquid gets really hardened onto the baking sheet, which is never fun for cleanup afterwards. Once you’ve got your sweet potatoes ready, set them to the side as you’ll prep another item to go into the oven at the same time.

And that’s roasted broccoli. Grab a large bunch of broccoli, which is usually a few heads, and then remove the florets from the stock.

Chop each of the florets into smaller, more bite-sized pieces because even if you’re a broccoli lover like I am, it’s still not enjoyable to put in overly large floret in your mouth. And once that’s done, place the broccoli on another sheet pan. You can roast the broccoli plain with just a little olive oil and salt and pepper, but I like to add about four or five minced garlic cloves for added flavor. So I’ll just mince those straight on top of the broccoli on the sheet pan then drizzle about two tablespoons of olive oil before sprinkling with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss that all together with your hands to make sure that each floret is coated in a little oil and seasoning, then spread all of the florets out into a flat layer.

Place both sheet pans into the oven. And because the broccoli will cook faster, I’ll set a timer for 20 minutes to check on it then.

While the items in the oven are cooking, I’ll work on the third item, and that’s cassava flour crepes, which are both gluten free and dairy free. These are shockingly easy to make and price out to only 46 cents a crepe, even using high-quality ingredients. To make them, add one cup of cassava flour to a bowl, along with two eggs, one cup of full fat coconut milk, one cup of water, two tablespoons of coconut oil, and a pinch of kosher salt.

I’ve left the vanilla extract off right now as I’ll use some of these crepes in savory meal ideas. But if you wanna use them all for sweet meals, you can add the vanilla extract now. Blend that all together for about 30 seconds or until you have a thin batter, and then let it sit for a few minutes to let those bubbles settle. To make the crepes, I really do recommend you buy a crepe pan as it’s a million times easier with the proper pan. And I’ll link the one I’m using below.

Then take a quarter cup of the batter and add it to the pan, which was warmed on medium-low heat, and swirl that around at the same time that you pour.

It’s a little bit like patting your head and rubbing your stomach. But I promise that after a few tries, you’ll really get the hang of it. Place the pan back on the burner, and then cook the crepe for one to two minutes on one side until it looks dry on top, and then flip it over and cook for another minute. Once it’s done, the crepe should easily slide right off the pan and just transfer it to a paper towel lined plate.

You’ll repeat this process until all of the batter is used up, but my timer for the broccoli just went off so I’ll remove the broccoli from the oven and let it cool on top of my stove while I continue making the crepes. And don’t forget to set the timer for another 40 minutes as the sweet potato needs to keep baking.

One tip when it comes to the crepes, is that if your pan is too hot, the batter will immediately bubble and sizzle. And then you’ll have a crepe that looks kind of funky with lumps, and it won’t be smooth and flat. If that happens, just turn your heat down a little bit and then try it again.

Most people don’t realize that you can meal prep crepes, but you absolutely can. It’s no different than meal prepping my cassava flour tortillas, which I do all the time as well. The most important thing is to make sure that you place parchment paper or wax paper between the crepes so that they don’t stick together. I also find that it’s easier to swirl the pan properly if I really take the pan up and away from the burner. To be honest, I’d usually take a few steps back and do it in front of the oven just to be able to hold the pan at a more comfortable height for me.

But if I do that, I’ll step out of the video frame, so I’m just doing it as best as I can over the stove. All right, now that I’ve made about half of the batch of crepes, I’ll add a splash of vanilla extract to the remaining batter for some sweeter crepes. But it’s entirely up to you if you’d like a sweet or savory crepes when you’re meal prepping. You could even add blended spinach to the crepes for some vibrant green crepes and a sneaky way of adding veggies. So definitely have fun with the recipe.

I won’t show making all of the crepes, but I think you get the idea. And at this point, my broccoli has now cooled, so I’ll go ahead and add that to a storage container and place it in the fridge.

(bouncy music) Once all of the crepes have cooled to room temperature, I’ll add them to a large plastic bag. Unfortunately, they don’t fit in my largest Stasher bag, and then I’ll place those in the fridge. You can also add a paper towel inside to absorb any excess moisture.

(bouncy music) And look at that. Once I finished my crepes, my sweet potatoes were also done. So I’ll remove them from the oven and let them cool to the touch. Now you can store all of the baked sweet potatoes in a storage container in the fridge, but I’ll store a couple potatoes and then turn a couple of them into mashed sweet potato just to vary up my meals for the week.

So to make the mashed sweet potato, I’ll slice a few sweet potatoes in half then scoop out the flesh into a bowl and add a couple tablespoons of butter and milk.

You could use ghee and a dairy-free milk as well. Then use a hand mixer to blend that all up. And I love using a hand mixer versus a potato masher for really fluffy mashed potatoes, but either way works. And when that’s done, I’ll add that to a separate storage container and place it in the fridge. (bouncy music) At this point, I’ll lower the temperature on the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and then drain to 15 ounce cans of chickpeas because next on our meal prep list is roasted chickpeas.

Rinse the chickpeas really well to remove all that excess starchy water from the outside. And you’ll know when they’re fully rinsed as all of those little bubbles will disappear. Pour the chickpeas out onto a kitchen towel or a few paper towels, and then blot them dry. This is important if you’d like extra crispy roasted chickpeas just to munch on for a snack.

And I’ve got tips for this on the recipe blog post.

But since I know I’ll be adding the roasted chickpeas to other meals this week, their crispy level is not as much of a concern for me. Once I’ve got them fairly dry, I’ll add them to a mixing bowl and add one tablespoon of olive oil and some spices for a flavor boost. You can add about two to three teaspoons total of your favorite spices so feel free to get creative with spice blends. I’m using a combination of smoked paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder today, along with kosher salt.

Stir the chickpeas and spices together until they’re well mixed, then pour them out onto a baking sheet, and spread them out into a single flat layer.

Roast the chickpeas in the oven for about 20 to 30 minutes, giving them just a little shake about halfway through. While the chickpeas are roasting in the oven, I’ll make two things on the stove, the first of which is strawberry chia seed jam. To get really good at meal prepping, it’s all about multitasking and cooking something in the oven at the same time that you’ve got one or two things cooking on the stove. If you prep things in a linear fashion, it just takes more time. But that’s why planning ahead on your meal prep is key, which I talk about in my very first meal prep video, which can you believe it now has more than 15 million views?

All right, back to the strawberry chia seed jam.

Once I’ve diced up a pound of strawberries, I’ll take them over to the stove. But at the same time, I’ll also heat up a pot of water to hard boil some eggs for the week. While the water comes to a boil, I’ll add the strawberries to a pot on medium heat and then add two tablespoons of maple syrup and one teaspoon of lemon juice. You can also make this jam with raspberries, blueberries, and a variety of other fruits.

So to save money, you can grab what’s on sale. Simmer the strawberries for about five to seven minutes or until they start to break down, then use your spoon, a potato masher, or any immersion blender to puree the fruit to the texture you prefer. Turn off the heat, then add two tablespoons of chia seeds, and stir it all together. I’ll just let the chia seed jam cool on the stove for a bit while I add several eggs with a skimmer to the boiling water. It’s important to note that after the water has begun to boil, you should always turn the heat down to low for a few seconds to stop the bubbles while adding the eggs.

Then turn the heat back up to high and cook them for about eight to nine minutes for a medium boiled eggs, which I love. But you can cook them up to 14 minutes if you prefer fully hard boiled eggs. I’ll also prepare an ice water bath so that once the eggs are done, it’s easy to remove them from the pot and place them in the ice water bath, which immediately stops their cooking. And then the eggs can just hang out on the counter for several minutes while they cool. At this time, my roasted chickpeas are done so I’ll remove those from the oven and let them cool slightly.

And then I’ll take the strawberry chia seed jam, which is now a bit cooler as well, and pour that into a storage container and place it in the fridge. The roasted chickpeas will go in another container, though I typically enjoy a handful as a snack right away because they’re so delicious.

BUDGET MEAL PREP | healthy recipes under $3 (using high-quality ingredients)

And then I’ll pop the remainder in the fridge. For the cooled hard boiled eggs, you can store these in their shells or peel them. It’s up to you.

They will last a bit longer in their shells, and I’ve got that tip in my upcoming cookbook, along with lots of other tips. But if you wanna make them quick and easy to eat, you can go ahead and peel them now and then place them in the fridge. All right, next on our to-do list is to make a batch of tuna salad. And fun fact, this is one of the most popular salads on my website. To make it, slice a rib of celery a few times lengthwise then cut across for a small dice.

You’ll also need about two tablespoons of diced red onion, but I’ll dice the whole onion today and store the rest in a separate container to add to meals throughout the week.

If you know me, you know that dicing onions always makes me cry so I’d rather just have to cry once for the week and be done with it. And then I’ll also chop up a few tablespoons of fresh parsley to use in a few different meal ideas today. To make the tuna salad, add two drained cans of tuna fish to a mixing bowl. And if you’re using a high-quality can of tuna, it’s usually a tuna steak and you sort of have to flake that out into the bowl.

Then add a quarter cup of mayonnaise, half a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, the diced celery, two tablespoons of diced red onion, one tablespoon of chopped parsley, and some salt and pepper to taste.

Mix that all together until it’s creamy and well combined, then add it to a storage container and place it in the fridge. And just a reminder, I list out how long you can store all of these items in the fridge on the downloadable PDF. Since I bought red onions at the market this week, I thought I’d use the other one to make pickled red onions, which are tangier and punchier than regular diced onions. To make these, just thinly slice one red onion with a mandolin or knife and then cut the circles in half for smaller, more bite-sized pieces.

Add all of the red onion to a Mason jar or other container, and you can just smoosh it all in. In a measuring cup, add half a cup of very hot water from the faucet. It doesn’t have to be boiling, just hot. Then add half a cup of apple cider vinegar. To balance the acid with a little sweetness, add one tablespoon of maple syrup or honey and 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt.

Give that a quick stir, then pour it over the sliced red onion until it fills the container all the way to the top.

Add the lid, then place the quick-pickled red onions in the fridge. All right, we’re down to the last two items. And next on our list is a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. To make this, add half a cup of olive oil to a bowl, along with a quarter cup of balsamic vinegar, one tablespoon of honey, two tablespoons of Dijon mustard, one minced garlic clove, a quarter teaspoon kosher salt, and a pinch of black pepper.

Whisk that together until it’s emulsified, and then pour it into a small storage container, and place it in the fridge. And last on our list today is a maple mustard tahini dressing that you will want to drizzle on everything.

To make this, add a quarter cup of tahini to a bowl, along with two tablespoons of Dijon mustard, one tablespoon of maple syrup, one tablespoon lemon juice, a quarter cup of water, one minced garlic clove, and kosher salt, and black pepper to taste. Whisk that all together until it’s thinned out and creamy, then pour it into a storage container, and place it in the fridge. So now that you’ve got these 11 ingredients prepped, let me give you a few ideas of what you can make in just a few minutes by combining them with ingredients in your fridge or pantry.

For breakfast, it’s really easy to whip up a healthier spin of deliciously sweet strawberry crepes. Place a crepe on a plate, and you can warm this up in the microwave if you’d like, then top it with a few spoonfuls of the strawberry chia seed jam. Fold that in half then half again, and I’ll just lightly pat it so you can see the jam oozing out. Then top it with a few spoonfuls of your favorite yogurt, a couple of sliced strawberries, and a sprinkle of sliced almonds to finish it off. The total for this restaurant-worthy breakfast comes to just $2.

17. For the next couple of meals, I’ll use roasted red peppers. And while these are actually one of the most expensive single ingredients I’m using today, I don’t think you need to sacrifice flavor for an economical meal.

But as a reminder, do make sure to buy jarred and canned ingredients when they’re on sale or buy in bulk at places like Costco to save even more. And right now I’ll thinly slice a couple of the roasted red peppers and set those aside.

I’ll also slice up an English cucumber, which is budget friendly. And a mandolin is great for this as I can cut it at various levels of thickness. I’ll slice it extra thin for an upcoming wrap. I’ll slice it a medium thickness for a bento box lunch. And then I’ll slice it on the thickest setting and then dice those slices up for a salad.

The mandolin really does speed up time in the kitchen when you’re meal prepping. So if you don’t have one, I’d definitely recommend getting one. But back to the wrap. To make this, take out a savory crepe, and then spread a thin layer of the mashed sweet potato on top. Add a small handful of baby spinach on top of the sweet potato, and then add several slices of thinly sliced cucumber.

Top the cucumber with a few slices of the roasted red pepper, and then add a few spoonfuls of the tuna salad on top. Just be careful that you don’t fill this too full or else it’s a bit harder to wrap. But the good news is, that the crepe has a bit of stretch to it so you can really tuck it tightly as you roll it up. This wrap is filled with a variety of veggies, and the protein from the tuna salad will definitely keep you full, making it perfect for lunch. And bonus, it only costs $2.

60. Next step is a salad that’s great for lunch or dinner, and it starts with half a cup of roasted chickpeas and one cup of the diced cucumber. To that, add one thinly sliced roasted red pepper and one tablespoon of pickled red onions.

And can we just admire how beautiful and vibrant these are? I’ll just take out a forkful of those and then roughly chop them up.

Then add two tablespoons of chopped parsley and one tablespoon of the balsamic vinaigrette and give it a stir. To finish it off, I like to add a little sprinkle of goat cheese or feta cheese. And trust me when I say this will definitely be your new favorite salad recipe, especially when a serving costs less than $3. For the next meal, take about a quarter cup of the roasted broccoli and roughly chop it into smaller pieces.

Then add it to a bowl, along with a quarter cup of roasted chickpeas.

Stir that together and warm it up in the microwave, and then take one sweet potato that you’ve warmed up in the oven or microwave, slice it in half, then top it with the broccoli chickpea mix. Add a few slices of pickled red onion for a pop of color and flavor, then drizzle the maple mustard tahini sauce on top, and finish it off with a sprinkle of chopped parsley. This hearty meal is oh so satisfying, and you can enjoy it for the bargain basement price of $2.09. For the next meal idea, you can take a half a cup of the mashed sweet potato and smear that into a bowl.

Then add half a cup of roasted broccoli. Take one of your hard boiled eggs, cut it into quarters, place those quarters into the bowl, and then warm the whole thing up. You can add a variety of nuts, seeds, and herbs to this bowl, but I like to add two teaspoons of pumpkin seeds and roughly chop those up and sprinkle them on top, along with chopped chives. Finish the bowl off with a sprinkle of salt and pepper for a colorful nutrient-dense veggie forward meal that costs just $2.15.

For an easy snack throughout the day, it really doesn’t get much easier than slicing a hard boiled egg in a half and sprinkling on some Everything Bagel Seasoning. This simple yet flavorful protein snack only costs 70 cents. And lastly, if you’re a fan of bento box meals, this one couldn’t be easier. All you need to do is add a small handful of baby spinach to a bento box and top that with a few large scoops of tuna salad. In the other half, you can add a hard boiled egg, some of those medium thickness cucumber slices, and a few whole strawberries.

This easy on-the-go work or school-friendly meal idea only costs $2.95.

I hope you enjoyed all of those delicious recipes. And don’t forget to download the PDF for this meal prep in the description box below. Now if you’ve been wondering why I took a hiatus from doing meal prep videos for the last year or two, it’s because I’ve been saving some of my best recipes and meal prep ideas for my brand new cookbook that’s all about healthy meal prep.

I have put my heart and soul into this cookbook for the last two and a half years. And I can’t wait to see you guys cooking from it in your own kitchens. I’ve got a link for it in the video description box below as well. And pre-ordering this book is the best way you can support me and Downshiftology. The benefit of pre-ordering is that you are guaranteed to get a copy on published date, which is important, given the current supply chain issues.

And if the price is discounted online between now and then, you’ll always pay the lowest discounted price. You’ll also get some bonuses from me later in the year if you pre-order. And I’ll have updates on that on social media and in my weekly enewsletter. All right, that was a lot for me today. But thank you guys so much for all of your support over the years.

It really does mean the world to me. Now go meal prep us some healthy food.

Read More: DELICIOUS 20 minute meals » vegan + healthy

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DELICIOUS 20 minute meals » vegan + healthy

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