Need to save money and eat healthy? Here is a one-week cheap and healthy meal plan – including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and prep work.

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Whether you’re dealing with inflation, new health goals, or you’re just on a really tight budget, here’s a meal plan to help you save money and eat healthy!

I loaded this one week meal plan with real food, plant-based recipes, and budget-friendly meal ideas! We use these recipes all the time, and helped us eat healthy on a budget for years.

How to Eat Cheap and Healthy for a Week

I know saving money is challenging, and I know cooking is challenging. We’re all busy, we’re all tired at the end of the day, and the internet is full of mixed messages about healthy eating.

While this isn’t an exhaustive list, here are five simple tips that help me save money and eat healthy. (And a few more here!)

  1. Look at what you have at home first, then create meals around that.
  2. Make meatless meals – or mostly meatless
  3. Learn basic nutrition – No need to research a certain diet or get in the weeds here. Learning the very basics will help you create a balanced list of meals – real food, protein, fiber, lots of plants, less sugar, drink water, etc.
  4. Make food your family already likes – but the cheap ones (cheese pizza, burritos, and spaghetti are some of ours). You don’t need to reinvent the wheel every week.
  5. Cook once, eat twice – or three times. We call them “planned-overs” instead of leftovers.

The Cheapest, Healthiest Meal

While this answer is different for everyone (based on where you live, what food costs, what you can make, and what your family will actually eat) beans and rice is a classic, real food, cheap and healthy staple. I have several recipes like that in this meal plan, but here are a few more:

If you don’t like beans and rice, check out this (free) clean-eating, no-beans meal plan!

How to Create a Healthy Meal Plan on a Budget

No matter what anyone tries to tell you, there is no right way to menu plan. What works for one person might not work for the next person. Don’t be afraid to try different methods until you find what works for you.

But no matter what method you use, these tips will help you plan to eat healthy food while sticking to a budget:

  1. Make most of your meals from food you already have. If you have oats, plan to eat oatmeal. If you have rice, make at least 1-2 meals with rice. Lean heavily on food you’ve already paid for so that you can use the rest of your budget to buy what you absolutely need and what’s on sale.
  2. Make what you already love. Find a few healthy meals your family loves and eat those often. For my family, we love plant-based burrito bowls and cheese pizza on sourdough crust. My family doesn’t love cooked vegetables, but they will eat salads all day. What healthier meals does your family love?
  3. Make plant-based meals. Less meat and more veggies is more savings. I love meat, but making several meals a week that are meatless or mostly meatless helps keep our costs down and helps us afford good quality meat.
If you want 4-weeks of premade menu plans (with grocery lists and printable recipes included!), check this out!

Cheap & Healthy One-Week Menu Plan

While no one can tell you exactly what will work for your family, here’s a one-week cheap and healthy meal plan to help you get started.

Scroll down to read meal ideas for each day. At the end of the week, I shared snack and dessert ideas.

Print off my Menu Plan Printable so you can use this meal plan and tweak it to your needs!

Make Ahead of Time:

You can make these recipes when necessary throughout the week or prepare them ahead of time. The bread and yogurt is obviously completely optional (not everyone wants to DIY everything!). However, I’ve found that making our own helps me save a lot of money – especially if I’m trying to eat mostly sourdough or whole grain, or local, clean dairy.

chicken, yellow rice, and veggies


bowl of fried rice and veggies


  • Breakfast: Baked oatmeal
  • Lunch: leftover salad with leftover chicken
  • Dinner: fried rice with leftover chicken (optional)
  • Prepare: thaw and cook ground beef, if using (see dinner tomorrow)
taco-style lentils and rice in a bowl with lots of toppings


  • Breakfast: yogurt, fruit (we use frozen blueberries), chia seeds
  • Lunch: snack plate
  • Dinner: lentil tacos (slow cooker or instant pot – serve however you like according to the Notes in the recipe) (optional: add a little ground beef after it’s finished cooking if you want more meat)
Easy, delicious, garlicky pizza crust that you can make with white flour or whole grain. Costs about 70 cents per pizza. So now we can eat more pizza!


burrito bowls


  • Breakfast: Frittata or eggs and toast
  • Lunch: leftovers, or pbj with fruits and veggies, or snack plate
  • Dinner: Nacho Dip with leftover lentil taco filling (optional: add a little ground beef if you want more meat)
  • Prepare: thaw and cook chicken, if using (see dinner tomorrow)
broccoli with noodles


  • Breakfast: Oatmeal or Smoothie
  • Lunch: leftovers, or pbj with fruits and veggies, or snack plate
  • Dinner: Broccoli Parmesan Pasta (chicken optional)
  • Prepare: thaw and cook ground beef, if using (see dinner tomorrow)
dinner leftovers


  • Breakfast: Pancakes, sausage (optional), fruit
  • Lunch: Nachos with pinto beans or black beans (optional: add a little ground beef if you want more meat)
  • Dinner: Leftovers or Make Your Own*

*Make Your Own (MYO): At least once a week, we have a night where everyone is in charge of their own meal. This works best when you have bigger kids or just adults in your house. But we keep this night very light and simple. Everyone makes whatever they want (sandwiches? Eggs and toast? Ice cream? You set the rules) and must clean up after themselves.



We usually make one dessert a week, but here are several options we love, depending on the time of year!

Healthy Meal Plan without Weird Ingredients

My favorite part about this meal plan is that it is healthy without relying on weird ingredients (psyllium husks anyone?). You can find these ingredients at Walmart or any local grocery store. The meals are simple, uncomplicated, and crowd-pleasing – no stuffed bell peppers or mini-quiches (which are fun and delicious, but I’ve seen them on so many cheap healthy meal plans, and I think they are just a little bit fussy). What would you add to this menu?