30 Cheap Recipes for a Healthy You in the New Year


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middle-aged couple making healthy dinner in kitchen smiling
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Going back to the basics and whole foods is the key to creating healthy and cheap dishes from breakfastto dinner. It's easy to make delicious and easy recipes ranging from entire meals to tasty snacks to soups that everyone can enjoy when starting from good quality produce. For extra savings, buy staples like potatoes and onions in bulk, and stock up the spices you use most often.

Mashed Potatoes
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Potatoes happen to be delicious even without loads of butter and milk. This recipe uses some of the cooking liquid and a small amount of olive oil for texture, and the addition of garlic keeps the flavor from being one-note.

Recipe: New York Times

Taco Salad
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Taco salad is the best of all possible worlds, combining the flavors and crunch of tacos with the health benefits of salad. When done right, as in this recipe that only uses a small amount of light sour cream, the focus is on nutritious ingredients. Don't forget the hot sauce.

Recipe: My Recipes

black bean cakes on wooden plate garnished with spinach
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With a base of healthy black beans, these pan-fried, crisp patties are almost like potato pancakes, but pack a bigger nutritional punch. Skip the sour cream for extra health points, and add another protein or veggie of choice to round out the dish for a composed meal.

Recipe: Food & Wine

vegetable stuffed mushrooms close-up on place garnished with parsley
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Stuffed mushrooms are generally delicious, but not always healthy. If stuffed with sausage, bread, and cheese, this dish is tasty but not so healthy. Opt for a vegetarian stuffing that gets a little support from breadcrumbs and a light dusting of cheese.

Recipe: Bowl Of Delicious

spinach cakes in metallic tart holds
Photo credit: Mila Bond/istockphoto


Green, leafy vegetables and protein, that's it. Made into muffin shapes, these cakes can be transformed into an easy breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Throw in some spices like nutmeg or chili powder to keep reinventing the recipe in your weekly repertoire.

Recipe: Eating Well

mediterranean veggie pasta with crumbled goat cheese, kalamata olives, penne, red onion, cherry tomatoes
Photo credit: Mirjana Ristic/istockphoto


Pasta is okay in moderation and can become a wonderful vehicle for vegetables. This Mediterranean recipe is loaded with flavor packed roasted veggies and a touch of goat cheese. The dish is bold while still being light and fresh.

Recipe: Ambitious Kitchen

vegetable and rice burrito with salad on the side on plate
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Burritos are always fun, so make them part of a healthy lifestyle by packing them with vegetables. It's possible to get all of your daily vegetable servings in just one burrito, which means you'll be filling up on the good stuff. Play around with proportions to have as much of the filling as possible be vegetables.

Recipe: Gimme Delicious

Potato and Kale Tacos
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There's no need to deprive yourself of tacos. Since tacos are really all about the tortilla, the filling can be almost anything. This vegan taco recipe still hits all the notes that make tacos satisfying while being low in calories and high in nutrition.

Recipe: Jessica Seinfeld

Baked Apple
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Breakfast, snack, and dessert can all be the same thing. Baked apples taste like apple pie, especially when topped with a dollop of yogurt. Play around with different spices and garnishes like vanilla, nutmeg, pecans, and golden raisins. For those who want to make this even healthier, skip the butter altogether.

Recipe: Simple Recipes

crispy kale chips in paper-lined bowl on wooden surface
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Turn everyone's favorite green leafy vegetable into snackable chips. All it takes is a little patience and you can replace potato chips with the light and crispy kale version in the oven.

Recipe: Culinary Hill

creamy broccoli soup
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The part of creamy soups that makes them high in saturated fat is the cream, which can easily be avoided in blended soups like this one. Cashews and potatoes get seasoned to mimic a cream sauce, which ends up being every bit as flavorful as natural cream.

Recipe:Yup It's Vegan

portobello burger close-up
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Burgers are about more than just the meat pattie, they are about the bun and condiments as well. If you are a mushroom lover, swapping out the occasional meat patty for a juicy mushroom can be a different kind of satisfying, without adding fat and calories to your meal.

Recipe: Allrecipes

Yogurt Parfaits
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Berries and yogurt taste suspiciously like ice cream. Using frozen berries will keep costs low while combining probiotic and antioxidant packed ingredients for a healthy snack, light meal, or dessert.

Recipe: Goop

Soft oatmeal cookies with dried fruit
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Cookies are too good to avoid entirely, so it helps to have a recipe for a healthy-ish cookie. This oatmeal and raisin recipe uses just half a cup of agave instead of any sugar. Agave is sweeter than sugar which means a little bit goes a long way.

Recipe: Amy's Healthy Baking

spaghetti squash with turkey meatballs and tomato sauce
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Spaghetti and meatballs? Yes, please. Once the spaghetti squash is paired with the flavor-packed meatballs, this healthier version of the Italian-American staple is every bit as satisfying. This recipe is especially good for those who are opting for a low-carb diet.

Recipe: Martha Stewart

stuffed acorn squash with rice on wooden cutting board
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Squash is a magical food. It is delicious as either a savory or sweet ingredient, it's one of the healthiest foods, and it's one of the least expensive pound for pound. This stuffed version makes a visually beautiful entree or side dish.

Recipe: The Cozy Apron

cashew stir fry with mixed peppers, chicken and rice on spotted plate
Photo credit: psisa/istockphoto


Adding fatty cashews into a stir fry ups the satisfaction factor without needing to add extra meat or saturated fat. Using a low-fat meat like chicken, or substituting tofu or mushrooms for a vegetarian option, makes this a protein-packed meal.

Recipe: Genius Kitchen

vegetarian pad thai on dark background, view from above, with chopsticks
Photo credit: OksanaKiian/istockphoto


Zoodles have gone mainstream, which means there are more recipes than ever to use up the inexpensive and tender noodles you can make with zucchini. Using a vegetable-based noodle (with the help of a spiralizer)turns this classic take-out dish from carb overload to loaded with fiber and vegetables.

Recipe: Well Plated

cajun shrimp in bowl with rice
Photo credit: ALLEKO/istockphoto


Shrimp is cheap and easy to find in the freezer section of the grocery story, making this an easy meal to whip up without much advance planning. Play with the level of spiciness and honey to create the right balance of sweet and spicy for a dish that hits all of the flavors on your palate.

Recipe: Will Cook For Smiles

Stuffed Cabbage
Photo credit: Lilyana Vynogradova/shutterstock


Cabbage is super healthy and cheap, but isn't always the most exciting vegetable to eat. Turning it into a package stuffed with hearty fillings turns it into old world comfort food. This one dish meal is also easy to clean up for breezy weeknight meals.

Recipe: The Spruce Eats

baked egg rolls with cilantro, red sauce and chopsticks in background
Photo credit: MmeEmil/istockphoto


Egg rolls can be the main star of dinner or lunch or a fun side dish. Baking rather than frying them cuts down on the fat content, and stuffing them with vegetables creates a secretly healthy dish. Add cooked mushrooms to the filling for an extra protein boost.

Recipe:Six Sister Stuff

Turkey Chili
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Chili is comfort food at it's best. This recipe is lightened up by using turkey rather than beef, and gets extra points for using the crock pot to do most of the work.

Recipe: Live Well Bake Often

Easy Lentil Stew
Photo credit: Wiktory/shutterstock


Lentils can be found for under $2 per pound at almost any grocery store. Add to the lentils a few basic vegetables and seasonings, and it turns into a hearty meal. Lentils, like beans, have a way of taking on a rich and satisfying flavor and texture, especially when cooked in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot.

Recipe: What The Heck Do I Eat Now

Stuffed Eggplant
Photo credit: hlphoto/shutterstock


While generous with the cheese, this mostly vegetable dish creates the same flavors of many Italian American favorites, like pizza and eggplant parm, in a lighter way. Cut the cheese in half and indulge in twice as much if you have a big appetite.

Recipe: Delish

close-up of mushroom omelet
Photo credit: Chiyacat/istockpoto


Served with greens or toast, this makes a filling and tasty brunch dish. Add a glass of wine and you have a sophisticated dinner for just a few dollars. Dress this recipe up or down with whatever fresh or dried herbs you have on hand, as there's no need to obsess over particular ingredients in this dish.

Recipe: Fine Cooking

Roasted cauliflower
Photo credit: KM6064/istockphoto


The key to getting the florets crispy is getting them roughly the same size and roasting them on high heat. That way they can all caramelize at the same rate producing bites of savory contrasting textures. Pair with your favorite sauce, like ranch or Buffalo, as a healthier alternative to fried meat and cheese.

Recipe: Martha Stewart

pumpkin gratin
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Why deny yourself the pleasure of gratin when you can turn it into a healthy-ish dish by using a variety of root vegetables instead of just potatoes? The combination of sweet potato, rutabaga, and squash is healthy, savory-sweet and cheap.

Recipe: Food & Wine

hasselback sweet potato with garlic and olives, salt, in wooden spoon
Photo credit: meteo021/istockphoto


Even those who are on the fence about sweet potatoes will love this version. The contrasting textures and savory seasonings makes this an exciting twist on the classic version. Serve with hot sauce to take it to the next level.

Recipe: Food Network

apple oatmeal muffins
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It's worth investing in healthy, baked goods recipes if you love treats like muffins and cakes. This recipe uses honey rather than sugar and bananas or applesauce rather than oil or butter for texture, which makes these completely guilt free muffins.

Recipe: Brendid

almond cake topped with almond slices, viewed from above
Photo credit: TheCrimsonMonkey/istockphoto


This cake is moist from the almond meal and much like a breakfast bar. Topped with some whipped yogurt, it's another sweet dish that can double as dessert and a morning meal.

Recipe: Eating Well

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