7-Day Meal Plan: Healthy Dinners For $3 or Less

Eating healthy on a budget just got easier—and more delicious—with this week's 7-day meal plan. The recipes in this plan use convenience items and pantry staples (black beans, canned salmon, sweet potatoes) as much as possible to help you create healthy delicious dinners for $3 or less per serving.

How to Make Saucy Cauliflower Veggie Meatballs

 

 

Day 1: Chicken Katsu with Creamy Slaw

Day 1: Chicken Katsu with Creamy Slaw: $2.27 per serving. This crispy Japanese chicken recipe comes complete with a creamy warm slaw on the side. We like to use chicken cutlets made with dark-meat chicken thighs—they have more than twice the immune-boosting zinc of white-meat chicken breasts (and they're cheaper, too!). Serve with bulgur to round out the meal and to save time tomorrow, make an extra 2 cups to use in the Saucy Vegetarian Meatballs recipe. You can also prep extra shredded cabbage-carrot slaw to use in the Black Bean & Salmon Tostadas.
 

Day 2: Saucy Vegetarian Meatballs

Day 2: Saucy Vegetarian Meatballs: $2.13 per serving. Cauliflower, mushrooms, bulgur and seasonings combine to form the base of this healthy vegetarian meatball recipe. A quick homemade tomato-basil sauce replaces the traditional marinara to keep the sodium in check. Serve over whole-wheat spaghetti and with a leafy-green salad and vinaigrette for a tasty, cheap vegetarian dinner.
 

Day 3: Black Bean & Salmon Tostadas

Day 3: Black Bean & Salmon Tostadas: $2.11 per serving. Pickled jalapeños, cilantro, avocado and a cabbage-carrot slaw perk up convenient canned salmon for a quick tostada topping. Skip store-bought and instead make your own crispy tostada shells in the oven. Serve with brown rice cooked with diced tomatoes and onions or prepared salsa. This creative dinner goes to show how eating on a budget doesn't need to mean boring meals.
 

Day 4: Lasagna-Stuffed Zucchini

Day 4: Lasagna-Stuffed Zucchini: $1.73 per serving. Swap vegetables for noodles in this healthy lasagna-inspired recipe. Stuffing zucchini boats with chicken sausage, tomato, ricotta and herbs gives you all the flavors of lasagna without all the work. At only $1.73 per serving, this easy recipe will surely make it into your regular dinner line-up.
 

Day 5: Sweet Potatoes with Warm Black Bean Salad

Day 5: Sweet Potatoes with Warm Black Bean Salad: $1.60 per serving. For a delicious and easy dinner, it's hard to beat a baked sweet potato. The fragrant filling of beans and tomatoes adds protein and extra fiber, making this a super satisfying meal. With most of the ingredients being typical pantry staples, this recipe is great for a cheap, last-minute dinner.
 

Day 6: Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Tenders with Cucumber-Ranch Dressing

Day 6: Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Tenders with Cucumber-Ranch Dressing: $2.35 per serving. Asparagus and bacon are wrapped around spiced chicken tenders in this healthy chicken dinner. This recipe looks impressive yet is so simple to make. It's perfect for a busy weeknight, taking only 30 minutes from start to finish. Serve with a green salad tossed with a vinaigrette or make extra cucumber-ranch dressing and use it for your salad too.
 

Day 7: Spicy Meatloaf with Collards

Day 7: Spicy Meatloaf with Collards: $1.85 per serving. Plenty of dark leafy greens deliver the moisture needed to balance lean ground pork and beef in this spicy meatloaf recipe. Since this recipe is meant to serve 8, you can eat half now and have the rest for lunch in the days to follow. Serve the meatloaf with steamed green beans and a baked potato for a full meal.